In today’s music business, it’s the releases and gigs that keep your name on the tip of everyone’s tongue. In 2019, Trance artist James Cottle has taken great strides in improving himself as a person that translates into his continued work as a highly respected producer and DJ.
Since our last conversation in March 2018, James has played The Gallery @ Ministry of Sound multiple times, each of the two previous SHINE events in Ibiza, Germany’s Nature One Festival twice, The Galvanisers in Glasgow, Scotland, Boogaloo, Zagreb, Croatia, and Ibiza’s Heavensgate Trance Event. With each of these performances, he has learned to hold steadfast in presenting himself as a true artist.
“With these types of shows, it’s great to be performing in front of everyone,” states James. “It’s also important to network, which is something I gained experience with over time. I’ve learned to be more professional when touring, and I realize there is such a high standard these days.”
Being prepared for his audience is something James prides himself with, but he also enjoys the challenge when following well-known DJs. “I remember following Paul van Dyk this year at Ministry of Sound,” James says. “His equipment is all for live performance, so you’re having sound engineers unplug everything while you get ready to drop the first track.”
James is a firm believer in not straying far from his known sound, but he goes into each set with as many options as possible for playing to the crowd. “The first three or four tracks following a big name are crucial,” declared James. “At half-past four in the morning, I want to keep people moving on the dance floor. Sometimes you have to drop that track and announce, ‘Hey, I’m here!’” Stage presence is also crucial. “I concentrate on playing the right record for that moment in time and mixing the two tightly.”
Since his first gig in 2009 at Bar 56 in Crook, County Durham, England, James has risen in the ranks and credits Michael Walker for teaching him to DJ & produce at Wear Jammin’ CIC studios. The community interest company provides musical technology activities and learning experiences to people of all ages in the northeast of England, with the profits reinvested into their artistic community. He also has a positive working relationship with Craig Connelly, Sean Truby, Daxson & Sam Laxton and often shares ideas with these production colleagues.
James’ creativity translated into three outstanding releases this year. The first was March’s “Balance” (VANDIT Records). Following a string of successful tracks on VANDIT, James captured the essence of Ibiza using summery atmospherical sounds in the song. “It’s important to craft a strong melody while exploring your own creativity,” James said. “The comments I received from the likes of Lars Holte (DJ/friend of Tiësto and former event organizer) saying how much they enjoyed the track made it worthwhile.”
James went into remix mode for Graviton‘s song, “Soul Imprints” (Transpectair). “The label contacted me on Soundcloud, saying they had been following me for a while. They asked if I wanted to put my own spin on this record. The original is a Progressive House track, so I went in to bring some uplifting energy to it. I’m happy with how it turned out.” James says.
Then came the biggest track of the year for him as Sam Laxton flew over during his tour break to join James in the studio. “Ivy” was created in just a couple of days. “We’ve been promising to collaborate on an original track for five years, and it finally happened. The track came together so fast. Sam played the main melody in by hand and I played in the side melodies and other synths. Doing it this way shows that we work well together. I’m really proud of how catchy the track is!” VANDIT signed the track straight away, and it garnered support from many A-list DJ’s, Including Paul Van Dyk on his new tour and Armin Van Buuren on ASOT. John Askew and Simon Patterson have also played in at EDC Orlando.
These releases have been great stepping stones to 2020, along with the continued guidance of his manager. James is proud to be managed by the legendary Dutch artist, Woody van Eyden, and works him hard for all the right reasons. “He’s great for giving feedback on my productions, arranging bookings, and raising my confidence level to the point where I can now work faster.”
Woody liaises with VANDIT while excelling in the publishing and legal side of music. “He’s told me that if he didn’t believe in me, he wouldn’t be working with me, so that motivates me as well to be a better person and artist.” James says. This support will be useful next year as he returns to play SHINE Ibiza along with John O’Callaghan, Will Atkinson, and Paul van Dyk. “I’m thrilled to be involved now for the third year in a row.”
Musically in 2020, James is coming out hot with a wider variety of tunes. “Next year looks to be my most successful year as an original and remixing producer. There has been a bit of luck for me for sure, and I’m very grateful for the continued support of Paul van Dyk and VANDIT. They were instrumental in putting me on PvD’s “Music Rescues Me” tour, where I visited Croatia, Scotland, Ministry of Sound, and of course, Ibiza. When you have your name in Ibiza, it helps so much with your profile.”
And with this profile, James is accomplishing every DJ’s dream to go from local clubs to the main stages and super clubs of the world. Here at Trance Farm, we can’t wait to see James SHINE in 2020.
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