James Silk started out with a slower, more disco-influenced sound a few years back but, like most musicians, he is influenced by many different styles and, more recently, has been moving in a darker direction. With a new release soon to appear on Switzerland-based label Hive Audio we caught up with him to talk about his recent goings-on…
How is life for you right now? Where abouts are you in the world?
Life is really good thanks. I’ve got lots of music finished this week, so I’m feeling great! I’m in sunny Liverpool!
What was the last record you bought? Why?
I actually just ordered a vinyl copy of Omar – Feeling You (Henrik Schwarz remix). I realised I didn’t have a copy of it. It’s still incredible.
How would you sum up your relationship with music?
It’s a love/hate relationship for sure.
Did you teach yourself how to produce music? Did you have any formal training before then?
Yes I taught myself via hundreds of YouTube tutorials. I’m not musically trained at all. I just guess all those years of listening to records gave me the ear to how things should sound!
[youtube id=”on-cBu_WU4A” width=”620″ height=”360″]
What do you look for in a track before you part with your money with it?
Originality. Lots of records come out and hit the top of the charts, but a lot do sound the same. I try to play mostly unknown records in my sets.
And how long have you been DJing? Did the production or the DJing come first?
DJing for about 16 years now, producing for 6.
How would you sum up your sound to those that don’t know?
It’s ever changing to be honest. I used to be more of a slower disco vibe, but now I am finding I’m enjoying the darker sounds more.
So did you have a mentor of sorts over the years that guided you in the right direction?
A guy named Wez Saunders who is now A&R at Defected Records really helped me in the beginning. He is now label manager of my record label!
What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt when it comes to production? Are you still learning?
Trust your own ears. Don’t be influenced by outside factors or what is cool. I learn new things every day!
[youtube id=”T070oZD-3h4″ width=”620″ height=”360″]
Are you a hardware or software guy? And which do you prefer?
I use both. Mainly software, but I do like to get out a hardware synth now and again if the VST’s aren’t cutting it.
So tell us about Hive Audio. How did you hook up with those guys?
I’ve been a fan of the label for a while. I released my Language EP with them last year, which did very well. So I jumped at the chance to release on Hive again.
And is there a story behind the latest EP at all? What’s your favorite memory of making it?
Not particularly, it’s just the vibe I was feeling on the day. My favourite moment was when I replayed the synth line I had created for La Noche as it’s just how I wanted it to sound!
What plans do you have for summer? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
Few gigs here and there, which is always good. My new label Heyo launches in April and will feature a 2 track EP from myself each month. Other releases on Klangultur Schallplatten, Altus Project and my first official UK single will be released!
James Silk’s ‘La Noche’ is out now on Hive Audio – pick it up here.