GETTING Gavin James’s phone number for an interview ahead of his upcoming show in Killarney proves a lot tricker than both I and the staff at the INEC had anticipated; even the mans location is hard to nail down at first, with his social media first showing that he is in Biarritz, or is it Paris? He seems improbably to be in both locations!
After eventually tracking him down though, we get to chatting and it turns out that he’s already back from France and sitting in his flat in London, wearing a big fluffy jacket, he delightedly reliably informs me.
While the thought of this amount of travel is baffling to this humble writer from Tralee, this whirlwind and jet-setting lifestyle is certainly nothing new to Gavin though after what he describes as the “absolutely mental” and “surreal” past three years of his life which has seen him support huge acts such as Kodaline, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and appear on both the Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden Shows.
This is certainly quite the journey for the 25 year old Dublin born singer but he quickly admits that while the last few years have been as unexcpected and amazing as they have been, he always looks forward to coming home and playing to Irish crowds, something which he says he can’t wait to do at the INEC on Saturday, February 18.
“Playing back home here in Ireland is always an amazing feeling, it’s like you’re just out there playing a few songs for your mates; the crowd are always so supportiveI first played the INEC acoustic room once a couple of years ago and I played the main room there with the Coronas about four years ago and again then with the Coronas again just before last Christmas, I think I jumped on stage to play one small song towards the end so this will be my fourth time playing there and I can’t wait” he says, the excitement clear in his voice.
“I absolutely love playing there, it’s always great fun for me! Going to Killarney and playing there is almost going on holiday, there’s always a relaxing atmosphere around the town; the crowd down there are always well into having a good time, it’s something that I’ve always noticed and loved about playing there.”
When asked about his fondest memories of the South Kerry town, the ‘Bitter Pill’ singer goes quiet for a second or two before letting out a loud sigh, saying that it’s hard to pick just one for him.
“My fondest memories? Oh man, that’s a tough one! If I had to pick, I would have to say that I remember that we crashed a wedding down there once, well we kind of crashed it, I mean, I think that we vaguely knew one guy that was maybe there and we just sort of went to this strangers wedding and at the end of the night there, we ended up on the ground with all these strangers doing that dance you do sitting down, you know? Rock the Boat, that’s the one and honestly, it was absolutely hilarious; that was great craic,” he continues.
When talking to someone of Gavin James stature, it’s hard to avoid the elephant in the room for too long and talk inevitably soon turns to the whirlwind success that he’s enjoyed over the past few years and most noticeably, THAT gig in his home city of Dublin, in a little known venue called Croke Park.
“Ah man, I can’t even describe how mental that was, I just couldn’t believe I was up there! All that I was thinking when I was playing to the crowd was ‘don’t mess up. don’t mess up. don’t mess up’,” he laughed.
“You can be on stage playing a song that you’ve played a hundred times before and suddenly your mind can drift to something completely random, like burritos or a movie you watched recently and then you remember where you are and it’s back to don’t mess up. don’t mess up. don’t mess up’,” he laughed again.
Honestly, It’s amazing the simplest things that you can forget when you are up on stage playing to thousands of people, it all becomes about ‘how do I play a g chord?’, the simplest things just become so huge,” he reflects.
“Thankfully though, the only thing I messed up in Croke Park was that I think I said the word ‘arse’ at a couple of points, I had a few people message me about that but that’s all the mistakes I made, so it was all good, thank god!,” he chuckled.
Reflecting more on these bizarre situations that he has found himself in over the past few years leads Gavin to reveal the even more bizarre way in which he was approached for these gigs.
“It’s a strange story how that whole situation came about because it all happened very quickly and nicely.”
“I had gone to see Ed [Sheeran] play a gig that he was doing for VH1 and he just shouted across the room, casual as anything, ‘Gav, you want to play Croke Park with me?’ and I was just standing there going ‘Eh, yeah! I’d love to…’
“That was literally the start of that whole situation, it’s so weird looking back on it but it was such a nice thing from Ed to ask me.”
“The likes of the James Corden show then when I did that, I was on tour with the Kodaline boys in the States and as I’d met James before, he’s a lovely, lovely lad. I thought I would just gave him a call and I asked him out for a pint. He couldn’t make it out unfortunately but he then he just asked me straight out if I wanted to play on his show the next night and of course, I said yes! I was supposed to be heading out with the lads but I just hopped straight into bed,” he laughed.
“It’s all kind of happened like that, these really weird little moments but I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it.”
On his upcoming show in Killarney, James says that people can expect a varied type of show on the night, but he says that one thing that he can guarantee is that people are going to have a great time.
“There’s going to be a few cnew songs that I’m going try out on the night so we’re going to have a little bit of fun with that; this is going to be the biggest show that I’ve done this year so far so I’m going to go all out on stage to enjoy myself.”
“It’s just going to be this weird show that will have a mixture of intimacy, madness and whole load of banter; it’ll be this emotional rollercoaster,” he laughs.
“People will be laughing and crying in equal measure,” he joked.
“Ah, it will just be mad craic on the night and people are going to be leaving and they’ll be buzzing. We’re going to have a great night,” he finished.