In 2015, James was offered the job of Music Director & resident DJ at a new underground club that was about to open called in Bali, Indonesia. Koh opened it’s doors in March 2015 and James has been looking after the music and remained in Bali ever since. Fast Forward to 2019 he now plays the same role in Seminyak at Bali’s newest late night destination – Red Ruby. Furthermore his success has bloomed into taking out the 2018 #1 house music DJ position courtesy of Beat Magazine and granted control of the dance floor at high profile guest slots across the islands prolific venues including Ulu Cliffhouse, the Vault and Omnia to name a few.
You bring a stack of experience the decks with each set, a career spanning exactly how many decades?
Coming up on 20 years now. Started messing around on turntables in the late 90s started playing out in clubs around 2000.
Originally hailing from Sydney from the days of the funky break beats and party vibes that seem to of disappeared from DJ sets mostly nowadays. Tell us some more about the days gone by in Sydney that come to mind when thinking back over the good times passed by? What were some of your favourite events?
I was lucky enough to be part of the Breakbeat revolution that dominated the Sydney club see of the early 2000’s. What a ride that was! As DJs of this genre, we went from playing in tiny side rooms of clubs to being billed on the main stage of Sydney’s biggest festivals in the space of a couple of years. The early years of the Fuzzy events (field day, Parklife, Harbourlife) definitely stand out in particular.
How about some of the DJS back then that have since hung up the headphones that really inspired you to keep doing what your doing?
I remember being backstage at the first ever festival I played talking to LTJ Bukem . He clearly could see I was new to the whole environment and he couldn’t of been more encouraging and positive. Speaking to someone I admired about how much he still loves what he does and his praise for what I was doing was something I never forgot.
What about a couple of tunes that come to mind that shaped the sound that you are still currently playing as your sets always seem to stick out from the rest of the DJS around Bali while still remaining strictly house music for the purists but bringing the fun the dancefloor?
There’s a few classics that still get a run including:
Jaydee – Plastic Dreams,
Dubtribe Soundsystem – Do it Now.
Unkle – Reign
Your first vinyl record you purchased with your own money was?
Freestylers – B-Boy stance
You seen the technology come a very long way since you started out, what are you currently DJing with now days? What did you start of with? What were the mixers in the clubs? How about headphones?
– Currently DJ using USB’s
– My first home setup was 2 Technics 1200’s and a cheap 2nd hand Omnitronic mixer.
– DJ mixers in clubs when I started were either the Pioneer DJM500, The Vestax PMC (Hip Hop clubs) or the Allen n Heath zone 62 (House clubs)
Whats been the single biggest movement in DJ technology you have personally experienced?
I’d say the combination of the CDJ1000 and the onset of digital music. CDJ’s were around forever but never felt right, when Pioneer brought out the 1000, finally there was a digital option that mimicked what turntable DJing was like.
Only problem was no underground electronic music was being distributed digitally. The only music I played on CDJS for years was either Promos sent by record labels or tracks my friends had made and gave to me directly.
Then beatport happened… And the whole industry changed forever. Vinyl essentially became redundant. Why buy a piece of wax for $20AU when you can get the same track for $1 online?? This changed everything almost overnight
Where do you see the technology going to next?
The cloud DJ. Logging into your music catalogue from the DJ controller at the venue. Like vinyl and CDs before them, the USB is soon to be a thing of the past in DJ world.
One the subject of headphones why do you think they never been able to better a pair of trusty old HD25s?
For the most part I think DJs are creatures of habit and Seinheiser nailed it so long ago that there’s been no need to change. I’m sure there’s better out there, but unless I get to test them in various club situations, I’ll just stick to what I know. PS- Any Headphone companies wanna change my mind? Feel free to send me some free shit!
Back on home turf which is Bali now days you have seen the island take on some big growth in the past couple of years in the club industry – whats your view on it all since you have seen similar growth back at home? Are we in a healthy space right now in Bali with so many new clubs opening up? What do you think would be some smart moves right now amongst the industry for all our club owners and promoters reading right now?
Definitely a lot more going on now than when I first arrived in Bali 4 years ago. For the most part I think it’s a great thing but it will leave some casualties along the way. As they say, only the strong survive so we’ll let the people vote. Ideally more clubs means more variety and a better nightlife in general. It could also mean more of the same diluting the market and having a bunch of half empty venues.. Time will tell
How do you prepare and describe your sets between beach clubs and late night rave workouts in Bali?
A DJs eternal battle… Finding the perfect system to organize your tunes. 20 years in and I’m still not convinced I’ve got it right. I tend to make way too many playlists, grouping tracks together that evoke a certain feeling and would be right for a very particular moment. It’s the same process no matter what gig, only thing that changes is the music.
The sound has evolved in Bali in the past few summers what is the big sound for summer 2019?
The whole Afro / Shamanic House hybrid thing seems to still be the flavour of the month at the moment.
Your favourite club track right now is?
Marcus Kaden – Trust
If there is one track you could ban from all Bali sound systems right now it would be?
I’d put a total ban on bands doing Bob Marley covers around the Island
When your not DJing what do you try and do with your downtime in Bali?
Surf & beach time with my dogs
Since moving to Bali whats the one meal you have discovered since relocating here that you will always eat no matter where you might find yourself in the future?
Acai Bowl with granola, fruit and peanut butter.
Favourite Indonesian beer right now is?
Are there options? AS far as I know there’s only one indo beer..
Next up for James Taylor is?
Was thinking either Pro Surfer or inventing an app and selling it to Google for Billions, still deciding ☺