Interview: James Kelley ॐ Kontrol Records ITA, Mischkonsum Records GER, Waxtooth Records, NODAT Agency ॐ TexasPosted: September 18, 2012
One of my most favorite things about being a part of scene is watching people get involved with what they love and growing creatively then one day they but something out that makes me go: well it’s about muthafawing time. I still remember the James Kelley that I used to share dance floor space with as being one of the most visually colorful people EVER but right now his sound is dark and minimal and it’s a change that works out perfectly. Some underground party goers will remember that James Kelley has played pretty much every gene while his residency at a warehouse in the late night dancing district of Dallas, TX. Now he’s got his new album The Seven Year Detour out in August I’m glad he was able to take some time to talk about it.
What is your musical background before you started working on this album?
I began my exploration of electronic sound in the late 90’s, and spent the next 7 years or so hypnotized by my love for vinyl. During this time of experimenting with almost every source of music available to me, I always leaned toward the darker side of sound, finally finding my home with dark minimal techno. In early to mid 2010, I decided that producing my own music was the only way to go deeper into my own thoughts and express myself as an artist. After finally making material available to the public, I was immediately signed with Kontrol Records Rome, and was fortunate enough for my debut release “The Spell EP” to recieve enough support to land the #17 position on “Beatport’s Top Minimal 100” and then this follow up album “The Seven Year Detour EP” released on Mischkonsum Records of Stuttgart, Germany and peaked at the #7 spot.
It is awesome to hear someone that I used to share dance floor space have a dark album, The Seven Year Detour is minimal techno, what inspired this album during a time that it seems everyone AND THEIR mama is producing other now EDM gone commerical?
I’ve never personally been interested in what “everyone and their mama” was doing, if anything it’s a turn off to me. I generally prefer to do my own thing. Nothing against that, but dark minimal techno just seemed to better fit my thoughts as an artist. I’ll attempt a somewhat brief explaination of the inspiration behind the album, although my words may not paint the full picture that I intended. “Chosen Ones” was written to symbolize the lucky ones that “get it”. The ones that truly understand why we do what we do, why we push the sound, the vibe, the culture, and that are fortunate enough to experience it on a regular basis. “Buried Alive” is about those that allow societal pressures to provoke false needs and wants while putting too much interest in objects, material satisfaction and monetary gain. “Getaway Car” is the vehicle that allows you to escape the clutches of society and just be yourself again. Seven years ago, I let a lot of things get the best of me…and I’m just now getting back to feeling like myself again. It’s been quite a journey, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.
Right now you are all over the United States, if you were to come back to Dallas where are some spots you’d love to play some of your dirty techno tracks?
That’s an easy question. I really don’t have a preference on the “spot”, but I defintely wouldn’t turn down a gig hosted by SoundsLike, Proton, or Rich Productions. Their events almost always guarantee elements that I enjoy. Professionally hosted, with an educated open minded attendance of people that like to get down. What more could you ask for? Maybe a dark dank warehouse 😉
Since your on the road currently, what artists are you rocking out to?
Honestly, I listen to a really ridiculous amount of music on a daily basis. Too many artists to name really. I usually do a lot of previewing tunes for gigs, but when I’m not doing that, I regularly tune in to Dark Material and Blank Code podcasts these days. Although, I’m currently listening to a couple of guys from Argentina named Toollbox that do a really good live pa in my opinion. There are so many amazing artists right now that it’s never hard to find something worth tuning into.
What is next for your production? Are there are producers you look forward to working with?
Well, my third album of this year “Time Machine” will be released on Moleskine Music of Medellin, Columbia sometime in October with a couple of MASSIVE remixes from London based producer Aedicule, and stateside heavyweight Soundmanipulator. You’re going to hear a bit of a different approach in the productions that are currently in the works, but they’ll still have the same vibe, and definitely contain heavy doses of darkness…
As of now I’m still enjoying the journey exploring the depths of myself as a producer and sharpening my own skills in the studio but, I am definitely looking forward to working with some other producers in the future. I do have plans for collabs with a couple of local artists and some of my personal favorite producers as well.
What upcoming events do you have coming up?
I’m on the bill for a couple of parties in Dallas happening the very near future. I’m warming up the main room at the Lizard Lounge with the dark bizz on Thursday September 20th for Prototype/Full Access’s party featuring Above and Beyond. I’ll be getting down at the much anticipated Rich Productions annual Halloween party this year which ALWAYS produces a HEAVY line up. I’m committed to do guest mixes for three podcasts that will be airing very soon as well.
Big thanks to all my friends that have supported me for the last decade! Much respect to all of the promoters that keep the underground alive by continuously pushing the sound. All of the labels that have believed in my music: Mischkonsum records (Stuttgart, Germany), Kontrol Records (Rome, Italy), Fanciful Label (Berlin), Waxtooth (USA), & Moleskine Music (Medellin, Columbia)… and to all the peeps that keep the dance floor heated!
I first started hearing you play UK Garage at Groovology every Sunday at Homebar (before it became the Green Elephant) what lead you to start producing dubstep before there was even a following for it in Dallas?
I had already been producing drum & bass as well as UKGarage/2step and releasing several tracks of both on vinyl. Mark J, Chrisko, and I were spinning the earliest dubstep tracks from Tempa, team Ammunition, and London within our UKGarage night, Groovology, pushing the beats forward. And that inspired me to produce my own Dubstep.
Describe the evolution of Dub Assembly over the past 6 years?
Dub Assembly was born in 2006 from our Groovology UKGarage/2step event (the longest running in North America of its kind that was a weekly event from 2000-2005 and lives on now as an annual event) and allowed us the opportunity to keep pushing the bass forward with a full-on dubstep event instead of just mixing in the dubstep with the UKGarage/2step as we had done the previous 5 years. [click here for Memorial Day 2001 mix – thanks Por Vida for hosting this mix. – Ally] The Dub Assembly event occurs monthly and it quickly grew to incorporate the Dub Assembly record label. The record label has almost 30 releases now, many on digital and 7 or so on vinyl. As an artist I’ve been grateful to headline many events throughout the US and many events in Europe too. With the DA event we’ve continued to play big venues in the city including the Granada Theater, Trees, and our spirtual home since 2000 The Green Elephant (aka the Home Bar for those that know), performing many times as headliners and also incorporating guest headliners since we are fans of the music too. Dub Assembly is celebrating its 6 year Anniversary this Saturday at the Green Elephant with guest Cyberoptics (Play Me, Los Angeles). We’ve been growing strong for 6 years and will continue to grow for many years to come. I’m All In.
What new Dub Assembly releases are in store?
Haha! I can’t give away all the surprises yet but many good beats are
in the works !
What do you look for in dj when adding them to the Dub Assembly roster?
In adding, and keeping, to the roster I look for enthusiasm for the Dub Assembly event and label, honest effort toward promotion of the events, honest and serious contribution to the label, and good souls. I’m All In. Are you? If you are there is a place for you…whether you are in audio production, graphic arts, or promotion. Contact me
and be among like-minded souls.
Finish this sentence: Dallas, TX Dubstep is _________.
Jason Mundo will be celebrating this Saturday at the Green Elephant in Dallas, TX.(click link for Facebook event details) $10.00 over 21 $15.00 under / tickets at the door for 18yrs+ w/valid id and so should you!
Shout outs & thanks to: “my Dub Assembly Crew Joe & Athena. Thanks to all the people from Dallas to worldwide that have supported Dub Assembly over the years!”