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James Holden- I'm Not Particularly God-like

Author: Jonty Adderley
Sunday, November 25, 2001
"After you start meeting more famous people, your perception changes. People treat them like Gods, but when you have press coverage about yourself you begin understanding the process more." So says 22 year old rising trance producer James Holden, one of Britain's most hyped new contenders of the last 12 months.

When he last chatted to Skrufff's Jonty Adderley, James has just signed to Sony's dance imprint Incredible though was also still finishing a course at Oxford University. 1 year later, he's working on his debut album for Sony, he's the in house producer for West London based trance label Silver Planet and he maintains a biweekly residency at Passion, which took him to Ibiza 6 times this season. Coming a long way fast, he nevertheless remains unusually down-to-Earth.

"It disturbs me, to be honest, when people think you are better or somehow superior just because you wrote a tune or can play records," he says. "I'm still a person. I find the whole DJ worship thing quite freaky. It's the music that really matters."

Skrufff: All the tracks on your latest compilation are from Silver Planet, how did that affect you're approach to mixing it-

James Holden: "It was Silver Planet's idea to do the album and they wanted to stake their claim to the sound they've developed in recent years. They asked me to do it, so I picked out my favourite tracks and made special edits of them. The label has its own particular sound and direction and I wanted to capture that."

Skrufff: On the CD artwork, you've demonstrated where the tracks are mixed together, which is something Richie Hawtin did on his Decks & Effects compilation, are the images on your CD accurate representations-

James Holden: "Yeah, that image is pasted directly from the computer- I took screen shots from the software. There are bits where I've added repeated sections which you couldn't tell from that image. I could have banged it out on the decks and made it like any other CD but I thought 'Fuck it, it's not worth paying £15 (US$22) for a CD that your mate could 'knock out' (do)."

Skrufff: Do you follow the "my set's a journey" school of DJing-

James Holden: (chuckling) "I read an interview with Jimmy van M recently and he described his sets as being a psychotropic journey and that just made me laugh. I wouldn't call my CD a journey, though it does have some structure- I wouldn't want to sound like Jimmy van M though."

Skrufff: Silver Planet refer to you as their "Golden Boy" on their website and you do seem to have had a charmed career to date, how much has your life changed over the last year-

James Holden: "It's not hugely different though I finished college 18 months ago and now spend all my time doing music. It's become a little hectic but apart from that I'm not living in a huge marble palace."

Skrufff: Do you find more and more strangers recognising you-

James Holden: "A little, it happened when we went out last weekend and it really ruins your night, because I'm not a confident outgoing person and it's a really weird situation when people say 'are you..- then your name. We went to the End, I walked in and stood at the bar and heard a voice behind me saying "That's James Holden". I thought 'Christ' ands spent the rest of the night not quite relaxing. You feel like you're in a zoo."

Skrufff: You recently slammed the term "progressive"; what does it mean to you-

James Holden: "The whole scene to me seems to have gone wrong, people are too concerned with thinking that they're deep and cool when in fact a boring record isn't implicitly better than an interesting record. But people seem to have reached that conclusion - if it's deep it's better. Prog DJs are very big because they've got a big name and they can play what they like. I've seen it before, when a big name DJ plays a far worse set than the previous DJ but people love it because it's the name. It's the emperor's new clothes and it can only last for so long with people sitt