Ibiza Voice Podcast 553 :: Burnski
Success in dance music is often a long hard slog. For a prodigiously gifted minority of DJs out there however, it’s a rollercoaster ride from the off.
UK producer James Burnham was just 19 when he first played for Leeds institution Back To Basics, the club where he would later become a resident. Since then he’s released on some of dance music’s most popular labels under the name Burnski and in recent years, he launched his own vinyl imprint, Constant Sound, now one of Juno’s best selling underground labels and currently sporting a fresh EP from him entitled ‘Faith.’
While running a label might curb some producers output, the opposite is true for Burnham and his sound has split off into several aliases to compliment the music under his Burnski name. The freshest of these is Instinct, a garage inspired pseudonym that has been lighting up vinyl charts and is now on its second release. Another EP under the name James Infiltrate has just been released and with more aliases in the pipeline for later in the year, 2018 looks to be the year Burnham's music finds a whole new stride.
Ibiza Voice: How did you record your Ibiza Voice mix?
Burnski: I did the mix at home on my decks. I had just had a few test pressings of my new releases delivered so a lot of them made their way onto the mix.
Where do you get your music from?
I am on Juno, Decks and a few others pretty much every morning. It’s a daily ritual for me. An obsession. I do not check promos which I always feel bad about, but I tend to get more luck digging myself. I love spending hours on YouTube and Discogs. [There is] so much great older music out there.
Tell us about your record collection?
My record collection is a mixed bag. I’ve always collected a pretty wide variety of music since I started buying records. There’s a thread connecting it all in my head, but it’s across the board. Anything of quality usually resonates the most rather than a certain sound.
With all this music, under different names coming out, is it safe to assume you’ve been busy in the studio?
I had January off (from gigs) so I've been knuckling down finishing lots of new music for this year. I have more music than sense i think! I work round the clock in the studio so there’s a big archive of tracks and there’s a little bit of a of an onslaught coming this year.
You've gone from releasing music under one name, to having a number of aliases, can you talk us through each one?
I've a dabbled with a few aliases in the past but there's a few new things happening at the moment. I produce a really varied amount of stuff in the studio and a lot of it never comes out. The Instinct project started last year and has been doing well, there's a few more planned this year, Instinct 003 is out in March. It started out on a bit of a garage house tip but it's got a wider scope for where I want to take it. The Infiltrate project was just released this month too. The future releases are more on a electro tip and both labels have different flavours. I have a few other new things I'll be trickling out this year too.
You're an accomplished pianist, what was the driving force in you learning to play music?
I started playing at 16 and have kept it up since then. I go through phases of playing a lot then leaving it but I always come back to it. I’ve had lessons on and off for a few years at the start, and I picked them back up for a few years with a teacher in Berlin. There’s something really therapeutic about playing the piano. It’s a good way of switching off and just noodling around for an hour.
You've moved from releasing on digital labels in the early-mid 2010s to now focussing on vinyl focused labels such as your own Constant Sound. Is that an easy move to make and how hard is it to evolve as an artist these days?
I’ve always released on vinyl and digital as I think both platforms are important. The labels back then sold more digital I would say. That was just the sound I was exploring then, but at the moment I seem to be doing good numbers on vinyl and have a good support there. I think you just have to follow what gets you excited the most and go for it. If it works on both platforms, happy days. I guess each case is different, but if the music is good, sure you can release on either platform and do well. You just need to do whatever resonates with you the most, follow it through and go for it. There’s so much I want to explore musically, I feel like I have not [even] got going yet.
To follow Burnski on Facebook, click here.
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