Those of you that made it out to The Opus Blog Presents party this last Friday, probably got a chance to see L.A based tropical house/nu disco producer and DJ Branded James play a live set. He is a rising star of the dance music scene. James grew up in the 80′s where he gained an appreciation for synth infused melodies. That same passion for perfect melodies brought him to the nu disco/ house realm where he found his niche and hit the ground running with beautiful remixes. He recently put out a debut single titled “Promises of Paradise” that provides irresistible tropical nu disco sound waves along with his heart warming vocals. He is quickly becoming one of our favorite new artists and is definitely gaining a spot on our ones-to-watch list. We also got a chance to interview him and find out a little more about this up-and-coming talent! Read it below!
OL: Introduce yourself. Who are you?
BJ: Hi, I’m Branded James. I produce, remix, and DJ music in the house, indie dance, and nu disco genres. I’m from the California Bay Area and moved to Los Angeles last year to pursue my love of Melrose Place and bumper to bumper traffic.
OL: What is the story behind the band name?
BJ: The name Branded James came from the sheer difficulty of enunciating my real name, Brandon James. When you say Brandon fast it kind of sounds like Branded. It seemed interesting and I decided not to overthink it. A friend of mine later told me he went to school with a kid named James who had been branded by a cattle prod. Everyone called him Branded James growing up. Luckily for me that poor bastard doesn’t produce music too.
OL: Who are your inﬂuences? What inspired you to write music in your genre?
BJ: I’m influenced and inspired by so much these days. Australia seems to be overflowing with talented producers. I pretty much love everything Cassian, Gloves, Plastic Plates, ’96 Bulls and Isaac Tichauer put out. The new Bag Raiders album should be great. I’m also really influenced by local LA cats like Classixx and Oliver. I think it was skateboarder Ed Templeton who said in an interview that he tries to be his own inspiration, which I think is a great approach.
OL: What is your writing process like?
BJ: The process varies depending on the project. When I’m doing a remix, I usually start playing bass lines or chord progressions over the acapella. Its always an exciting moment when a creative flip comes to fruition and you essentially have a whole new song in front of you. With originals tracks, however, the whole process is reversed. I almost always start with the music and need a rather fully realized song structure before I get the inspiration and vision for the vocals. As I’m sure many artists will tell you, there’s a lot more pressure when you release an original production because you don’t have anyone else to hide behind. The vocal, the lyrics, and the music is all on you, but when it comes together nicely it’s that much more rewarding.
OL: Who would you like to share the stage with?
BJ: It would be cool to do a show with Skream, his eclectic musical tastes would make for an awesome and unpredictable show. Fred Falke would be amazing. There’s too many to mention really.
OL: What is your favorite remix of your music?
BJ: I really love them all, but my favorite would probably be Jason Kid’s remix of Promises of Paradise. He has such a cool style and he really took my vocal to a whole different place. It’s a magical moment when you hear your song through someone else’s ears.
OL: What has been your most memorable live performance?
BJ: My most memorable gig so far was probably new years 2012. I DJ’ed this party in San Francisco from 9pm to 4am, a real marathon set! People were dancing like maniacs, my friends were delivering me gin and tonics three at a time, and some guy gave me $50 to play NAS’ “If I Ruled the World”.
OL: Any upcoming collaborations/anyone in particular that you would like to collaborate with?
BJ: I currently have tunes in the works with Boys Get hurt, Vinjette, and Loose Socks. Been talking with my buddies G Templeton and One Five about working together too.
OL: What are your plans for the next six months? What can we expect from you?
BJ: I have a batch of original tunes that I’m hoping to get wrapped up soon. More remixes for sure. More Dj sets.
OL: What are you currently listening to?
BJ: I’m really digging Tiger & Woods right now, they are masters of the groove. The influx of pitched down 90’s R&B vocal samples still excites me when it’s done well, but I’m curious to hear where house music is headed next.