Room Thriteen caught up with Mercury Nominated "Maps" - (a.k.a James Chapman) to get an insight into his music, from his perspective, to get his views on the musical world around him and to ask some random stuff, just for fun.

R13: Tell us how it all began, the birth of Maps?
James: I guess the birth of Maps was me trying to make music that was in my head, rather than deliberately trying to copy anyone else. I wanted to create something uplifting to try and escape from the way I was feeling at the time. It's taken a fair few years though!

R13: Where did the whole Maps sound originate from?
James: I see the core of Maps as electronic based- that's the music that I truly love and listen to most. But to be honest it's just a sound that's developed from using a certain type of equipment and experimenting for years making sounds in my bedroom. I kind of work in a 'trial and error' way, which can take a long time but I think it's worth it in the end.

R13: For those, who haven't heard you, how would you best describe your sound?
James: Electronic, psychedelic, euphoric.

R13: What was the inspiration behind your debut album, "We Can Create"? How long did it take to write it?
James: The songs on the record were written over the past few years and I guess they represent my experiences and things I've seen happen in other people's lives. It is a pretty personal album, but it's awesome that people have connected with the songs so much and interpreted them in their own way. I truly never dreamt it would happen.

R13: What was it like to find yourself among the shortlist for one of music's most prestigious music prizes around, the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize, with your debut "We Can Create"?
James: Totally amazing. I'm still pretty stunned to tell the truth. It's a great feeling!

R13: Say for example you weren't among the shortlist for the prize, of all the other nominees who would you think deserves to win the most, and why?
James: I've been listening to the Bat For Lashes album a lot. I think she's great. She's got a really unique sound. If I had to choose I guess it would be that album.

R13: Tell us the story behind, "You Don't Know Her Name". It's a really good song, how did it come about? How was it inspired?
James: Thanks a lot! 'You Don't Know Her Name' was actually originally two different ideas for songs that I spliced together. I had a great, poppy chorus but wanted to make the track quite psychedelic, and I had this strange idea for a verse floating around, which seemed to work when I added the two together. My original idea was to try to write something as uplifting and euphoric as possible. I worked really hard on the sounds I used to try and get this across.

R13: I had the privilege of reviewing your latest offering, "You Don't Know Her Name", for Room Thirteen. I interpreted it as Maps were "attempting to be the soundtrack to the present modern age we live in. Trying to create a distinctive, terrific sound". How much do you think that interpretation agrees with what Maps are all about? Are Maps attempting to write the soundtrack to modern day life? Are they attempting to bring a new music trend to the fore?
James: That's really interesting yeah. I do tend to experiment with the Maps sound a lot, and try to make the songs as interesting as possible. I'm definitely always looking for ways to move things forward, and I think the sounds I use represent that. But to be honest I wasn't looking to create a new music trend- it was just really natural that Maps developed in the way it did. I'm going to continue to experiment as much as possible though. I'm working on songs for the next record at the moment and I think it'll be quite different.

R13: Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey?
James: Gordon Ramsey.

R13: Chris Moyles or Terry Wogan?
James: Terry Wogan.

R13: Oasis or Blur?
James: Blur.

R13: Mc Donald's or Burger King?
James: McDonalds everytime!

R13: Lily Allen or Girls Aloud?
James: Lily Allen.

R13: Paul Weller or Morrisey?
James: Morrisey.

R13: Paul McCartney or John Lennon?
James: John Lennon.

R13: Gordon Brown Or David Cameron?
James: Neither.

R13: I understand you like the whole vintage concept of Vinyl and of course it's coming back into popularity. What's your opinion on the whole downloading thing?
James: I think it's great as well. I love my i-Pod! I can see why some people are against it though, but I think people are always going to be into buying records and CD's. It's a different thing to actually hold something in your hand and own it. I still buy lots of records and CD's as well as downloading.

R13: What was the last album you bought or alternatively downloaded?
James: Caribou's 'Andorra'.

R13: What's playing in the tour-bus? What have you been listening to?
James: Mim's 'This Is Why I'm Hot' has been getting played a lot on the tourbus. It's a good song to shout along to when drunk!

R13: Are there any bands out there that you're really into at the moment, anything exciting Maps?
James: I love the album by The Field and also Seventeen Evergreen's E.P. The Panda Bear album is great too. I listen to quite a bit of trance as well. It really relaxes me strangely enough.

R13: What was the best gig you've ever been to? Tell us a bit about it?
James: Low at The Union Chapel in Islington in 2000. It was so amazing it made me cry. It was the first time I'd seen them and it totally blew me away. That gig definitely influenced me and it was where I started to head with what I was doing. They just write brilliant songs and use beautiful harmonies.

R13: The Last Gig you went to? Your verdict?
James: I thought The Maccabees were good when I saw them recently. They have a really great energy on stage.

R13: Your Favourite Venue? And Why?
James: Brixton Academy. I've never been disappointed when I've been to a gig there. The atmosphere's always amazing. I try and catch The Chemical Brothers whenever they play there.

R13: What's the best advice you could give to an upcoming band/artist that hasn't made it quite yet?
James: Just keep going. Never give up. I never thought anyone would be interested in my songs and it took me a long time to have the confidence to play them to people. Try to be as original as you can as well, not copy what's going on at the present time.

R13: What does the future hold for you and Maps? What next?
James: We're going to playing lots and lots of gigs! We've got a European tour coming up, then we're off to the U.S. for a few weeks. When we get back we'll be playing a full U.K. tour. It's all really exciting. I'll be working on the new album as well.

R13: Thanks
James: Thank you!