Tuesday, January 22, 2008

FOR THE LOVE OF HOUSE: Bradford James & Seed in the City

Bradford James has been one of the defining figures on Boston's underground soulful house music scene along with other major players, such as DJ Bruno, Bob Diesel, Cruzz, KC Hallett, and Soul Revival's Adam Gibbons. With partners, Deknology and Oveous Maximus, he has founded SEED (Soul Enters Every Dancer) Recordings which released a number of gems in the past years. As a performer, he has Dj'ed parties all over New England, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, Amsterdam, Phoenix AZ, and Detroit. In the past he has played parties with Master Kev (Defected/NYC), Lars Behrenroth (XM Radio LA), Andy Ward (Defected, UK), Glen Underground (Chicago), Mike "Agent X" Clark (Detroit), Rudy C (LA), Jesse Outlaw (LA), Hali Toronto), Uzi (Montreal), Ray Bones (Detroit), Joe Dipadova (Phoenix, AZ), Lola & E-MAN (NYC), Dj Bruno (Boston), Louis Benedetti (NJ), Joey Mazza (NJ), MSG (NYC), Joeski & Onionz (NYC), Alix Alvarez (NYC), Santos (Phoenix), Michelle Weeks (NJ), KT Brooks (NJ), Dawn Tallman (NJ), Unified Spirits (NJ) to name a few. Bradford's creative drive never ceases to inspire me. When he is not recording, or spinning at his monthly Seed in the City event, he is busy bringing you the freshest soulful house tunes on a number of different internet radio stations (for a schedule, check his website). What's evident to me is that his seemingly bottomless source of creativity and musical talent will take him to places he's aiming to be at. If you plant the seed of a dream with the right attitude and commitment, it can grow into anything you want it to be...a record label, nightly events, a community...you ask.

L: I always like to ask about my artists' friends creative journey. What were the most influential early childhood musical memories? Tell me a little about what got you into music?

BJ: My mother was the lead singer for a Disco Cover Band. She was very instrumental in my early experiences with music I remember times when I would "act" like her, since she also played the guitar. I would say I was like 6 years old at that point, I never learned how to play the guitar but loved music in general. It later gave me the inspiration to play bells in the church orchestra, then later on playing the clarinet thru jr high school...from there, that's where my major influences in HIP HOP culture really manifested.

L: Who were your early musical influences?

BJ: Well I would have to say the influences I had growing up to guide me into the person I am today would definitly be the Beatles, Africa Bambatta, Sugarhill Gang, Stevie Wonder, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Chaka Khan, UTFO, Run DMC, LL Cool J.... I grew up listening to HIP HOP on college radio stations during the early to late 80's so the list could go on and on...

L: You've been working as a DJ for a while now and you've been running the SEED IN THE CITY nights in Boston. What are the pros and the cons of trying to make a living as a DJ?

BJ: This is a good question... Running a night in general is very difficult; there are not alot of opportunities left in Boston which in the 90's had a thriving dance culture/scene. This is mainly because the club owners decide to go mainstream and do what is "safe" and predictable looking at it as a numbers game. When every venue decides to do the same thing (Mind Control) it pushes out the culture and forces people to do either illegal or offnight events. This hurts DJ culture in general, especially when more and more people have become dj's in the past 10 years. This in result has spawned the mp3 business which has been detrimental to the record industry, and community that supports this culture. When I was growing up your local record stores and clubs was the place where you got the culture, the music, especially the inspiration to play music you never heard before. That does not exist anymore in the United States and other parts of the world. Its like taking the diversity which I call the "urban factor" that all corporations are banking on out of the urban markets in a major city like Boston. As far as making a living at it, its possible to do so but your gonna end up playing "status quo" music.
The best thing about playing parties like Seed In The City, being a free party it gives you the opportunity to reconnect with your community in order to build a larger and stronger one. Kind of like going full circle to the early years of Hip Hop when nobody wanted the music played but the people who listened to it. It's very underground these days to say the least. But the feeling of joy people receive is worth it all. Shout out to the Goodlife for letting us keep our vision strong 1 year and running.

L: You also run a record label, right? Where can one find your releases?

BJ: Since almost all of the Vinyl Distributors in Dance Music have gone out of business we currently sell our music on our website seedrecordings.com, and many other digital download sites like iTunes, Traxsource.com, Clickgroove.com, Dancerecords.com, Beatsdigital.com for more information check out our site.

L: I heard one of your tracks is coming out on Osunlade's new album on BBE Records. Are there any other collaboration or new projects we should be watching out for?

BJ: Yes, I am very pleased to announce I am executive producer on a project with HBO Def Poet Oveous Maximus and the very talented Boddhi Satva out of the Central Republic of Africa entitled "I Apologize" which is due to be released on Osunlade's new Yoruba Album sometime after the WMC2008. I also have other collaborations one called "HEAVY" which I produced with Tyrone Mixologist Francis out of NYC coming out in 2008 on Trippin Records, UK, another called "Seed Allstarz - The Sniper" with the multi-talented Quentin Harris on Underground Garage Hits label in London that is in stores now. I have alot of remix work as well coming out on NY Soul, Offering Recordings, Shack Music as well as on Seed, so stay on the lookout.

L : From where do you channel your creative energy? What makes the juices flowing?

BJ: My juices flow from interacting with other creative minds whether it be in the club or in the studio. I've learned that everything has been done before from Mozart to Stevie Wonder, classical to jazz; musical frequencies have all been explored thru the technology of yesterday and today. As a producer, I channel my energy thru my natural feelings of past and present experiences when I hear something inspirational. Meditation, Green Tea and alittle scenery never hurts either.

L: What book are you reading these days?

BJ: The book that has my fullest attention is a book recommended by Ron Trent from Prescription Records Fame out of Chicago called "The Music of Time by Preston Nichols". Its about how "electromagnetic energy" (which is what sound waves are technically) has been used for positive and negative uses thru government and mind control. If your looking to explore sound in a different light... the information in this book will shock you.

L: What would be your bucket list [thing you'd like to do before you kick the bucket:]?

BJ: Besides world domination? (joke). I am a very simple person, I feel blessed to have what I have today. Whatever synchronosity has in store for me to achieve success thru positive energy, I welcome it with all of my heart and soul.

Check out the next SEED IN THE CITY event on Friday, February 8th with special guest DJ, Miguel Ortiz (Shanti, NYC///Boston After Hours) at the Goodlife. (note the change of date!!)

1 comment:

bradfordjames said...

You Rock L!! ;)