I sat down with James McCormick, aka Beat Burglar, and chatted about his career, his aspirations, and I hope you find it as titillating as I did. You can find links to his music and his upcoming show at the bottom of the interview.
I give you…
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I have a few things on the burner. As far as production and djing goes I have a handful of original tracks I am looking to release in the new year along side a bunch of edits and remixes.
The production team and myself from Wheelhouse Productions are also working very hard on our upcoming year which includes our annual 80‘s Theme ski trip to Jasper in February and the new design and production of this seasons Manor stage at Astral Harvest Music and Arts festival. Along side the production I am also doing the Marketing & Social Media Management with Astral Harvest again this year which entails the new platform for the festival as well as all our promotional material and events leading up to the harvest in July.
I also have a handful of shows I am performing at starting with a New Years event in Edmonton at The Brixx with Poppa Squats & Klusterfunk.
It’s going to be an exciting year for sure!
I know you’re one heckuva DJ, what kind of genres do you play?
I play a wide range of music. Good music is good music I always say. Trip-Hop and hip hop were my first true loves when I was introduced to electronic music. I grew up with some really great musical influences in my family and my fathers jukebox which was always stocked with an amazing collection of old 45’s. They easiest way to put it is: I love hip hop, breaks, house, downtempo and drum & bass as the basis for tempo and percussion. Atmospherically, I definitely lean towards and really groovy funk, soul or disco for dance music but I really like my folk, rock, blues, reggae and everything in between. So it gives me a lot of options to play dance music and chill stuff. All of that ends up kind of being peppered with my love of turntablism.
How long have you been making music?
I have been playing music and DJing for almost 12 years. As soon as I graduated high school I went to Shambhala and watched enough DJ Shadow videos to be convinced to buy turntables. I used to play bass in band camp when I was in school but that doesn’t really count. I spent more time disrupting my class than learning. I also love to play drums and have been dabbling in that for about 10 years, and I have been working on electronic music production for a solid 5 years now.
What inspires you?
I would say music and people inspire me. The people I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by really makes me happy. Edmonton is full of so many driven, amazing people that it’s a very good place to continue to inspire and be inspired. It’s crazy how tight and deep the connection run amongst the music community across Western Canada. That perpetual growth of family that stems from the festival culture is truly extraordinary.
What changes would you like to see to the music industry to make it more profitable?
Well I feel the industry can be incredible profitable now. Flashback 20 years, the most lucrative route as a big musician was touring and record sales. Now with the way content and media is availbale, festival touring seems to be the real money maker and the festivals continue to expand season to season. But I also feel like its that age old struggle being the little guy on the totem pole wether you’re a band or a dj. I would love to see every dj/producer/band I know make a living doing their thing. You can make some good money once you’ve put in the work and gained that success playing what you love, but I’ve never expected to make money from this. I think people that want to get involved in the industry and make would have the best luck doing corporate gigs, or if you are skilled at lighting, sound or construction there are always cool projects to be involved in. The only way I can see things being more profitable for me is to keep plugging away and keep putting in the time, or if the government paid me unemployment to be a dj ei for djs. That would be the life.
Who were you, or would you, feel nervous about meeting?
DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Bonobo and John from Fort Knox 5 have always been those people on my list. I’ve met the four of them now. Hard to pick the words to say to people like that. Total fan boy mode. The other person on that hit list would be Gord Downie from The Hip, The Chemical Brothers and Norman Cook aka Fat Boy Slim.
What would you like to do more of? Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I think I would like to do more traveling/gigging for sure but I’m very happy where I’m at. In 10 years, I see myself doing the same things I’m doing now but bigger and better. I have plans to build the studio of my dreams and a bigger shop for building and working on projects. Contributing to this movement though Wheelhouse, my music and Astral Harvest, doing what I can to bring dance music to dance people is really a dream come true.