January Thompson was born in Los Angeles, California but now based in the UK after working with a host of underground DJs and producers. Often compared to the likes of Kate Bush and Bjork, January has released a brand new single called ‘Too Soon’, which we love here at KBPS, and we caught up with her to chat about the record.
How would you describe your new song?
‘Too Soon’ is ambient electronica. It’s song driven so it has a pop element and the lyrics are more about a longing and playing on the feeling of whether something is too soon or too late.
As well as the writing do you work on the production of a record?
Absolutely. I do all of it. The music is very important to me because my mother was a classical musician so I go into a song thinking how it will sound musically and then write the song.
In terms of the sound there is that classical element but a more contemporary feel too. Was that something you set out to do?
Art is a funny thing, as it just sort of happens, and you pull it in if it’s in your heart. It seems accidental but the Copenhagen Cello Quartet was on it and it ended up having this classical influence to it, and that was not intended consciously, but it did end up that way.
You also have a great video out for the song which has an atmospheric, artistic feel to it. What was that like to be involved with?
Videos are, again, a different type of process. I’m not a huge fan of the camera but when you have photographers and directors [onboard] it’s their art form and so it takes on a life of its own, and I adore the photographer I worked with, she’s fantastic. Everything takes on a great vibe and I’m happy how it turned out.
‘Too Soon’ is taken from your album ‘Whelmed’. What’s that like as an LP?
Just even doing an LP these days is tricky. It takes a lot of time and energy as most people are doing EPs and singles. But it’s kept building. We started at three [tracks] then another song would come and then another song. Again, the Copenhagen Cello Quartet, the songwriters and the producers were all classically trained, and it was a snowball effect. There’s a lot of ambient, cinematic sound to it but I think the first two singles are strong, driven songs and great for radio!
Musically you’ve also collaborated with other DJs and musicians on electronica. Has that shaped your sound?
It has shaped how I learned to write songs as again I’m driven towards the sound of the music more than writing the songs, so it’s basically how I learned to write. When I was classically trained it was more backing vocals or ambient sounds. I find electronica music a much more vast genre that you can play with.
Alongside your single and album do you have any live plans coming up?
We don’t have anything set yet, but the festival season will have a few things in Copenhagen in the UK as well, but that remains to be booked!
Alongside your music you post a lot about environment issues on your social media. Is that important to you?
Animals have always been something I’ve been passionate about but now we’re in something of a crisis with the wildlife and the extinction crisis. I’m drawn to elephants particularly and the Wildlife Trust is very valuable and do incredible work. The orangutans in Borneo is another one, so if I can use my voice in any way that can help these incredible creatures I hope I can.
Finally do you have any big ambitions or dreams for 2017?
I would love this album to get the recognition it deserves as there was so many incredible people on it. I’d love for it to get a stage, and I think it will be an incredible live act, but keep doing what I’m doing and be part of making beautiful music.