Londoner James Mathé is Barbarossa, a singer songwriter who takes his musical prompts from D'Angelo, the Dirty Projectors and everything else in between. His mix of soulful vocals and electronics has seen him labelled as one of the UK’s most intrepid troubadours with new album Bloodlines due out on Memphis Industries this August. This latest record is inspired by the twisted love story at the heart of Vincent Gallo's indie film, Buffalo 66...

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 29 Jul 2013
  • min read
Barbarossa is the alter ego of London singer songwriter James Mathé, a young musician who uses casiotone keyboards, drum machines and analogue synths as the foundations of his skewed pop songs.

His intimate marriage of pop and folk was honed on acoustic instruments and stints in backing bands for the likes of Johnny Flynn and Jose Gonzales. His first mini-album Sea Like Blood was picked up by Fence Records back in 2006 while his full debut record Chemical Campfires followed a year or two later.

After their warm reception, his inner sense of songwriting adventure led him to continue toying with the folk music template but with the addition of his bedroom electronics.

It was a move which has paid off - Barbarossa’s musical talents have since been acquired by Memphis Industries and led to him joining a family of fiercely talented and independent thinking musicians where his songs seem right at home.

He can now call the likes of fellow mavericks Field Music, POLIÇA, and The Go! Team his musical brothers and sisters.

Barbarossa's new album Bloodlines, out on Memphis on 5 August, is the first serving from this re-inventor. While it blends his soulful vocals and domestic electronica, the record is directly inspired by Vincent Gallo’s cult '90s film Buffalo 66, a twisted romance about a tap dancer who falls for her convict kidnapper.

James has already taken his songs into the live arena and charmed audiences at some of the major festivals including Glastonbury. He's got a whole lot more live outings over the coming months around the release of his latest record.

Here’s the full list of forthcoming live dates:

6 Aug  London, The Waiting Room
8 Sep Newport, Bestival
9 Sep Manchester, Castle
11 Sep Brighton, The Green Store Door
13 Sep London, Sebright Arms

Give the forthcoming single, Pagliaccio, a listen below...