An Interview With James Benedict

Rising Glaswegian house music talent James Benedict has hooked up with Tom Lown's Lucky Sun Recordings label, spawning the deep and evocative In Time And Place EP. This fifth release for the label features three sparkling originals – "Midnight at Riverside", "Rockabeat", and the title cut – as well as fantastic remixes from Alvaro Hylander (DeepWit Recordings) and Nico Mendez (Underground Sounds / UM Records). We recently caught up with James to talk about this new release and other recent activities:

How did you manage to hook up with Lucky Sun Recordings?

JB: Tom approached me and asked me if I’d like to get involved in the label and I agreed! I knew that Lucky Sun was quite new and I checked out the releases in detail and really liked the sound Tom was putting out there. I like getting involved in new labels, and being part of a growing project. If I can contribute in some positive way then it’s all good.

What can you tell us about the In Time & Place EP? The title sounds almost mystical. Are there any stories or meanings behind its songs?

JB: It does sound a bit mystical, actually! The title track I suppose was about where I was in my musical life when I made it and about how I was feeling at the time. "Midnight at Riverside" is named after a museum down the road from where I was living when I made it, and "Rockabeat" is just a random one!

I probably spend more time coming up with names of songs than I do making them to be fair! I like to be quite original with them and sometimes they have a meaning and sometimes they don’t.

Is there anything you do in the studio – as far as hardware or software you use, or creative processes or quirks – that you feel is somewhat unique, or might be of interest to an outsider?

JB: In terms of my studio, I try to keep things as simple as possible, which helps me be creative. I use Ableton, a couple of digital synths (which vary depending on the sound I’m after), a MIDI keyboard, Ableton Push, occasionally the Roland TR-8. I also like using samples and recycling them in a way that suits my sound and the particular type of track I’m going for at the time. In terms of creative processes, I normally have a rough idea of what I want to make, try and find a loop that works (which can take a while sometimes), then eventually something will click and then I’ll arrange everything.

Listening to music is a massive part of the process for me as well, which can be anything, not just house music. Sometimes I’ll spend a week or two just listening to stuff to get inspiration, particularly if I feel I need to take a step back from the production. Also anything that I think is creative inspires me – films, art, photography.

How would you describe your sound to, say, a classic rock fan who knows nothing about deep house?

JB: I’d say it’s deep, funky, bouncy and underground. You may not like it if you don’t like electronic based music. But hopefully you’ll appreciate and respect it. The main thing I try to add to my tracks is some sort of feeling and soul. I think that’s important, and if I feel like a track doesn’t have that, I’ll scrap it and start again. Hopefully that’s passed on to the listener – that’s the goal!

What are you most excited about right now?

JB: I’m getting married at the end of the year which is exciting! A lot of work to organize everything but it's going to be worth it. I’m also buzzing about the new Star Wars film coming out in December (had to get that in – I’m a bit of a geek!). And I’m always excited about music, and stuff generally.

What’s next on the agenda for James Benedict?

JB: I have a four track EP coming out soon on LA based Good For You Records which I’m excited about, so watch out for that. I’m also working on a follow up EP for new label Delve Deeper Recordings (they’ve been pumping out some top tracks). And i’ve got a remix coming out In November on cool label sinnmusik* which I’m really looking forward to. Lots of other stuff going on in the pipeline, too!

Here's an audio preview of the In Time And Place EP (available now from Traxsource), as well as a top notch DJ mix from James Benedict: