Matthew Prudham speaks to rising DJ James Organ. James has lit up festival stages at Reading & Leeds, Creamfields, and many more this summer. He discusses the rise from Liverpudlian club DJ to a touring force, his latest singles “Lost (ft. The Angel)” and “Tilted”, and much more.
You rose out of the Liverpool club scene over the past couple of years – can you tell us a bit about your experiences as a club DJ?
Liverpool has a thriving music and club culture and this made a big impact on me and my love for underground House music. There is so much happening in the City and if you have already you should come and experience it for yourself. I am very happy to have played many times for established events such as Circus and ENRG, as these guys have set the bar very high when it comes to booking lineups and running club shows.
How did you manage the transition from a club to a touring/live DJ?
I think the crucial thing for me, and probably for a lot of other young touring DJ’s is being thrown in at the deep end helps give an understand of what works and what doesn’t. Playing in front of bigger crowds allows you to understand the difference between which tracks work in smaller basement clubs compared to what works on a bigger stage. A lot of DJ’s will go into their gigs with a pre planned set of what they are going to play and this often leaves you in the lurch when you need to switch things up on the day. Prep prep prep is how to best manage the transition, go into your gigs with a number of different playlists to account for all scenarios.
You played on the BBC Introducing stage at Creamfields – how did that go?
Very well. This was a big opportunity to showcase a lot of my new music live on Radio 1. You can listen back to a clip of this set on my SoundCloud.
Across that weekend, you also hit the Relentless and Radio 1 Dance Stages at Reading & Leeds, playing with the likes of Denis Sulta and Honey Dijon – how inspiring is it to be placed on bills with these legendary artists?
Relentless was arguably one of the best gigs I’ve ever played. DJ’ing to around 17,000 ravers in a huge forest in Leeds was mental. I am very proud to have been placed on line-ups with artists of this stature, but with it comes a lot of pressure to perform well on the day. I’ve been very happy with all of my gigs over the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve had a great summer. (Listen back to some of the sets recorded live on my SoundCloud).
How would you describe your style of dance music?
Over the past year or so I have tailored my sound by using a number of new synths & hardware, including Moog’s ‘Subsequent 37’, the ‘Aira 303’ and Korg’s MS20 Mini. I would describe my last and next few EPs as ‘Acid driven house music’, given the use of the 303 in most of the tracks!
How vital has been the support given to you by BBC Introducing?
Support from BBC in general is a major leg-up in terms of visibility on your music and also on you as an artist. Although I am still in the very early stages of my career, I am very very grateful for the support I have received from the BBC so far and I am super excited for the coming months.
Have any DJs been vital in your development?
I would say watching certain DJ’s closely from behind the booth has allowed me to craft my skills to an extent, but ultimately I owe a lot to myself. Simple trial and error in both music production and DJ’ing has helped me to self teach a lot of what i know and I would advise anybody looking to get into this to do the same. Find your own sound and it will make a big difference.
Your latest release is the double single “Lost” (ft. The Angel) & “Tilted”. The lightly sung yet powerful vocals by The Angel on the former are lush in the way that they are simultaneously in the forefront and the background; they complement so well the repetitive synths and beats which build up with the crashing cymbals back into the verses. How did you go about crafting this track?
Although there is no right and wrong way about how you approach making a record, The Angel and I went about this track a little unconventionally, in that I made the instrumental and worked the vocal around the beats / bass afterwards. I know a lot of producers that would prefer to start with the vocal and work the track around the lyrics. This is probably my favourite of all my tracks so far, the vocal is absolutely incredible. Props to Laura ’The Angel’, amazing talent!
Tilted is a completely different beast with a bit more pace and bite to it. I really enjoy the whispered vocals and the low piano notes which lead up to the drop – how would you describe it in five words?
Acid, gritty, gnarly, nasty, chuggy.
Who are your favourite producers currently?
I have taken a lot of inspiration in the past few years from Maya Jane Coles. I think she is a very, very incredibly talented producer & engineer and I one day hope to make music as clean and flawless as hers. On par with Maya are producers like Paul Woolford, Harry Romero and Camelphat, although I could list so many more. Based on pure talent (ignoring any social media hype) these guys for me are up there with the best.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
I have some of my strongest releases to come over the next few months which I am very excited about. Ultimately though, lots more music and lots more gigs
Finally, what is your top tip for getting your own music heard?
Find the artists / label owners that you want to associate with, get 3 or 4 (not too many) of your strongest tracks on a USB pen and try and get to one of their gigs and physically hand them your music. They will appreciate this a lot, and it makes a great difference in whether they are going to come back to you and sign / play your music or not.
James Organ’s latest single, “Lost” (ft. The Angel)/”Tilted” is out now. His Creamfields set can
Image by James Organ.