James O-L is a Canadian singer-songwriter hailing from Windsor, Ontario who does both work with his group James O-L and the Villains as well as solo. His sound varies from punk rock to folk music – which he grew up listening to – and now to electronica on his most recent solo album, Cancer in Treble City.
In his work with James O and the Villains, James finds ways to reinvigorate the rock genre with punk guitar tones and savoury riffs from the Villains along with descriptive, meaningful lyrics. This blend adds a freshness to the music, allowing the listener to find the familiar favourite tracks as well as fantastic moments of subtlety that continue to reward the listener with each re-listen. His discography however, does not end with the Villains as he has experimented and grown musically with his own solo career over the years. This exploration of different sounds has allowed him to carve out his own place in the Canadian music scene and has also demonstrated his capabilities as a distinguishable artist.
James O-L’s most recent solo project – Cancer in Treble City – was released in November 2016 and features a drastic change in his sound. Describing it as a mixture of “punk rock and the production style of electronic and hip-hop,” the EP has a sound that he refers to as “trance punk” (which is also the name of the second track on the EP). When deciding whether to record under his band James O-L and the Villains or under his own name, James’ takes the simple approach of using his band for more live-oriented music while anything else more suited to the studio than the stage is done as a solo effort.
James O-L and the Villains’ most recent project – Wild Goose Jack – is a return to his punk roots. Always wanting to try new ideas however, James’ plans to release a new track off the album every six months or so in order to keep up continued exposure. Ultimately, James is an artist continuously looking for new ways to showcase his music and who doesn’t want his work to be characterized by repetitious ideas.
Have a listen to our full-length interview with James O-L on SoundCloud below.