UK hero James Solace aka James Burnham has made his name through a penchant for moving through many styles of music with ease, always being one step ahead of the trend and mixing the new with the old. Whether it be his trade-mark tech-house grooves released under Burnski or through his Instinct alias and label where he channels drum and bass, garage and 2-step, his productions are always of the highest quality.
Given the level of his productions, it is no surprise why he is a regular at the likes of DC10, Fabric, Rex Club and Watergate. This year will see a wealth of new material released under the James Solace alias on labels like Hot Creations, Knee Deep in Sound, Four Thirty Two and Last Night On Earth. Given his latest incarnation as James Solace, we decided to welcome him aboard our Introducing series.
James Solace is the latest incarnation of James Burnham. Why are you releasing under this alias instead of Burnski?
I have always wanted to have an alias which had a bit more energy to the sets, playing Live. Creating more moments if you like. I was asked by a lot of labels with great platforms for music, but I had other commitments at the time. I started working on some new music with this idea in mind and it made more sense to put them under a new name. In my mind, I already had an idea of the labels to reach out too based on who had asked in the past.
Is there a certain sound or image that you want associating with James Solace?
The idea is to keep the energy high in the tracks, and the sets I am playing. I think you start looking back a bit more the longer you have been making music and start getting excited by sounds that really got you into it all in the first place. A mixture of those things is what this alias is about I think.
You have recently put out 4 track EP on Hot Creations. How did this EP come about, did you approach the label or was it them that approached you?
We have spoken before about doing music for the label but I was doing other things at the time. When I made the first set of demos, I sent them straight to Hot Creations. It took about 4 months to hear back, but they signed 4 tracks and it’s been doing well, which is good to see. It’s a good lesson to keep moving forward even if you don’t hear back from labels. As a young producer, it can take the wind out of your sails but the key is to keep ploughing forward even more so if you don’t hear anything back.
What has been the hardest thing you have had to overcome in your career so far?
I think if you’re in it for the long run you have to expect ups and downs. I think reinventing myself has helped maintain a long career in the game. Maybe there’s been times when things quiet down or maybe you play less in some places. That would be the most challenging for most artists and DJ’s I would say.
Choosing your own path can be challenging, you have to let go of some things and go your own way sometimes. This can bring in new challenges but you always know in yourself what gets you excited and what might not serve you well anymore. If you ask yourself that, you are always growing and improving. Keep working hard and staying focused and things will work out.
What would you say the most common mistake made by artists trying to breakthrough?
Everyone is different and there’s no real right or wrong way to do things I think. I do think constantly chasing a point that never quite comes is probably the thing I see a lot of people doing. If you get into the headspace of enjoying every day in the studio, enjoying the process of making the music, looking forward to the small things, you are going to enjoy the ride a lot better.
There’s always goals, ideas and things to chase but it is about not letting that become 100% what it’s all about. It’s easier said than done and we all do it but it is about being aware of it and watching it I think, as I see it really zap the magic out of it all. If you can be driven by focusing on improving the quality of your work all the time that would put you in a better headspace because you are always improving and you can really enjoy the process of it. All the perks will come with that I am sure but that not the goal. If you are making music and doing gigs for a living, you’re a blessed man.
Is there a club, venue or promoter that in your eyes stands out above the rest for the way they operate and the atmosphere they create at their shows?
Fabric is a really well run oiled machine. I’ve always been impressed by the professionalism when playing there. The night itself but also all the small things that contribute leading up to it and after that make you feel comfortable with nothing to worry about.
Finally, if you could collaborate with any artist past or present who would it be and why?
It’s hard to say as I am into so many different artists really. There could be loads but I have always been a fan of Four Tet, so if your down mate lets do it haha.