What are you working on right now?
What are you working on right now?
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.
This week, I’ve got a brand new Remix EP from Marcus Visionary feat. Steppa Side, with flashy tracks by Phatcat (Future Roots, Edmonton) alongside two Dirty Skank Beats bangers. Marcus Visionary, the legendary Drum n Bass producer from Toronto, is well known for his Jungle n Ragga work, both nationally and globally. This remix album is in your face, and reminds me of a murky dancehall, blasting you with high speed tempos and drums. I feel like I wanna light up some hairspray or somethin. Dirty Skank Beats lights up the keys with his remixes, while Phatcat emphasizes the power of the snare to provoke the song. Oh, and don’t forget that rave whistle. I personally loved the dub sides by both artists, and I have to say that these tracks have been bangin in my headphones for a few weeks now.
Hats off to Phatcat and Dirty Skank Beats
You can find their links here:
Trump won, and so did this track.
Theo Tzu, stage manager of The Grove at Shambhala, released this bangin track on Monkey Dub Records, and when I first heard it, I was blown away. The bassline hearkens back to the heavy basslines of OG dub; the rhythm immaculate, something born of zen and mystery. Trump may be really rich, and these bass grooves reflect the wealth of the subwoofer. Not only was this song massive, but Theo Tzu also gave stems to Skobe and Tella, formerly known as Money Monsoon, which prompted equally dank remixes by the two. Skobe speeds up the track, bringing his classic flavour of dubstep oscillation; the bass screams in opposition to Trump’s declarations. In original style, Tella slows the track down, and I personally could hear his epic voice emceeing over this one. With some altered samples thrown in, Tella questions the essence of Trump, for what is prosperity? It left me asking myself, what is Trump? What is the symbolism?
All in all, Trumpstep is a big winner, just like its namesake South of the border.
Find these guys links below: