Liverpool based James Silk has been on our radar for a good while with top releases and remixes on Defected, Exploited, Hive Audio and Off Recordings. Now he is back again with the brand new La Noche EP on Hive Audio. We caught up with him for an interview and an exclusive HMWL DJ mix.
HMWL: Hey James, great to meet you! How are things in life right now for you?
James: Hi there. Things are going good at the moment. I took a break from music for a while and now I am back enjoying it!
How influential have your surroundings been on your musical taste?
I must admit not very much. I get inspired and influenced by the music I listen to, my friends and family, and my girlfriend. I used to focus on genres and what people in certain scenes were playing. Now I just let my everyday life inspire me and try to enjoy the process of making music, without worrying about other stresses.
Late last year I think it would be fair to say you kind of reshaped your musical expression. Do you agree, and is that a constant process? In that case, what’s new with La Noche?
Yes, like I said the past year has really been an eye opener for me. And I think this shows in the music I am now making. I just want to make music that I enjoy. And with La Noche, I wasn’t trying to please a particular crowd, impress a particular label….I was simply trying to create the vibe that was in my head.
Do you want to focus more on DJing currently or producing? Have you a preference for one over the other?
The past few months I’ve actually taken a break from playing out. I just really wanted to take the pressure off myself and find my love in the music making a process again. I love both equally, but I have been Djing since I was 13 years old, so it will always be more important to me.
How do things like the atmosphere, venue and sound system influence how you approach a set?
The venue & sound system can make a difference, I particularly enjoy small & intimate clubs. But the most important thing for me is the crowd. If the people are excited and in the vibe, then it doesn’t matter where the party is.
Where do your musical influences come from?
Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Kool & The Gang, The Fatback Band, Shalamar, Chic, Greg Wilson. My home growing up was very much filled with all this kind of disco and it has just stuck with me since then. Of course I have also been influenced by some house DJ’s, notably John Digweed, Sasha, Pete Tong.
What are some of the most important lessons you have learnt when it comes to production? Are you still learning?
The most important lesson I have learned recently is to just make what you want to make. I found myself feeling pressured to make a certain type of music to sign to a certain label or to get more gigs. But I didn’t enjoy the process. I would go into the studio and had so much pressure on myself to make a ‘hit’ record that I would fail. Recently I’ve just been trusting myself and now I’m finding that I’m making the best music I’ve made in a long time.
How much changed for you after the success of ‘Can’t Wait?’
I’ve done some amazing things since that track. Playing in places such as Melbourne, Sydney, Moscow, Berlin, Paris….it’s the stuff dreams are made of. So I’m very grateful for what that record did for me.
You have a new release soon coming out on Hive Audio. Can you tell us a little about the thought process with that, and how did it come about you releasing on the highly thought of Swiss label?
After the success of my Language EP on Hive, I knew I wanted to release with them as soon as possible. It’s such a well run label, with a good bunch of guys behind it. They are 2 underground house cuts which I feel suit Hive perfectly. Been getting some great feedback so far, which is great!
Plans for the summer, and the rest of 2015?
I’ll actually be playing with the Hive guys in May at their Hive Club in Zurich which I’m buzzing about. There’s a few more gigs lined up but cannot release the details yet. The rest of the summer release-wise is looking jam packed. I have my first official UK single due out on 3Beat as well as my own label ‘Heyo’ being launched in mid April. This will have a 2 track EP from myself each month, so look out for that! [divider] [/divider]