James Barnsley’s main focus for the last couple of years has been developing his unique sound in his own productions. The hard work and dedication have already paid off with releasing his music on class labels such as Get Physical, Murmur and Overall Music. Since the launch of his newly established label Vessel Records, James has been putting extra work to deliver strong material from artists such as DJ W!ld, Politics Of Dancing, Diego Krause and himself. His productions are supported by DJ’s Richie Hawtin, Steve Bug, D’julz and Josh Wink amongst others.
Barnsley is now based in beautiful British Columbia and for over 10 years has been a resident at the legendary Back to Basics in Leeds where you will regularly hear him playing the finest underground house and techno alongside the likes of Chez Damier, Delano Smith and Josh Wink. You can also catch him gigging around the rest of the UK and Europe. He chatted with us for our latest 101 series.
What was the funniest / most bizarre request you’ve ever had while playing?
Someone offered me cash to take all my clothes off.
Can you describe your studio setup for us?
Here’s a list of things I use in my studio. I have a few other toys but these are the main tools I work with: Allen & Heath GS3 Desk, Roland TR-909, Roland Juno 106, Roland TR-505 Nord Lead 3, Korg Electribe MK1, Micro Korg, Cyclone TT 303, Lexicon LXp-1 & Lexicon LXP-5 Reverbs, Moog MF-104M Delay, Technics SL-120mk 5 and Apple iMac in a combination with Logic X.
Could you tell us the story about your first gig?
My first gig was pretty funny. I wasn’t even old enough to be in the club. I dressed up as a banana and had my two buddies dancing in gorilla suits giving out bananas. Pretty ridiculous to be fair but it was good fun and one to remember.
Name three artists that currently inspire you.
Karousel, Dan Curtin, Djulz.
Recall the worst experience of ‘killing the vibe’ in the club.
Someone had taken a piss in a smoke machine bottle in the back room of the club on the previous night. You can image what happened once it got pored in the smoke machine. Totally killed the vibe. (Gipping)
What do you do before and after your set?
I usually have a few beers before and pace about a bit. I try to see what people are digging from the warm up. After the set, I usually like to party and wind down.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I was a weekend pot washer in a greasy spoon cafe, not fun.
What are your favourite labels at the moment?
Politics of Dancing Records, Constant Sound and obviously Vessel Records.
Imagine a cold winter, a fireplace and two glasses of wine—what song would you play?
Last but not least. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t eat yellow snow.”
“James Barnsley – Big Move EP”
His forthcoming release will be a four-track EP that will be out in following months via his own Vessel Records. The release features two original tracks plus a combination of remixes coming from heavyweight duo Cabdrivers and French master D’Julz.
A compelling groove lays the foundation of “Time” whilst quivering synths operates throughout, leading into D’Julz’s remix that twists the original into a moody roller with tightly executed 808s at its core. “Forgiveness” starts with clanking percussion as melodies add to the heightening atmosphere, while the Cabdrivers remix takes the key elements of the original and plays with the harmonies to make them coarser.