TIP035 Andy James

11 years is a long time to spend committed to any one thing. In Andy’s case, he’s used the time to learn his trade right down to the finest detail. Not content with simply purchasing a set of turntables and attempting to mix two records together, he set about studying the history of Dance music, and spending every waking minute learning how to manipulate a dance floor by intelligently combining and layering sounds from different artists. Effective use of melodies, carefully constructed tracklists, and vibrant enthusiasm behind the decks have always been the key factors that make Andy’s sets stand out from the crowd. His attention to detail and his ear for music have led to him securing a string of prolific gigs across the UK, as well as consecutive festival and boat party appearances. It’s also these assets that have led to him being signed up to join the ranks at This Is Progressive, amongst the roster of equally gifted and ambitious individuals who share the passion for great Dance music, and the belief that quality should never be sacrificed in favour of the latest dancefloor trends.
Whilst it is evident from his recorded sets that he is keen to push forward-thinking electronica in its many guises, it’s also worth noting that he’s extremely passionate about musical history. Andy has devoted a significant amount of personal time to running his own Cratedigga event in Oxfordshire, which specialises exclusively in promoting vinyl-based Dance from House music’s origins during the days of Disco and Motown, right through to 2003. It’s this unwavering belief in the value of knowing your roots that guarantees that any event that Andy is spinning at will always be impeccably soundtracked. It is also this ethos that will ensure his DJ diary will remain busy for the foreseeable future.

What was your first ever record?
You never forget your first… mine was Conjure One ‘Tears From The Moon’ (Tiesto remix). I bought it before my first set of decks had even arrived, after hearing it on Godskitchen Direct and then seeing it in HMV. Still brings back great memories to this day.

Who were your Heroes and Influences growing up?
I don’t have many if i’m honest, but Nick Warren, Paul Oakenfold, and James Holden stand out in my memory. Used to be a huge Oakie fan in my younger years, and whilst I don’t really like what he’s become these days, i’ll always regard his 1999 Essential Mixes as some of the finest examples of how Trance should be played. Warren and Holden on the other hand will always remain strong influences on how I play as a DJ, as you’ll never catch either of them jumping on bandwagons or compromising to climb any download charts. In a world of hastily produced rubbish and throwaway ‘EDM’, they are the resistance.

Which came first DJing or Producing?
DJing definitely, although I always regret not trying my hand at producing earlier. I’m only really starting out now to be honest, and the learning curve is steep to say the least.

Whats the story behind this mix?
It’s fairly representative of how I sequence most of my mixes these days. I love taking some time to introduce the mix properly, and showcase a select few tracks that I wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to play in a club. I’m really not a fan of DJs who put a 2 or 3 hour mix together of (for example) only Deep House tracks… I feel there’s an inherent lack of imagination in doing that. You have a blank canvas, so throw some imagination into it! I’ve tried to progress it through the styles that I love most right now, so you’ll find a healthy dose of intricate melodic House, a dab of Breaks, and finally some full-on Progressive to conclude proceedings.

Whats the home studio set up like?
I’m a proper vinyl enthusiast, so 2 Technics SL1210 Mk2’s, a Korg Zero4 digital mixer, an Allen & Heath Xone 1D (for Traktor), a PC loaded with Ableton Suite 8 and Traktor, an M-Audio Oxygen 25 MIDI keyboard, and another PC I use for general editing/internet browsing etc.

Any future plans you would like to share?
Aside from working with the good folks at ThisIsProgressive, i’m trying to build upon the success i’ve had running my small vinyl classics night, Cratedigga. We’re making our first festival appearance this year in Oxford, and hoping that it’s the first of many to come.

Whats your take on the Analogue vs Digital debate?
As long as the music is good, and they’re not faking what they’re doing, I couldn’t care less.

Are there any producers/labels you always go to for new material?
Rone, Tycho, Nathan Fake, Fairmont and Luke Abbott for the more leftfield electronica. Maceo Plex, Andhim, Vincenzo, Darin Epsilon, Gary Beck, Waze & Odysee, and Ejeca all spring to mind for the more dancefloor orientated music. In terms of labels, there’s probably too many to mention (but a new Border Community release usually gets me salivating)

What makes them special to you?
Consistency. They all seem to hit the mark with a relatively high degree of success. Gary Beck, Rone, and Plex in particular… those guys are just incredible.

Whats your dream DJ gig?
Probably to play a stage in Europe or in a club in Berlin. I’ve never really had the chance to play abroad, and it’s something i’m extremely keen to do. I’ve visited Berlin twice in the last year and there really isn’t anywhere like it in terms of nightlife. I’m amazed they get any work done, as the clubs don’t seem to shut and there’s a sense of excitement I get out there that reminds me of how it felt when I first started going clubbing all those years ago.

1. Mike Shinoda & Joseph Trapanese – Prayers [CDR]
2. Boards Of Canada – Uritual [Warp]
3. Holden – Blackpool Late Eighties [Border Community]
4. Rone – La Grande Ourse [InFine]
5. Tycho – Dictaphones Lament [Ghostly International]
6. Ruxpin – Home (Until We) [N5MD Records]
7. Pantha Du Prince – Saturn Strobe [CDR]
8. Youandewan – 1988 [Aenaria]
9. Tale Of Us – Discochord [M-Nus]
10. Nicholas feat. Jessy Allen – Stronger (Alternative vocal mix) [4Lux]
11. Youandewan – 0500 [Hypercolour]
12. Tom Budden – Falling [Alive]
13. Javier Varez – Doubts & The Wind (Art Of Tones remix) [Lovely Records]
14. Fairmont – Last Dance (Ewan Pearson remix) [My Favourite Robot]
15. Jeurgens – Love It [iO Music]
16. Lank & CidInc – Urban Biorhythm (Dub mix) [Microcastle]
17. with/ Jamie Anderson – Inova (Roberto remix) [Artform]
18. Matteo Monero – Beyond The Inner Journey (Viktor K remix) [Suffused Music]
19. with/ Epsilon 9 – Lifeformation (Infernal Machine remix) [Forbidden Planet]
20. Burufunk – Outsider [Navigation]
21. Fairmont – Poble Sec [Beachcoma]
22. Mononoid – Antlion [Traum]
23. Metrophonique – Awheebe [Cray1 Digital]
24. Matteo Monero – Primitive Future (Frangellico remix) [Bonzai Progressive]
25. Oliver Lieb – Rack To The Boots [Parquet]