Lawrence Arabia is the musical guise of New Zealand artist James Milne. In 2006, Lawrence Arabia released his self titled debut album and the debut album his band The Reduction Agents, The Dance Reduction Agents. Both albums were nominated for several bNet awards, New Zealand ‘s public voted alternative radio awards, and Chant Darling won the inaugural Taite Music Prize in 2010.
He has gone on to release of total of three solo albums the latest called “Sparrow”. He is also know for his involvement with the Brunettes and also had a stint as the bass player for American band Okkervil River. James Milne was gracious to offer us an interview.
I was once shot in the face with an air rifle in Texas.
I once broke my nose diving into a swimming pool.
I once cracked a rib wrestling at a stag party
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My own life in all its mundane splendour.
How and when did you get into making music?
When I was 11 I received excellent marks for a songwriting project in
music class. The elating sensation of creation lingered and by the time
I was 16 I was writing (hugely derivative) songs in earnest.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
An incredibly difficult question, but right now, if pushed, I’d say:
The Beatles –”The Beatles.” The Kinks – “The Kinks Are The Village Green
Preservation Society.” Serge Gainsbourg – “L’Histoire de Melody Nelson.”
Gonzales – “Solo Piano.” The Phoenix Foundation – “Horse Power.”
What do you associate with Berlin?
Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Kebabs. Tannen Zäpfle. Dogshit.
What’s your favourite place in your town?
Home Bay beach at high tide on a weekday in summer.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would collect and categorize rocks, and revel in the fieldwork.
What was the last record you bought?
Mac DeMarco – “Salad Days”.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
As spectator, Paul McCartney at Hyde Park in London. I cried so much.
Performer? Maybe Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
How important is technology to your creative process?
I don’t think it’s too important. I’ve certainly come to rely on it a
lot, but I’d say that if it didn’t exist, I’d still be able to make
relatively similar music.
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I don’t, but if I did, they’d be outwardly condescending and inwardly