James Harcourt – Rainbow Serpent mix & Q&A
Fri 20th Jan, 2012 ITM-FMin
The Market Stage at Rainbow Serpent Festival is a place where lasting memories are made (case in point: Mathew Jonson setting a speaker on fire), and this year it’s James Harcourt’s turn. This is the first time the Twisted Frequency figurehead has ventured into the bush for Rainbow Serpent, so expect him to come in strong. Hit play on this mix for an idea of what to expect. We also sent some questions in James’s direction ahead of the big weekend.
So how are things feeling at the moment within the Twisted Frequency camp? What’s ahead for 2012?
We’re pretty excited for 2012, the focus is back after a bit of a drift over the last year. I’m collaborating with our A&R man and DJ Tim Sneath on some new music at the moment which hopefully will see the light of day on TF in 2012. We have a great new track coming from Affani & Dapo next and also a compilation of the best tracks since our inception coming in the next month or two also. There will be one or two London-based events to follow on from our party last year along with plans for a producer pack release and of course one or more EPs or original singles from myself when I can squeeze them in!
What are some of the main challenges involved in running a label at the moment?
For underground labels, piracy is quite damaging. For a lot of guys, a Google search will show up direct download links to most tracks which have my name on it within a day of release and I’m pretty sure most people get it that way. This is great for promotion, in a sense – but not good for running a label financially.
The other challenge is the saturation of the market – the sheer amount of material being released and number of labels in existence. Now that it’s so much easier to produce and manage everything online, everyone is at it and the quality control is not there. We’ve recently changed from selling our music at the three main sales points of dance music to selling to over 250 outlets. This exacerbates the piracy issue but gets the music out farther and wider.
Is the remixing thing something you still enjoy doing, or is it more of a stop-gap between your own productions?
I enjoy both really. Sometimes, I like the challenge of working with a track with limited parts but forcing myself to get creative with them. Other times, it just feels like I’m making an original track and no inspiration can come from the remix parts…which is why I find myself agreeing to try to remix stuff and letting guys know fairly quickly whether it’s happening or not!
What about your DJ sets at the moment; are you still on the CDs? Do you think your approach to building a set has remained pretty consistent over the years?
Yep, I’m on CDs. I bought a MacBook with Traktor but just couldn’t get into it as yet. I like the physical feel and it still allows me to put my edits and unreleased stuff in the mix. I like a bit of a journey within a set, but sometimes the vibe just demands bangers from the off!
This is your first appearance at Rainbow Serpent. Do you enjoy the experience of playing in the great outdoors?
Most of my experience is in smaller or underground clubs lately and I guess that’s where I’ve been most comfortable, but the Afterdark stage at Sunburn in Goa was probably my one of my favourite events so far and outdoors. Kazantip was amazing too, overlooking the Black Sea to an amazing crowd.
I played one outdoor event in Chelyabinsk in Russia which was pretty surreal – day was breaking and it was cold and a bit wet, there was a bit of a fog on the grass in front of the stage and the Russians in the crowd looked a bit zombie-ish in the fog. It was pretty freaky. Esthetic Evolutions in Idaho, USA was another amazing festival experience – the setting alone was pretty unbelievable.