James Hurr Love Together Toolroom, 2021
Future Music|October 2021
Low-key industry titan James Hurr has a CV most producers would give up a limb for, including collaborations with the likes of Todd Terry, Mark Knight and Basement Jaxx, and remixes for Beyoncé, Nile Rogers and Kylie amongst others. We caught up with James to find out more about his love of dance music and how he creates his tracks.

What’s your approach to production?

“I was never really taught too much about production and mixing and all that, I’ve learnt in the practical world. One of my first jobs was working in a recording studio as a tea boy and I started making tons and tons of records for them. Learning for me has just been through trial and error. I’d say that’s probably my biggest asset, having had the luxury to make tons and tons of music. You eventually work out, after getting feedback from DJs, hearing tracks played out and on the radio, what works and doesn’t.

“Over years and years of being an engineer and ghost producer, I’ve learnt a lot from other producers. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented people who really know their stuff. So, I’ve learned a lot from doing, talking to people, and of course by watching things like Future Music tutorials!”

As a dance music guy, do you always start with beats?

“Yes, absolutely. I started DJing in a bar at quite a young age, and did that for quite a long time. So for me the groove section is first, it’s fundamental. I just wanted to make music that people could dance to. So unless that groove section was right, it wasn’t right as a song for me. I couldn’t listen to it, and didn’t want to put it out.”

Was house music your first love?

“Not really. I used to be an angry teenager, I was into a lot of heavy metal! I think it was when I found myself dancing in a field at like 3am one summer that I realised that actually I was really into hard house, trance and drum & bass. Harder dance music, as opposed to house. That sort of music was being played at the raves I was going to, warehouse parties. I used to go to Trade at Turnmills at the turn of the century, but it wasn’t until I went to Ibiza a few years later that I suddenly went house crazy. I went there thinking all I wanted to hear was hard house and hard dance music, but it completely blew my mind seeing a club of 10,000 people all going off to house music. It was a bit slower. It was a bit funkier. It was a bit groovier. It had vocals and funky bass lines, this was the era of funky house. It blew my mind and I came back a convert. So it was one week in Ibiza and I never looked back!”

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