James Allison, better known as the mastermind behind Digisaurus is on his Spring tour, performing 39 shows in 58 days.
He started the tour in Columbus on March 17 (read our concert review here), and hopes to have his new EP ready for release soon after the conclusion of the tour.
We caught up with him recently to chat about what Digisaurus is, the history of the project and new music coming out this year.
How did Digisaurus come into being?
“The project started up late-2014, early-2015. We just played out locally. It was a different band back then. I started the project with a bunch of other people, kind of a bunch of people just rolling into the studio to record and write. I wanted it to be set up as this fluid thing, where I can drive it as far as I can. If I want to go on the road, I can do that. But, at the same time, I wanted to leave it open to a lot of different collaborations with people I like, musically. We want to make the songs the best they can be in the studio, and then make the performances the best they can be live.
“Last year, I knew I was moving from Columbus to Philadelphia and I knew I always wanted to tour more. So, that was the opportunity I used to leave my job. I did forty days in the spring by myself, and then I took out a couple of guys, Jeff Martin (drums) and Eric Groseclose (bass), playing sixty days over the summer. And then the fall for forty days, too. I’m going for the same thing again this year. Ultimately, Digisaurus is marketed under me, now. Whether solo or as a group, it’s still going to be the same songs.”
How did your collaboration with Fran Litterski (Kid Runner) for “I Don’t Feel Alright” come about?
“There’s a guy I record with in Columbus, Mike Landolt. I used to have a studio here where I recorded everything myself for the first EP. I got with him to mix that, and we’ve been working on stuff together ever since. We got I Don’t Feel Alright to the point where I was finishing up the vocals and we felt like we needed to change it up; get something different in there.
“I’ve always liked that male/female interplay on a song, and I knew I wanted a sweeter, delicate voice on it. I’ve known Fran (Litterski) for a while through the music scene. Mike was the one that suggested her, thinking she’s be perfect for the song. So, she came in for a few hours and killed it.”
Your songs all appear to be radio-friendly. Is that by design?
“I write in a pop song structured format, trying to keep everything short and sweet. That’s true for the new EP I’m putting out, too. I’m also writing an album right now that will come out somewhere down the line. By getting out of the single-structure to recording, I can play around with things more.”
How would you describe your sound?
“I like to describe it as ‘Future Pop Rock.’ Digisaurus, the name, indicates that there’s an evolution of the sounds of the past. I take a lot of influence from funk, R&B and hip-hop. Everyone gets it from everyone else. Nile Rodgers and Chic was definitely a big influence on me when we were doing the first EP. I picked up on them from the Daft Punk record, where they took in all these classic musicians who just played so well.
“That was a big influence on how I structured Digisaurus. You can be this guy and just pull in the best writers and best musicians to create a style. So, the name is about evolving those sounds of the past into a digital era with more technology and a modern way of doing things. When I say ‘Future Pop Rock,’ it’s sort of like we’re doing pop rock with a futuristic twinge to it.”
When did you make the decision to pursue music full-time?
“When I graduated (Ohio State University, 2009), I opened up a recording studio and did that for a few years. Then, I worked for an E-commerce company, because I knew it was going to take a while to get something going (musically). The goal was always to do music. So, I’ve seen what opportunities are there in front of me, and taken them when the time is right.”
When can we expect new music from Digisaurus?
“I’m working with Mike Landolt, again. He just moved to Seattle, but still has a little project studio here. So, we meet up for a week whenever we can to work on stuff. Right now, I’m finishing up an EP (due this summer). The plan is to get the EP out and then follow up with an album pretty quickly. I think the message you can put together with a longer-form release, the cohesiveness of songs together on an album still important.”
Digisaurus – I Don’t Feel Alright (featuring Fran Litterski)