10 Questions With… Bright & Findlay

10 Questions With… A series that delves into fresh new releases from some of our favourite artists. With a focus on our Melodic Distraction hosts and wider community, this lil natter gives us an insight into their musical escapades when they’re in their studio, not ours. 

This time, we sit down with Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay and James Alexander Bright aka Bright & Findlay! Having enjoyed working together on some material for Groove Armada’s recent ‘Edge Of The Horizon’ album, the pair return with a project of their own in the form of ‘Slow Dance’ EP. A funky party track with feet firmly in 80s boogie territory, Slow Dance is the duo’s first release on Athens Of The North (and hopefully more to come!). We find out more about how the pair came to collaborate, what it’s like to write a record remotely and much more – have a read below…

Hey Bright & Findlay – we love your latest EP ‘Slow Dance’. Can you tell us a bit more about the process of making it?

James: Tom has a wealth of dope vintage synths and gear in his studio in London. I’m based in the countryside of the South of England and have a small studio set up at home also. So we had one session together in person, but the rest was done remotely/via file sharing! The magic of the internet… 

Tom: James said it all… It works well me doing my thang and him doing his in places we’re comfortable. I can see us coming together at some point to mix some tracks down, but right now the whole online send-it-back-and-forth thing is working well for us. James is such a lovely and enthusiastic fella too, so I’m always looking forward to the feedback.

How did you come to collaborate with each other?

James: Tom had heard a track of mine on BBC 6 Music and reached out to see if I was up for working on some music with Groove Armada in mind – I jumped at the chance. We got stuck into a bunch of tracks together for the recent Groove Armada album ‘ Edge Of The Horizon’ and really enjoyed working with each other. So, we kept on going. We had got a bunch of tracks that felt different/the vibe was on point, so we thought why not start a band of our own? Tom reached out to Athens Of The North and here we are!

Who were you listening to a lot whilst making the record?

Tom: Oh god, the usual – a bit of Dam Funk, some S.O.S band, psychedelic yacht rock. Love labels like PPU, Strut and AOTN obviously!

Do you envisage performing these tracks live? Dream venue to perform in? 

James: I’d love to play them live at some point – probably a good idea to write a few more tracks first though, as we’d only have a 15 minute set at the moment.

Tom: Why not? I’m not sure I’ll be on stage mind you, but I’d love to watch it from the back.

Does your work as a pair influence your other projects (Groove Armada, James Alexander Bright) and vice versa?

James: Having worked with Tom on music for GA and B&F over the last 18 months or so, I’ve definitely taken a different outlook on working and editing tracks. He’s never scared to completely revisit a groove/key/tempo of a track once it’s written, which I find really refreshing. Plus, his ear for pulling stuff out of a mix is next level. 

Tom: I’m not sure, as I haven’t done anything Groove Armada-wise really for a while. But I love working with James, his enthusiasm and points of musical reference are great. He’s got a wonderful ear, and I love the way he writes and sings so we’re both having fun. I enjoy how much James wants to keep the grooves loose too, so I’m trying to lay off the quantize as much as I can…

What have been your career highlights so far? 

James: Highlights for me are having released on labels such as !K7 Records (whom I’ve been a fan of for years) and having the chance to join the AOTN family. Plus, playing live with heroes like Bibio (at my Art School) and ​​Tommy Guerrero (at The Jazz Café, which was such a good vibe – room full of love).

Tom: Ah man, too many to mention. I really enjoyed making the last GA record, and honestly this EP has come along at a great time. But playing Glasto, Coachella… Great venues and festivals all over the world will be the things I’ll truly remember.

With many opportunities taken away due to the pandemic, did you manage to stay creative throughout that time and if so, how?

James: I tend to keep motoring along. Most days I’ll fit in some music making (playing an instrument, recording a snippet, thinking about a song or arrangement) – I find it helps clear my mind. I feel much better and settled having made or played some music each day, which was a blessing during lockdown for obvious reasons. So personally, I felt I managed to stay creative during what was a tough period for us all.

Tom: I’ve been training to become a Psychotherapist for the last 5 years, so I finally got a job for the NHS doing that. Not sure how creative that was but it kept me interested.

What was the last record you bought?

James: I last bought Brian Greens – ‘Impressions For Headphones’. Perfect woozy instrumental music to lose yourself in. Plus, Dam Funks new album ‘Above The Fray’ is also soulful, always slaps!

Tom: Barry White Sings Love Songs For You.

Are there any up and coming artists you’re keeping your eye on at the moment?

James: I’m a fan of Holy Hive on Big Crown Records, and also Aaron Frazer on that soul tip. Plus Vanishing Twin – their new album ‘Ookii Gekkou’ is dope (very Stereolab-esque). I also really love what Men I Trust do – such a solid sound. I could go on and on, but I won’t… 

Tom: Whatever James tells me to… 

What’s next for you?  

James: We have just started wading through ideas/starting points/jams for a Bright & Findlay debut album! Very exciting. Plus, hopefully some DJ etc. shows next summer.

‘Slow Dance’ is out now on Athens Of The North – check it out below!