From Rocky Starts to Rock Legends

The Penarth-based Welsh power duo is quickly making their mark on the rock world. James and the Cold Gun, named after the Kate Bush hit, were formed in 2019 and have already taken over some of the biggest venues, playing alongside the rock greats. We spoke to band member, James Biss, who gave us a look into the band’s influences, their rocky start and their new album.

James Biss started the band with fellow guitarist James Jospeh in 2019. After both previously being in bands, they now wanted to discover their own sound. “We locked ourselves away, got out our guitars and just played. We wanted to remember what it was we loved about music. So much of rock music nowadays is so clean and produced- it’s lost that spirit from the 90s rock scene. We wanted to go back to that raw, unpolished music that made rock great and not so ‘mum-friendly'”.

Starting the band in 2019 was perhaps not the best of timings for them. Just as they were discovering their music, the COVID-19 lockdown put a spanner in the works. “We had a kind of false start. We had planned on doing a few shows in 2020 but that obviously didn’t end up happening.” But this didn’t stop them from making music, and even filming and editing their own music video. “We didn’t want to slow down. So we decided to make the music video down at Penarth beach at 2am so that no one else would be there. It was all very DIY- but perhaps that played into what we were trying to do.”

James and James, to no surprise, were quickly picked up by producer legend, Adrian Bushby, who has worked with bands such as Foo Fighters, Placebo and Muse, and things took off from there.

Since then they have been playing non-stop it seems. Having done around 100 live concerts in the past three years, the band is catching people’s attention. They started off playing in smaller venues such as local independent bar Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff, but most recently have played Hyde Park, alongside rock legends Guns N’ Roses, The Pretenders and The Darkness. When asked how it felt to play alongside them, James said: “Surreal. Absolutely surreal. I’ve looked up to these guys for so long and suddenly we’re playing at the same show. We were watching The Darkness on the main stage and it was like looking at mythical beings.”

James expressed how the most important thing in music is performing live. “You can’t truly understand a band until you’ve seen them live. The band becomes real. We don’t play with any backing tracks. What people see is what we are.” Playing live is so crucial to them as a band, and whether it’s small independent venues or sold-out London arenas, they plan to continue to tour as many places as possible.

They have a new self-titled album coming out on 21 July 2023. “We decided to record and edit it all ourselves to give us more control over how it sounded. We didn’t want it to be overly-produced and clean, our music is raw and rough and we wanted it to come across that way. Although we believe it was the right decision, we didn’t expect it to take as much work as it did.” Despite the time and effort it took to make, their album promises new, unheard music. We can’t wait to hear it!

And for their album launch concert, they’re taking it back to the beginning by playing Clwb Ifor Bach on the day it comes out. “I really like playing in smaller venues. It just has an energy like no other. Although everyone is so cramped with not much space to move, the audience seems to move together and that’s something you don’t get in large venues like Hyde Park. And we love playing in Wales. Most of the band are Welsh, we all have Welsh hearts. Some of my favourite concerts have bee in small, weird venues in Wales and I hope to do more of those in the future. Live will always be the best.”

Influences from Queen of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and Sound Garden really reflects in the band’s weird, heavy grungy sound. They are bringing energy back into rock, using 90s and early-2000s influences and adding in their own unique spark. This is a band to watch.