James Cox is a Birmingham-based underground minimal House/Dub DJ signed to Habits Records. He’s also a Music Production student at BIMM Birmingham. We caught up with him to talk about his musical background, his plans for this year and his thoughts on the recent closure of the much-loved Rainbow venues.
How did you first become interested in Music Production and DJing?
I first became interested when my parents took me to Ibiza, I was eleven at the time. I managed to crack my head open on the side of the pool early in the morning, no one was around, no lifeguard, I could have drowned if i’d passed out. I had to have stitches which meant no more swimming for the rest of the holiday. Without the distraction of the beach and pool it made me more open to enjoy the cultural aspects of Ibiza. Everyone knows Ibiza is an international hub for dance music, so it was only natural I became interested after looking round the clubs merchandise shops. It wasn’t just that though – the island has a very special vibe, I’m excited to go back this year.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I’ve had a lot of influences over the years and experimented with many different genres under the dance music umbrella. At the moment I’m really loving the sound of Fuse London: Enzo Siragusa, Archie Hamilton, Seb Zito, Rich NxT. I’m also really liking East End Dubs, I’ve even requested BIMM bring him in for a master class while he’s in Birmingham this February! I also have a lot of Unknown Artist vinyl tracks that are influencing my sound at the moment. Justin Pak (BIMM London) is also doing great things right now.
You were a resident DJ at the Rainbow Venues, which had its license revoked in late 2017 due to an unfortunate drugs-related fatality. What are your thoughts on the situation there? Do you think closure is the answer to the problem?
That’s right, Rainbow was the first club I played. It’s an iconic venue and it filled a huge gap in the music scene and put Birmingham on the map for underground electronic music. I’ve played for many of the promoters there such as Carnival Magnifico, Seedy Sonics and The Portal.
I think by shutting the venue down the council has made a very poor choice. It doesn’t solve the problem it simply relocates it. People are going to take drugs regardless. Rainbow has operated some of the tightest security procedures of any club in the U.K and punishing the venue is simply illogical. The same management and musicians are just going to move elsewhere anyway. So, by revoking it’s licence all they have achieved is the closure of a beautiful, vibrant space.
Rainbow have recently launched their educate not revocate campaign and will be appealing the council’s decision.
You recently confirmed to play a set at WE ARE FSTVL later this year. How are you feeling about it?
Yes! I’m playing the Habits Records stage for my good friend Billy Rath. It’s unreal! I’m so grateful for the opportunity. It was actually one of my goals for 2018 to play a festival, so to be able to achieve that so early in the year is a huge motivator for me and a sign of whats to come really. Most of all though, I can’t wait to be there and to show people my sound and the sound of Habits Records.
What else do you have lined up for the rest of this year gigs/news/releases-wise?
I will be continuing my residency with Habits Records. We have shows lined up in Birmingham, London, Liverpool and Doncaster with details to follow.
With regards to releases, I have an upcoming track on the Habits VA Sampler showcasing the label talent and also a full EP dropping in the near future. I’m currently in talks with a successful London label about a recently finished EP of mine with details to follow. I will also be continuing me free download series this year, so keep an eye out for JC002 on my Soundcloud.
What’s been the best part of your Music Production course at BIMM Birmingham so far?
Studying at BIMM is great, I love the hands-on approach and feel the course is geared towards artists more so then other universities. It’s much better being in a smaller group instead of a huge lecture theatre. My favourite part so far? Walking into the classroom and seeing Ableton Push 2 on my desk. I’d been wanting to get my hands on one for a while. The resources at BIMM really are great.