Who’s Up Next With Dave James
What up Dave! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Could you introduce
yourself to the readers? Who is Dave James and what does he do?
Wadddup bro! Thanks for having me! Ummmm…….Dave James is a husband, father and a producer
that sings and writes songs! I am also the music director at i5 church…
How long have you been producing for and who you would say are your musical influences?
Man, I guess you could say my introduction to production came from working with my band
Ndelible. Writing/singing and playing with them is what taught me song structure and
composition. We started in 06, but I didn’t start really doing music production until I
hooked up with an artist named Jbaylor in 2012. He showed me the ropes and challenged me to
take myself more seriously as a producer. In 2013 I produced my first ep with an artist
named Ari Lennox Called “Ariography”
My musical influences are:
I have a lot!
Tommy Sims…..like, I’m the biggest tommy Sims fan in the world lol. He really inspired me
to start my musical journey. I also feel like I have to listen to J-Dilla like, At least
once a day . I study a lot of producers like, S1, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Jeff Bhasker,
Emile Haynie, Jeremy Most, Dr. Dre, Pharell, Timbaland, Black Milk, Jake One, Nottz, A
track, Harmony Samuels, Mike will…I could go on and on with that list lol.
Michael Gungor, Prince, Jon foreman from switchfoot, Radiohead, DMB, Phantom Planet, Paul
McCartny, Wycleff Jean. They are some of my favorite artists/composers. I love the way they
put songs together.
Who have you worked with?
As Of right now I have worked with:
Trip Lee (under Ndelible)
Brandon Camphor and One Way
…I am also singing a hook on the new tragic hero album (does that count?) lol
What do you use to produce? Daw, gear etc..
I use Studio one, Komplete 9, Mpc 2000, Reason, Lennar Synleth, Waves, Sugar bytes, Sound
toys…The Universal audio Apollo twin…the golden age mk 2 pre amp, Shure sm7b, a fender
Rhodes, fender strat…hughes and kettner tubemeister 18, Guitar Pedal board rig (Timmy,
Jhs colour box, fx 75b stereo flanger, Wampler euphoria, Zvex SHO, Electroharmonix POG2, Sp
compressor, strymon Blue sky, Barefoot pink and purple fuzz, Mag Echo, fulltone Deja vibe2)
What is your process in the studio? How do you go about making a track?
It depends on what kind of song I’m making and who I’m working with. A lot of times
singer/songwriters come with a song written already in demo form. If that’s the case I
always have that demo playing in my head. That way I know how the song is going to end
before I even start on it. Hip-hop is a little different. If I’m making a rap beat I’ll
start with either the drum track or sample and build on it from there. I love working with
software because there is so much you can do with it and the quality is pretty reliable.
However, recently I’ve been trying to push myself to use more analog sounds. Creating
sounds with the hardware that I have in an attempt to make something special before it hits
my daw. I love the grit warmth and uniqueness you can get from going analog.
Any artist you plan on or would like to work with?
There are a few artists that I’ve seen on instagram that I would love to work with lol. One
is named Shiloh dynasty, she plays guitar and her voice is amazing. We actually had a very
small convo through dm…then a couple of weeks later I saw timbaland posting one of her
videos with the “team Timbo” Hashtag next to it so….maybe that ship has sailed lol. I would
love to work with chance the rapper, he’s super creative. Sevyn Streeter is super dope, I
would love to work with her. Mick Jenkins, pharell, SPZRKT, christon grey, beyonce, Local
Natives, the list goes on lol. I guess, anybody who moves me artistically that I can build
good chemistry with!
What can we expect from you in the future?
Be on the look out for Leah Smiths new ep. I’m super excited about that one! It will be
available in the fall. Brandon Camphor and one Way’s new album is coming out sometime next
year I believe, check that out as well. They are an awesome group and we were able to come
up with some really cool stuff for that project! Courtney Orlando (fka J.R.) and I are
currently working on two ep’s together! He has become one of my musical mentors so I’m
super excited to be working with him in this way. Please be on the look out for those as
Lastly, is there any advice you would give to upcoming producers?
Man I know this may sound cheesy but two best pieces of advice I could give would be don’t
ever give up, and always be a student! My parents have been the biggest influences in my
life. They always pushed me to dream and set high goals since I was a child. When I got to
my last year of College I wanted to switch my major to fine arts and sciences with music as
a concentration, they encouraged me to do it because they knew I had a passion for music.
However after my first semester the dean of the music department said I was not good enough
to amount to anything in music and that I was to old (I was 22 at the time). Naturally,
this crushed me but they encouraged me to get up and keep pushing. If I would have believed
what that guy told me and gave up on music, I would have missed all of awesome things I
have experienced and I would not be doing music full time.
The reason why I say always be a student is because the minute that you think you’ve
learned everything you can learn is the minute you stop growing. If your older there are
certainly things you can pick up from the younger guys who are doing what you do. They have
a fresh perspective. I have gotten production tips from a 16 yr. old who just had a really
dope sound. Same thing goes for the younger guys, I love being around older musicians
because I can take so much from their experiences and knowledge! There is this line that I
love from this Bob Dylan song that says “he who is not busy being born, is busy dying.” I
think there is some real truth to that. You have to always find a way to grow!
Thanks again for taking the time to do this! God bless!
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