With the release of his new album, Presence, right around the corner, the dark electronic producer answers our questions, and delivers a mix that flirts with IDM, drum and bass, and oddball pop music.

Name: James

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Current City / Place of Residence: Pittsburgh, PA

Obviously COVID has things on hold, but in general, do you feel like you’re part of a lively music scene in Pittsburgh? Are there other local artists you collaborate with, admire, or feel are cut from a similar cloth? Are there any record labels, record shops, or music venues that stand out to you as central to the community?
I originally lived in Pittsburgh from 2011-2013 while I was in grad school, working, and raising a child- so unfortunately I didn’t have much time to seek out other artists. I did listen to music by Johnny Jitters, but that was pretty much it. I become friends with the members of Tracksploitation, but I was never able to find the time to even suggest collaborating with them. I didn’t learn more about Pittsburgh artists until after I returned to Ohio.

Off the top of my head, I can tell you I love Spednar, {arsonist}, Nancy Drone, Machine Girl, Five Star Hotel, and so much more. The amount of talent in this city is really incredible. Unfortunately I moved back to Pittsburgh a week before the initial Covid lockdown, so I haven’t had the opportunity to really experience the scene yet. I have done some mixes for Cosmic Sound, a local promotion here run by Spednar/{arsonist}, and will do more in the future- but I am hoping to get more involved in other ways as things open up more.

Home away from home: There is no other city I have yet experienced that is quite like Tokyo. The first time I was there after graduating high school was overwhelming, but I instantly fell in love. If you like cyberpunk- go to Tokyo. After my first few trips I decided to study Japanese history and politics in college, and returned to Japan multiple times for research, school, and pleasure. Unfortunately during my last research trip in 2013, multiple events transpired that resulted in having to make unfortunate life changes and I haven’t been back since.

What have you been listening to this week? Sarah Davachi, Tiger Village, Holger Czukay, Ciel, Disparition, Danny Brown, DJ GIRL X DJ FLP, Spednar, Fire-Toolz, Machine Girl, Ilkae, Renick Bell.

How has Bandcamp helped you, especially during the pandemic? Should we boycott apps like Spotify and Apple Music?
Bandcamp has been the only legitimate income source for music for me. If it wasn’t for Bandcamp and my supporters who use the platform, I don’t know where I’d be right now. Bandcamp is a fucking lifesaver. I don’t like to judge people for their choice in platforms, but I do think it is key to stress the importance of purchasing a release if it’s available on Bandcamp, to offset the lack of revenue from major streaming platforms. To put it into perspective, I’ve been able to pay a big chunk of rent and bills with Bandcamp money just during Covid while I’ve only made around 15USD from streaming on Spotify and Apple since 2017.

Can you tell us a little about your new album, Presence? Presence was mostly recorded in Uniontown, OH before I moved back to Pittsburgh. It was during a weird time for multiple reasons, but I was involved in a serious car accident and recovering through physical therapy. I don’t think the albums themes are necessarily linked to the accident itself but I definitely was more consumed by thoughts of death than normal.

What’s new with Circle With a Dot, and the Isolation Mix Series? Is the imprint just for your own releases, or are you open to releasing other artists’ work? As of right now, the only plans with the Circle With A Dot imprint is the upcoming Presence release, and releases of future livestream recordings. We did host a livestream with many great artists shortly after the initial Covid lockdown, and I’d very much like to do one again soon. But I would say it is mostly just an imprint for myself. The URL was actually used for a Japanese music site I ran with friends many years ago (taking the name from the Boredoms track off Vision Creation Newsun). After I sort of rebooted my music identity online after ending Dystopiaq, I was getting ready to release Circumscribed in 2017 and needed a label name. “Circle With A Dot” just seemed to fit the concept of the album, plus it was available to me so I rolled with it and kept it.

Thanks!


Presence is out October 2. CD / tape is sold out on Incentive’s Bandcamp, but they are still available via Submarine Broadcasting Co.

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