Introducing the second instalment from our Frequent Players Guest Mix series, we welcome Dance System.
Hailing from London, James Connolly has moulded himself into one of the most recognisable faces in electronic and dance music. Working under different aliases such as L-Vis 1990 and Dance System, as well as co-founding the label Night Slugs, James has managed to re-shape the British club scene during their 10 years into what we know it today.
In an attempt to breath a new sense of life into the electronic/techno scene, Dance System was revived bringing with it a new sound, and seeking out new inspirations. James looked towards influences from Dance Mania and to Chicago, taking dance music back to its very core.
Before he took to the decks, we sat down with James to discuss where he gets his inspirations from and where he’ll be taking Dance System too next!
Alongside our latest guest mix for Frequent Players, James has been busy creating a remix of A-Trak ‘Work it Out’. Make sure to check it here!
Footpatrol – Taking you away from music for a moment, could you give us an insight into where you find inspiration when trying to create new music?
Dance System – Early summer last year I felt kind of lost as an artist and a bit disillusioned with the scene I was in. It’s weird when you have been in the game so long and you see the cycles of music come around over and over again. I didn’t really want to be part of that UK club music conveyor anymore and I was really uninspired. One morning I decided to pop into a record shop in my neighbourhood in Tottenham, the place only sold Dancehall and UK Street Soul & RnB. I took a punt on couple of records and found some diamonds.. Tracks on those records became the samples for the return of Dance System. Now whenever I need inspiration for new tracks I just have to go digging for records. I find inspiration and can build tracks around the smallest of loops.
FP – Where did the idea come from to move to another alias and create away from L-Vis 1990/Night Slugs?
DS – Dance System alias was born in 2014 with a release on Clone Jack For Daze series, This was a year after my Ballads EP on Night Slugs. I had always done house music as L-Vis but I felt the direction I was moving in was bit more abstract, so I wanted to make a definition between these two musical sides of me. It makes even more sense now that I moved more into vocal productions with L-Vis. House music has been my number one love since I first Started DJing in ‘98 so felt right to make an alias more specific. Funny thing, the name Dance System came to me in a dream! I was so shocked when I looked on Discogs in the morning and it hadn’t been taken… seems so obvious!
FP – We see you have a few fashion orientated clients like Prada, Nike and Opening Ceremony under your belt, can you tell us how these partnerships came about?
DS – A friend of mine put me in contact with this director Thomas Traum, he was looking for some composition and sound design for a job he was doing for Kenzo. I had never done anything like that, but I like to throw my-self into these things to push myself. I never knew how intense thirty seconds of sound design could be, but I actually really loved the process of finding the sounds to fit the images. I come from a Fine Art and Video back ground so it came quite naturally to me. Thomas Traum and I built a great working relationship over the next year working on massive campaigns for the likes of Prada, Nike, OnRunning, Cartier and from that I started picking up other clients including North Face and even KFC! They say ‘its all about who you know’ and it’s true. All of my connects in the industry have come through knowing people.
FP – Do you find there to be a big connection between fashion and music?
DS – Yeah of course! The connection is massive on so many different levels down to what people wear in the club to the music on the runways of the shows. I think the two-go hand in hand, constantly influencing and enhancing each other. I’ve made runway music for Opening Ceremony and Nasir Mazah, I love working with fashion as inspiration for music, it’s really fun to imagine the worlds these clothes live in.
FP – Is there any other type of media that you would love to have the opportunity in creating music for?
DS – I’d love to score a feature film or TV show at some point. A couple of years ago I wrote a theme for a Documentary about the plight of some Syrian refugees called ‘Diamonds Backpacks and a Match Box’. Was incredible to see how my music could elevate and emphasise the emotions within the film, would love to explore that more with some Fiction.
FP – We couldn’t not squeeze in the obligatory sneaker question in here somewhere… What is your go to when it comes to what is on your feet?
DS – At the moment I’ve been living in my all black Nike Air Monarch’s, they are so durable and comfortable and go with any outfit. I go through phases with sneakers. I basically wear one style until I’m bored and move on to the next. My last obsession was Footscape Chuckers, I bought two pairs of the rainbow ones when they came out because I loved them so much!
FP – Lastly, any shout outs, and what can the people expect from Dance System in the near future?
DS – Loads of stuff still to come this year from Dance System. My new remix for A-Track drops today then in October my third EP of the year drops on Mella Dee’s Label Warehouse Music. I also have a remix for Nina Kraviz in the works and bunch more releases bubbling. I’ll be pushing the Dance System project solidly over the next year and eventually drop the album when the time is right.