- You could say I raised myself on cassettes. I used to sit on the living room floor with my finger pressed up against the record button, waiting for the radio to play Ginuwine’s ”Pony” so I could make that playlist I had in my head.
Saint James, born Peter Yushichi St James, is a world citizen with connections to a number of the world’s continents. He was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada with a Canadian father and a Japanese mother who met on a flight to Peru in the 1980’s. Sparks literally flew between them and after two wedding ceremonies – one in Canada and one in Japan – the pair eventually settled in Vancouver. Which is where Saint James started writing songs in his teens.
- The combination of high school heartbreak and my newfound appreciation for Tony Hawk 2 and GTA: Vice City led to the creation of some pretty weird songs. Emo lyrics, parts of punk rock and pop, and ’80s synths heavily caked over everything. I saved up for a cheap microphone at the drugstore and produced with whatever I could get my hands on, which at the time was Fruity Loops and Garage Band.
Saint James went on to study at the University of Alberta while continuing with his songwriting, which later led him to art school.
- I was so disinterested in university. After dropping out of all my classes but one – visual communication – I transferred to art school where I found myself surrounded by creativity and fresh inspiration. At some point I noticed that I’d begun deconstructing sounds as I’d been taught to with design – listening for things like texture, light and shadow.
He continued his studies at Hyper Island – a college specialized in digital and interactive media – in the small town of Karlskrona, located in southern Sweden.
- The transition to a small coastal town in Sweden wasn’t tough – I didn’t know a single person or a word of the language, but sometimes that’s the kind of change of scenery I look for. The changes aren’t usually this drastic, but I enjoy it more and more, finding myself in new situations. I don’t want to stand still in anything I do.
A job offer at a digital agency brought him to Sweden’s capital Stockholm, where he has settled since a couple of years ago.
Saint James’s years in Sweden has influenced his songwriting – from a dreamy indie and electronica sound, it has developed to catchy pop tunes where his distinct voice takes us to a parallel universe. With references to video games, the 32 bit palm trees of Daytona, the feeling that the night’s still young before the sun rises in Hold On Tight, and reaching into the dark for someone who’s not there in the affectionate debut single Sweaters.
- It’s like some magic curtain was lifted and the people behind a lot of the stuff I was listening to when I started writing turned out to be from the same country, one that I feel so lucky to have ended up in. Caesars aka Caesars Palace and The Hives were big on my playlists, to name a few. When I started experimenting with production, artists like Miike Snow influenced the way I shaped my soundscapes. And it’s hard to escape Max Martin and the Cheiron era – those guys were everywhere – as well as Shellback, who I think has some of today’s most infectious pop melodies and arrangements.