James What - Upcoming collaboration with Damian Lazarus
- Published on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 02:43
Happy New Year, we’re sure it’s going to be a successful one for you.
How did you spend your New Year? Any glamorous gigs, or was it a chilled one in front of the tv with a pipe?
James: I’ve been giging and travelling in Asia/Australia for the first time since November, flying back to london this week. The gigs were all fun and met some amazing people along the way.
It’s still early in the year, but have you got any gigs lined up that your especially looking forward to?
James: This year i’m really looking forward to playing at Get Lost in Miami in March, and playing on the Robot Heart bus at Burning Man In September.
You’re the new resident for Weekend Circuit, whose next event is at Basing House. Clearly London’s scene has been thriving for a while, do you think it has the best atmosphere gig wise?
James: I love London and there are some amazing parties. These days I don’t think anything beats burning man festival as far as atmosphere and music. It’s the best place to get together with friends from all over the world and share the music we love.
Given the choice, do you prefer DJing or playing live?
James: I enjoy both, but if playing on my own I prefer to DJ. I have almost always played live together with Dan Berkson and its not as fun playing live on my own.
MEOKO have been big fans of your productions for a long time, from the work you did with the Italoboyz and all the early Poker Flat material, to the latest releases on Crosstown Rebels. There’s been a real consistency in the quality of the music. How do you feel your sound has developed over the years?
James: Well generally the tempo has slowed down and the sounds are a bit more organic. Also my attitude towards sampling has changed, i never used to sample from other artists. The approach has always been the same thhough, I spend alot of time on each track always try to find something special for each tune.
Your productions have certainly inspired many other producers, are there any producers that have really inspired you over the years?
James: There are so many artist and producers in and outside of dance music that have influenced me I wouldn’t know where to start. Production wise, Some of my refences over the years are people like Carl Craig, Ame, Steve bug, Metro Area and Tiefschwarz.
You’ve been producing music for a long time now, what’s your studio setup looking like?
James: I’ve collected a little bit of equipment since i started out, but for the past year everything has been in a storage unit and I’ve been working on the road and using whatever bits and pieces i can find where i’m staying. On my trip to Asia i’ve been travelling with a laptop, a midi controller keyboard, a hard drive and a pair of Genelec speakers in my suitcase.
There’s always lots of talk about which programs are best to use, and debates about software vs hardware. Do you have any advice for producers trying to emulate your success
James: I use Cubase or Ableton Live depending on what I’m doing, both are great, but I find Ableton better to arrange dance music and of course to play live. One bit of advice is focus one making each track special, and don’t start another label just because no one wants to release your tracks, perhaps they need more work. Software and hardware are both great, but you can make amazing music with just samples and soft synths. Sometimes buying equipment can become an obsession and can take up alot of time, i’ve made more music since I stopped buying things.
Have you got any upcoming releases for us to look forward to?
James: Yes. My next release is a project with Damian Lazarus called ZOD. The track “Rise Before Zod” is coming out soon on Rebellion, the sub label of Crosstown Rebels. Then there will be some music I did with Luca C and also some more solo stuff.
Besides all the house and techno, have you ever tried your hand at producing any other genres?
James: Yes, I write music for TV and adverts and also produced two full lenght library music CDs. The last one I did was South East Asia inspired, I had lots of fun working on that. Last year I started a company called Peex with Dan Berkson and another really talented composer Pedro Botsaris to focus on that kind of work. www.peex.net
Finally, imagine this scenario James…
It’s a cold dark night in Shoreditch and you’re on your way to a friends warehouse party to get your rave on. Suddenly, out of nowhere and much to your surprise, Michael Jackson opens a door and invites you inside for a pot noodle.
What flavour do you choose?
After the delicious food he tells you about his secret time machine in the basement. Since you’re now good friends, he asks you if you’d like to use it. Which moment in history do you decide to go back to?
James: Dallas, Texas 1984!