- at The Sea
About meFire Whale is the passion project of James K. Utterback, melding the genres of hard, psychedelic, prog, surf, desert and post rock to craft a unique, immersive experience. James hails from Eugene, OR, and is currently in Oakland CA working on the final stages of a debut album.
James has been composing music and making home recordings since the age of 14. The upcoming debut album features songs that were written and recorded over a period of 15 years while in middle school through college in James' home town of Eugene, OR, while teaching science abroad in India, in grad school in Boulder CO, and now as a postdoc in Berkeley, CA. Inspired by bands like Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Built to Spill and The Mars Volta, James' goal has always been to make an album that should be listened to from start to finish.
For a career James is scientist. Driven by understanding how the world works, and passionate about doing good in the world, James majored in physics and got a Ph.D. in chemistry to become a physical chemist, and is now doing research involving lasers and quantum mechanics to study the fundamentals of solar-energy conversion. Also curious about consciousness, spirituality and the human experience, the vision of the psychedelic music of Fire Whale is a long-standing passion project that James has chipped away at steadily over 15 years.
Currently James resides in Oakland CA, and the debut album is in the mixing & mastering phase. He works as a postdoc at UC Berkeley, explores the Bay Area and Sierra with his partner, and is using the pandemic to make space for pushing his music forward.
College / UniversityPh.D. in Chemistry, University of Colorado Boulder
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