LINDSAY, ON – May 29 2023 – Multi-Platinum, JUNO-Award winning bassist, Darryl James, from Canadian Indie-Rock band The Strumbellas, has just released his second solo EP, “Colours”, under the moniker Close Kicks, on Friday, May 5 2023.
As the bassist in two time JUNO-award winning band The Strumbellas, Darryl James is no stranger to the power of collaborating with multiple musicians. Spending over a decade with the chart-topping Canadian Indie-Rock outfit, James is an original band member who serves as both a musician and co-writer in the group. In 2021, James launched his solo musical endeavour under the name Close Kicks, created as a separate artistic entity where he could explore and develop his own original music as both writer and producer.
His brand new EP “Colours” marks the first time he was dedicated to exploring the craft of writing, producing, and mixing his music independently from the ground up. James adds the final touches to his music by inviting local artists to record the instrumentation, adding a unique take on an otherwise completely solo project. With wide-ranging musical depth that oscillates between Alternative-Folk and Indie-Rock, Close Kicks sound encompasses the vintage feel of analog recordings with a modern edge, behind lyrics that cleverly traverse socially focused themes of mental health, community activism, and vulnerability.
From multi-platinum and gold certified singles, global tours, and playing some of the most coveted festivals and TV shows in the world including Bonaroo, Governor’s Ball, Jimmy Kimmel, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Darryl James has achieved major career successes in what can be considered a short tenure in music.
As a former arboriculturist working in turf management, James began his musical career at the age of 30 having never previously played bass, proving that it is truly never too late to start. Following the successes of The Strumbellas, James pushed beyond his comfort zone and began to collaborate with world renowned artists including Kevin Griffin (Better Than Ezra) and Erika Nuri Tayler (Fantasia – When I See You) while educating himself in musical production, self-recording, and mixing. “I’ve learned that no matter the obstacle, if you’re willing to put in the work and you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
His debut EP as Close Kicks, “Dreamers”, celebrates James’ dedication to his continuous growth as an artist, love of collaboration, and his artistic endeavours beyond music, incorporating his love for photography and film. Reaching close to one million streams across platforms and prominently featured on broadcasts ranging from the MLB, to Toronto Blue Jays, and NHLAA, Close Kicks’ debut project was a resounding success, marking the first time James created and released music on his own.
With his sophomore EP as Close Kicks titled “Colours”, James dives deeper into his creativity than ever before, delivering a project that once again unites all areas of his artistry. Written, performed, recorded, and mixed by James, the artist collaborated with local musicians from his hometown on each of the five tracks, providing them with the framework of how he wanted each song to sound and inviting them to add their own flare to each part. From creating the EP and single covers from photos he took himself to filming video content on his own, “Colours” marks a new chapter for James, where he began to trust his solo artistic instincts more than ever before. Starting the project in 2022 while also embarking on a journey of sobriety, James paused the recording process to begin to care for his mother who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Calling her his biggest supporter who always encouraged him to pursue music, James continued to work on the project throughout her illness, and was able to share the songs she encouraged him to complete with her before her recent and untimely passing.
Close Kicks sophomore EP, “Colours”, features vibrant soundscapes, expressive lyrics, and the powerful result of following your heart. Opening with lead single “Never Going To Give This Up”, a retro Indie-Rock track about standing up for what one believes in, James calls upon his experience as an active member of his community in Lindsay, ON. Drawing inspiration for the song from wanting to make an impactful contribution to society for his children and for future generations, James calls “Never Going To Give This Up” his protest song, sharing “I want to stress that being active within our communities can leave a lasting, positive impact for generations to come”. With an engaging melody and unforgettable chorus, the Indie-Rock track features a prominent, striking electric guitar and driving drumbeat.
“Somewhere Lost” and “You’ll Find Me” both focus on mental struggles and the processing of complex emotions. Marking a notable departure from his musical comfort zone, “Somewhere Lost” is a slow-tempo, vulnerable, and melancholy piano ballad with comforting harmonies and James’ distinctly longing, echo-filled vocal performance. Released as the first single off of the project, the song has been prominently featured on numerous playlists across Amazon and Apple Music. “Colours” also features Folk-tinged “Long Way From Home”, a lonely yet hopeful mid-tempo track, featuring delightfully intricate instrumentation creatively juxtaposed against sorrow-filled lyrics, along with “Running Wild”, an Alternative-Rock track about the realization of a need to change.
Refreshingly honest and bursting with radiant sound, “Colours” definitively marks what creativity can look like when an artist chooses to trust their creative instincts. As a student of his craft, Darryl James ventures into multiple areas of new territory with Close Kicks second ever release, becoming the sole song creator, storyteller, and artistic director of a project all his own.
Showcasing an exciting realm of creative possibilities for the artist, the release of “Colours” also celebrates over seven months of sobriety for James, and is what he attributes to helping complete the project during one of the most challenging times of his life. Brimming with artistic dexterity, vivid musical textures, and unbound vulnerability, “Colours” delivers a thrilling world of creativity from a musician who is finally learning to embrace what can happen when he trusts himself. Most importantly, his mom will always be his biggest fan.
“Colours” is available everywhere now!
Darryl will be on tour with The Strumbellas this summer. You can find their Canadian tour dates here.
lead photo by Will Fournier