Jim Button: ‘I felt a little more masculine (character wise) than your typical girl.’

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Jim Button shares details behind her latest release, “Just a little less.”

 

Y

ears ago, during a hiking trip in Norway, Jim Button decided to start a career in songwriting. At the time, she was a photographer, but she had other hopes. As she cured herself of anxiety, she began to write music for others to perform. Eventually, she wrote for herself. During Jim Button’s interview with Oliver Manifest, she discusses a breakup that inspired her latest release, the recording process, and how she got her name.


Tell me a little more about where you were when writing this song. What was going on in your life at the time? Was this song written in response to an event that had happened recently, or were you reminiscing on an old memory?

At the time, the feelings I sang about were extremely recent. I had just come back from a trip to Barcelona with a person that was very special to me. The trip was beautiful, full of happiness and intimacy, but I could sometimes feel that this person would have liked to get more from me than I could give at the time. If you’re curious, you can see this very person in my “Sunday Morning” video, a song that was written only two days after “Just a little less” about the same situation. For the video, we went back to Barcelona where it all happened in the first place. I like to think the authenticity of what we filmed is why people often react to the video so strongly.

Who else was involved in the making of this song? Who played the instruments, and who recorded, mixed, and mastered the track?

I flew directly to Frankfurt from Barcelona. I entered a seven-day studio session with Johannes Bürmann, whom I had only known from online chats prior. The session was one of the most fruitful of my life. Two of the seven songs we wrote, in that week, ended up on my album. The first day I told him I was looking to create a sound that makes the listener feel so close to me as if they were under the sheets with me, and I made him listen to some The xx, Zero 7, and Air. Then, he played me some Soko.

Next, he created sounds on his keyboard and computer. I sang to them. We got into a flow. I didn’t even have to think about what I was writing because I was so full of feelings from the days in Barcelona. It all just poured out of me, in no time.

Johannes went on to become one of my favourite co-writers and producers ever. He also did the production, mixing and mastering of this track. He did the programming. Other songs on my album have drums and other live instruments. This one is purely electronic. Later on, we re-recorded the vocals because some notes were a little flat. You could hear my cold, but I didn’t like the cleaned-up version. I begged my label to let me go back to the demo vocals which we have on the recording now. Flaws and all.

Jim Button

Photo: Dennis Dirksen

And lastly, how did you decide on the name Jim Button? Does it have a special meaning?

I picked the name, Jim, because I felt a little more masculine (character wise) than your typical girl. I know I look feminine, so having a boy’s name just makes me more comfortable and more like “me.” Jim is just the coolest name in the world. That’s why I picked it. Also, I went to school in Texas for one year. My best friend’s name was Jim. We’ve lost touch. I can’t find him, but he was quite inspiring to me. So I like to remember him and carry his name with pride.


Interview by Oliver Manifest


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