When it comes to making music, there aren’t too many aspects of the process James Yamrus doesn’t get his hands on.
The 29-year-old Kingston resident is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, drummer and producer. In 2016, he produced or engineered for local acts Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen, Rosary Guild and Far Away Places at King Room Studios in Wilkes-Barre, and he’s set to release at least two of his own new singles on Jan. 13 with a full album to follow.
Yamrus said the new collection of songs comes from an intimate place, but he’s focused on making his experiences felt universally.
“As much as they are about personal situations, I’ve tried to stick to generalizing it, so these works can be taken into a bunch of different perspectives,” Yamrus said. “I want these songs to feel like they’re somebody’s.”
Yamrus began playing guitar at the age of 6.
“It was this really neat Fender Duo Sonic,” Yamrus said. “I still have it.”
By 12, Yamrus was fascinated by recording music, and he broadened his instrumentation to include drumming.
“My attention didn’t stick to one instrument, because I wanted to make records,” he said.
In his teens, Yamrus played in bands like My Friend Luther and Long Run. In the latter, he played guitar and learned from musicians who were older and more experienced than he was.
“We were not happy with what we were spending on recording in that band,” Yamrus said of Long Run. “I knew I had to get savvy on the recording end.”
By 17, Yamrus immersed himself into the more technical aspects of music production.
“I realized if music itself wasn’t something I followed through with, this would absolutely be what I would do for the rest of my life,” Yamrus said.
Yamrus secured an apprenticeship at Studio 609 in Philadelphia where he learned from renowned producers and got first hand experience.
He focused on production throughout his education and after he moved back to the Wyoming Valley, but in 2016, his own writing became a priority.
“The title of this batch of songs is ‘Awake,’ because I feel like I’ve been sleeping for a while,” Yamrus said. “I’ve been putting my stuff on the back burner, because I haven’t been able to give it its full attention.”
The songs, Yamrus said, were written throughout last summer and came to him all at once.
“These songs were like surfing,” he said. “I caught a great wave and rode it in.”
The multi-faceted music man said he had written a multitude of songs in recent years but felt strongly enough about this wave to release those that came with it.
“I look at songs like a moment,” Yamrus said. “If you don’t take advantage of the moment, you tend to lose interest in the songs.”
Yamrus said his sound has changed since he last recorded his own music.
“It sounds a little more honest,” he said. “It’s not like what I was doing before wasn’t honest, but I sound more myself in these songs.”
He describes the sound as alternative rock mixed with a hint of shoegaze.
“Just for the simple fact that the mixes are large sounding, and it’s very open,” Yamrus said. “There’s a lot of space in the vocals.”
After the January release of “Awake,” Yamrus plans to release more original music in 2017, a “bare bones” acoustic record with six new songs, which he’s scheduling for March.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt