Exclusive Interview: James Slaven

We speak to James Slaven about his recent gigs in Croatia and the massive release of ‘After Conor’ on Yousef’s Carioca Records.

Scotland’s own James Slaven has carved out a name for himself in the melodic house and techno scene through his distinctive, original productions and his regular extended sets. Fresh off a couple of gigs in Croatia, we had a chat with James about his studio set-up, his extended sets and what to expect from him over the rest of 2016. Check out the interview below!

Whose music are you listening to at the moment?

I don’t really have one person as such. I try keep up to date with everyone as much as possible, either through going to gigs or Be At TV, Radio 1 dance shows on friday nights, Soundcloud and all the download stores. I’d say my favourites at the minute are Jamie Jones, Nina Kravits, Yousef, Slam, Sven Vath, Gary Beck, B traits.


How did you get into DJing?

I start DJing around 11 or 12 years old after my good friend at the time got a set of belt drive decks (Soundlab Dlp3s I think they were). We’d all go to his house and try to get the hang of beat matching happy harcore records.


What were you mixing on at the time?

My first own set of decks were Soundlabs as well, I even took them with me when i joined the army. I got my first set of technics 1210s at 19 or 20, I think. The difference was like mixing on bin lids to decks made by god himself. I remember them being almost too good. I also went through several different mixers, Numark, Stanton,Vestax and eventually the holy grail of mixers… my beloved Xone 92.


Could you tell us a bit about what you’re working on in the studio just now?

I’ve just finished 3 tracks (one of which I named after my brother Roddy), but I’m looking to make a load more as soon as possible. I hate sitting with nothing to offer labels or with no demos out, it makes me feel empty… if that makes sense. I think it comes from from wanting to succeed in the music industry for so long. If I’m not making a new track, putting demos out, doing a mix or looking for new music, I’m not trying hard enough.


You’re known for using a lot of hardware in the studio, what are you using at the moment and what are some of the benefits of using this over software?

At the minute, I use a Moog Mother 32, Push 2, Korg SQ­1, Roland Ju­06, Roland JP­08, Pocket operators, Korg Monotron Delay and a Boss dd7 Delay pedal. I run them through an Apogee duet soundcard. For monitors I use a pair of Adam A7X . My studio cans are Audio­technica ATH50x. I just think hardware sounds better and it’s loads more fun to use.


You’ve had some massive feedback on your recent EP with Carioca Records, particularly the track ‘After Conor’. How does it feel to be recognised by one of the biggest tech ­house labels in the world?

It’s a weird feeling, it makes me very, very happy indeed. As I said before, it’s my ultimate dream to hear Pete Tong play my tracks on his show or to one day get to play on the same stage as my heroes. Just to know that tunes I worked on in my tiny living room have made it to the ears of some of the guys that I consider to be almost god-like, is absolutely mental.


Do you have any gigs coming up that you’re particularly excited about?

Im playing the On The House Garden party on Sat the 30th of July alongside my good friend and house-wizard Matt Mclarrie, on a superb Void System. Also on the bill is Illyus & Barrientos, Burnski, Dafie along with many more. It’s going to be some gig. Plus there is a secret location after party which looks like something out of the film “Blade”! The weekend after that, I’m back to my monthly 8 hour residence at “Behind The Wall” in Falkirk.


You’ve recently been over in Croatia playing a few sets at Deep Club, how did the gigs go?

The gigs were superb. I got to play for about 6 hours on one of the days, which was epic. The heat was a bit intense at times though – when you were djing the sun was just full on roasting you, but Croatia was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I also played back to back with my close friend Nico Mendez who’s on fire just now, as well as Tom Bug! They certainly know how to run a festival over there. I was very impressed .


You regularly play some lengthy sets, how does playing an extended set differ from a 2 hour one for example?

I really just love music. It sounds very cheesy, but it’s my entire life and I’m at it all the time. I enjoy playing as long as I can because I don’t think there is much you can show or do in an hour or less. 3 or 4 hours is the best set length. Long enough to feel the crowd and get in the groove while playing a large selection of music. After 8 hours or so my old legs need a seat!


What can we expect from you musically over the rest of the year?

Just to be immersed in making music, listening to music, buying music, mixing music or dancing next to you at the Subby or SWG3. Oh… did i mention i enjoy music..? Peace out!

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