Ahead of his appearance supporting dance behemoth Neelix at The Gallery on 11th July, James Dymond dropped by for a quick catch up
Hi James, hope this day finds you well?
Hey! All good thank you. I had a pretty relaxed day for once, bit of food shopping and now chilling out to some music. Not exactly the DJ lifestyle, but thought I’d treat myself to a day off!
Your previous visit to Ministry of Sound was last October. How was that debut show at The Gallery?
It was incredible, one of the biggest highlights of my career so far, for sure. Before properly getting into DJing and music production I was a regular Ministry clubber for years. It holds sentimental memories for me, I've had tons of great nights, met so many people as well as getting to hang out with the DJs I admire. So to get behind the decks in the main room was something I had been looking forward to for years! And it most definitely didn't disappoint, to follow on from Dash Berlin in an absolutely packed main room, I couldn't have asked for more - can you tell I was a little excited by this gig?!
Why is The Box perfect for the James Dymond sound?
I know in London there's a lot of educated Trance clubbers – so it's awesome to play to a crowd who knows every track you're mixing and to see their reactions. I've been playing in London for a few years now, and seem to have built up a really good following here – so just like last time, it will be great to play to all the familiar faces who know my music.
There's also the walk in clubbers at Ministry, who come in to see what's on. I play a lot of classic trance reworks, which are perfect for these clubbers, who may not be so up to date with the current trance sound and tracks. With that combination of the latest uplifting and all time favourite classic reworks – it certainly helps make my sound perfect for The Box.
On top of this, I always and only play tracks I know will work well on the dancefloor. When listening to promos, if I don't think it'll work – I usually move onto the next. Not only do I listen for the melodies, but the production quality of the track is a big turning point also. If the melody is tops, and the production is fat, I know we're on to a winner! With Ministry having one of the best sound systems around, you need to make sure the tracks you play don't just move people the way trance should do, but also sound fucking great at the same time! By looking at it this way, I can make sure that every track I play is aimed at giving the audience the best possible experience.
How did you first get involved with Armin’s Armada Music imprint?
If I remember correctly, it was back around July/August 2011. I had finished a track and sent it to Dash Berlin's sub-label of Armada - Aropa Records. I had a reply saying they liked the track but wanted some others for an EP. I actually sent them a further three! That was released the following February, however, just after those signings, I finished what I think was my first 'big' track called “Gundam”. I sent this to Armada, who loved it, and Armin actually featured it on his Universal Religion Chapter 5 CD which was released only a month or two later in September. This basically threw me into the limelight, and I continued to sign further tracks with Armada on their Soundpiercing sub-label, as well as doing remixes for Captivating Sounds and ARVS imprints.
What’s your favourite track you’ve produced for the label to date?
It has got to be my most recent uplifting trancer called 'Siren's Song'. I actually composed the chord progression and melody almost 2 years ago, and was it meant to be a vocal track at first. But, unfortunately I never got around to finishing it. After a few years I remembered about it one day and started to work with it. It turned out to be one of my favourites and one of the best tracks I've produced so far. Armin chose it for his A State Of Trance 2014 CD compilation, as well as being released on the renowned Who's Afraid Of 138 Recordings sub-label in May this year.
What software did you use for production here, any special tools or plug-ins?
Using the same old plug-ins and things that every producer does. Sylenth, Nexus, Zebra for synths, Fabfilter Pro-Q for EQ, Art Acoustics for reverb plus built in plug-ins of my DAW. A couple of special plugins I used were the Slate Digital Virtual Channel and Slate Digital Virtual Mix Bus. I bought these a while back and I use them within all my productions now. They replicate that analogue mixing desk sound, which gives a real warm feel to your mixes. Chuck these on your individual channels like kick, mid bass, sub bass and leads – or on your mix busses like your kick & bass bus, lead bus etc, and they really give you a nice overall sound and mix!
Was there much tweaking of the arrangement, before reaching this final version?
Actually, not particularly on this one. I always find that my best tracks are the ones that just seem to 'happen' with a lot less effort or tweaking. I always think that you know when you're onto a good track when within about 4 hours you have the majority of the sounds down. Of course, I've had that producer problem on other tracks where you're working 30+ hours and still adding/tweaking/mixing ideas. With “Siren's Song”, everything I put into the project just seemed to work with everything else!
Name one tune you will definitely be playing on Friday?
DJ Tiesto – Adagio for Strings (James Dymond Rework). I produced this especially for my debut last year at Ministry, and it went down an absolute bomb. I've played it at every gig since and people are always requesting me to play it. If they like it, don't see any reason to stop playing it now!
What do you most admire about Neelix, who joins you in the main room?
I'm a big fan of Neelix's productions. As a classically trained composer myself, I can relate to his experience within the film composition world. It's awesome that he incorporates so much of it into a genre you maybe wouldn't necessarily think it would fit. I've haven't seen him live before, so hopefully I'll get down a bit earlier and catch some of his set!
Apart from the club, where else do you like to visit when in London?
Well I actually live in London now! I only just moved here a few weeks ago. But, when in London I usually just like to go hang out with friends around Clapham Common, and of course, come to Ministry of Sound when I can.
Any upcoming projects or special gigs your fans should look out for?
Lots of new music to look forward to! My remix of Mark Sherry – “A Star Within A Star” is forthcoming on High Contrast Recordings at the end of July. My collaboration with Turkish producer Faruk Sabanci is coming out in August on Black Hole's In Trance We Trust imprint.
I’m also working on some new originals, as well as collabs with RAM and Harmonic Rush, and further there are collabs lined up with Tomas Heredia and Philippe El Sisi. The Harmonic Rush track I certainly will be playing out in my set, it's a big trance banger!!
Gig wise – the week before Ministry I'm playing for the 2nd time at the Luminosity Beach Festival in Holland. I had a fantastic time last year and the buzz for this year is just as big. Then I’m heading over to Germany in August to play at the huge Nature One festival in the Heaven’s Gate room with Alex MORPH, Woody van Eyden and Ben Nicky. Later on in the year will also be touring the USA and Australia.
Finally, use 3 words to describe your forthcoming set?
Uplifting, energetic, techy.
02 Jul 2014