James Millward truly lives the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” type of life. By day he is a Neuropharmacologist, by night he becomes DJ Jamestown. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Jamestown is quickly taking his own chunk out of the EDM scene in Indy. He will definitely impress you with his intelligent electro house mixes and is becoming a must hear in the electronic scene. I caught up with Jamestown to see what makes this DJ tick…
Q: What is a little history that got you to where you are now and your electronic roots?
Jamestown: “I have a pretty heavy music background and got into music when I was real young. My parents started me into piano lessons when I was eight and they also played music and sang, so I was always around it. When I was in elementary, you know they make play an instrument so I started to play the drums. There was something about making the beats, just being the beat of the music that was enticing to me. For me it was all about the beats in music.
Later, in the mid 90’s when the “rave” scene really exploded in the U.S., I was listening to a lot of the Chemical Brothers (Dig You’re Own Hole) and The Crystal Method (Vegas) and just loving that music. At that time their sound was so raw, so new. I heard those CD’s and thought that their style was sick and I just wanted to do that, do what they were doing. There was an energy and feeling to music that I had never heard before. I started to see the differences in electronic music and realized it wasn’t all just “techno music,” but that there are all these different genres of like electro, house, breaks, drum n’ bass, psy, trance, etc.”
Q: When did you start Djing?
Jamestown: “It was late 90’s to early 2000’s when I had bought my first gear. I bought two tables, a pretty ‘beat’ mixer, and a crate of vinyl that was all trance. I had gotten into trance listening to Paul Van Dyk’s album 45 RPM, at the time he was being remixed by Tiesto and Oakenfold and a ton of other DJs because he was the shit, or top DJ then. I played trance for about 6 months to a year just learning how to beat match and mix, getting use to the actual build up and breakdown of songs and sets. It took a while because I didn’t have any friends that were in to DJing, I was like the only kid I knew that had tables at that point. I would go to school and say I was playing electronic and they would say ‘Oh, that techno stuff!!!’ I guess I started to DJ because I liked the idea of controlling the beats and taking a crowd on a journey. I wanted to be the one to give the feeling that I got from the music to other people.
After about a year of trance, I started getting into break beat artists and heavier basslines, Adam Freeland was doing some pretty heavy breakbeats back then and Annie Nightingale’s broadcasts on Radio One; they are unreal still to this day. I would listen online and download mixes. I would constantly listen to all these different DJ’s, how their playing, how their mixing and what type of music their playing. Later on DJ Icey was personally one of my most influential DJ’s. Hearing his music changed my way of DJing, and I started using more the bass heavy breaks and powerful synth lines.”
Q: Coming from a trance, breakbeat type background, why transition into electro and mash-ups?
Jamestown: “Firstly, because it’s new and I’m just feelin it right now but also because of the marketability. You have to play what your scene is ready for. I would say ‘Ripple’ is more hip-hopish than anything else, if you go to any of the clubs there everyone is playing kind of the same stuff. To me that’s understandable because when people are hearing electro for the first time, you can’t just throw down a ‘banger’ John Dahlback or like, Herve type set on them. You have to play to the crowd; it’s about the journey you take them on, getting people to move and not scaring them away.”
Q: How did you become involved with “Blend”?
Jamestown: “I moved out here in May 2010 from Salt Lake City, UT for work. I had been DJing a lot back in Salt Lake for house parties and a couple of local clubs. I came here and wanted to keep playing, so I just went to pretty much every club to get a feel for the scene. I first started talking to the DJ’s, like Ben Action-Jackson, Slater Hogan, Neighbz, Kodama, and Jackola and quickly realized there wasn’t much of an electro scene here, or at least compared to what I was used to. Then I met Matt Welp, Matt Allen (FM Radio), at TRU one night. I’d was impressed by that club during the Daedalus show where there was a good mix of genres; dubstep, a good electro set and a solid PA. So I started to message and talk to him and he gave me a shot to play for his night “Blend”. The response was good and our styles worked well together, so a little later he asked me to be a resident for Blend where I DJ every Friday night.”
Q: How do you feel about the electronic scene here in Indy?
Jamestown: “Growing…in its growing stages. Huge Dubstep following, Chicago house influences are prevalent at Keepin it Deep. At Blu they get some really good electro artist, but sometimes they don’t get people coming out for those artists like they should. I think it’s because people are afraid to go to something they don’t know yet. For me, DJing here is about getting more people into what electronic dance music should be. Some promoters are scared to take a risk and bring a banger act that will charge you a bit more because they’re afraid people aren’t going to show up. That tends to slow a scene down a bit.”
Q: Where do you go from here?
Jamestown: “I want to help the electronic dance scene here in Indy blow up, that’s why I try to push the envelope a little bit every time I DJ, I like to challenge my audience and give them something new. I want to get it away from feeling like the straight hip-hop/rap scene rules all and try to get bigger crowds and clubs into some proper electronic dance music.”
During the day James works in a medical lab studying the effects of various drugs on the human mind or psyche. At night he weaves mixes that will definitely affect your mind as well as your ass shaking ability. You can check his brand of electro house out every Friday at TRU for Blend. He will also be making his first appearance at Bartini’s alongside John Larner this Saturday the 18th. Until then have a listen to his latest mix on Soundcloud or become a fan on Facebook. Prepare your dancin’ shoes and pack lightly for your visit to Jamestown.