Premiere: James the Fifth – Pure Imagination

Are you in the Mozart costume again?

As the LA-based recording artist, composer, and producer James the Fifth prepares to self-release his debut studio album later this year, he shares new track ‘Pure Imagination,’ along with an extraordinary music video. (Spoiler alert: Mozart kills himself).

Enjoy the video, and a brief interview with James V, below.

I would say that this is a pretty jarring ending for a video about Mozart goofing around in the desert. What was behind the decision to close it this way?

For awhile I had the main concept of the video down but couldn’t figure out how to end it. One night I was laying in bed falling asleep and thinking about how to end the video — I thought about how it ended musically, and it finishes on this big fuzz guitar hit that comes out of nowhere, so I thought, what visual cue can come in out of nowhere just as abruptly? Half asleep, suddenly I got the vision of a distraught James as Mozart pulling out a revolver and shooting himself in the head. This made me laugh very hard, so hard BY MYSELF that I was rolling in my bed. It completely woke me up and it ruined a night of sleep. After that I felt like it was the right choice.

Do you resonate in any way with the video’s protagonist?

Yes. When I see that I go, “That’s me!”

Tell me a little bit about this debut album you have coming up. How did it take shape? Was there anything you really enjoyed about the creative process?

I’ve been working on it for about 3-4 years now, which makes it sound like it’s *really* good. Some of it IS really good, some it’s just pretty good. Other parts are just serviceable. It’s been done for maybe 3 months now. Much of my creative process is me recording something, listening to it alone in my car for a year and a half, recording drums on it, listening for another 18 months, rerecording drums, and then writing lyrics. I’m joking, but not by that much.

What are you most excited about with attending CalArts for that MFA this fall? Was that a difficult decision to make at all?

Not a difficult decision — I much prefer this to my previous jobs of writing corporate newsletters or spell-checking memos for my bad grammar bosses. I haven’t thought about it a ton since I was accepted; it’s either going to be very good or very bad for me.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

As a very rich, lonely man.