Getting his start in music production in 2012, James Stone’s sound has evolved over the years to incorporate a variety of musical influences. With a focus on melodic elements & emotive vocal toplines, James’ music has a unique ability to connect with listeners.
Debuting as a live performer on the mainstage at the 2015 Australian YourShot competition, James has since gone on to play at venues & shows in his local hometown of Melbourne.
2017 saw the release of his first EP Lucid, with his track Broken getting debuted on Dordekels LineOut Radio Show. His follow up single Up was premiered on Royal Music which has since garnered over 140k plays. With a second single imminent for release this year, the future is looking bright for this Australian artist.
Born and bred in Melbourne, Australia, this Aussie dreams of being able to travel with his music. But in the meantime, he tells us how music festivals inspired him to become a producer and why he’s not really a fan of hardware synths.
Tell us about your musical journey – how did you get into production?
I’ve always been a music fan since I was a kid. Coming into my teenage years electronic dance music seemed to be this new sound to me which was different from the rock music of the 90’s I had heard as a kid. After I turned 18 and went to a few festivals I was hooked. I took a course in Ableton when I was 22 and haven’t looked back.
What’s your major career goal?
I have always said I would love to play at a local electronic music festival here in Australia on a main stage. It would be a great feeling to have the local support behind your music.
What are your upcoming releases?
I have 2 songs currently in the process of being released. A second track featuring Shel Bee who I found on the Vocalizr site & another summery house song with a female vocalist also found through Vocalizr.
Tell us about your setup – from your studio to your DAW. What’s your favorite piece of gear?
I have tried to implement hardware synths in the past but I’ve always found it affected my work flow detrimentally. I would get stuck playing with sounds for hours and not progress into a song structure at all. I have used Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 synth on a few songs, however lately I am mainly using software synths (Massive, Serum & Sylenth1).
Tell us about your production process. Do you have a particular formula you keep to?
Usually I’ll have the inspiration to make a track after listening to something I’ve really enjoyed which lets me set a tempo for the track and know where I want to go with it. In saying that, I have re-made complete tracks after receiving vocals if I felt it didn’t quite work or could have been better.
Lately I’ll lay down chords first then start building drums around the chords & put a structure together. After that it’s filling in the pieces like a puzzle really.
What’s your biggest success to date?
Last month I had my first YouTube premier on Royal Music for my single Up featuring Shel Bee. This received a lot of positive feedback and more plays than any of my previous work which was really a motivating moment for me. After a few years of lots of work and low exposure you can become disenchanted so this was a special milestone for me.
Out of all the records you’ve made, what’s your favorite and why?
I’d have to say my last single Up. After I finished the song I couldn’t stop listening to it and I had great feedback from people who I played it to. The lyrics and style resonated with me which I think helps me push the song to make it is good as possible.
Who would you most like to work with, and why?
I’d love to team up with a few local producers for a collaboration and see what happens with the different styles we have. What So Not, Just A Gent & Flume are all great producers who I look up to. On the international front, I’d have to say Illenium, hands down. His music really blows me away.
Vocally I’d love to team up with Rozes & Joni Fatora. They have a dream like quality to their voices which I can’t get enough of.
Which artists do you find inspiring? Why?
I draw inspiration from a lot of different producers, it’s hard to choose, but if I had to name a few: Illenium, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Porter Robinson, The Chainsmokers.
Who is your favorite producer? Why?
Illenium. When I first heard his work, it seemed to really stick out for me as something refreshing and different from the other producers who were in the limelight.
What are your top 5 favorite records of all time?
Worlds Apart by Seven Lions
Strobe by Deadmouse
Afterlife by Illenium
Sunset Lover by Petit Biscuit
High You Are by What So Not
What’s your guilty pleasure song?
Hahaha! I’d have to say Avicii’s Levels. It was so overplayed but when it comes on you can’t deny it’s catchy!
What do you look for in a singer?
I seem to always gravitate to the more indie sounding singers who have higher pitched vocals with a smooth style. It’s hard to describe exactly but when it comes to selecting a vocalist for a track, I know it when I hear it.
Have you made new connections through Vocalizr? Has it opened any doors for you?
I’ve made heaps of connections through Vocalizr, singers & songwriters who you’d believe are out of reach suddenly get a chance to hear your work & collaborate with you. It’s been a great platform for producers all over the world.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are 3 things you couldn’t live without?
- A Towel to soak up the rays
- Sunscreen so I don’t get burnt
- My mac so I can make some music while I wait for the rescue party to arrive!