How do you address an artist with four producer names on the go? By his name of course! In this case it’s James ‘Jimmy’ Copeland, one of Cape Town’s most gifted producers and performers. From his earliest tracks back in time… 2002 if memory serves me correctly, Jimmy has had an intangible knack for writing dancefloor bombs. Recently, and to much excitement from this here writer, he has embarked on his latest adventure into the world of progressive psytrance, something he likes to call ‘Sad Paradise.’
Next weekend – Saturday June 1st – Sad Paradise debuts at Mulitverz’s inaugural event – Sacred Technology. As I was lucky enough to drop some of his brand new progressive spankers before the end of the outdoor season, I caught up with Jimmy on Skype for a little ta-ta-ta about his new project.
So first Broken Toy, then Nesono… then James Copeland Music – which was perhaps the biggest departure for you…. and finally your latest reincarnation – Sad Paradise which almost feels like you’ve come full circle….
Indeed now that you mention it…
Do you feel challenged again? … Taking all your skills and your obvious knowledge of how to rock a dancefloor and re-introducing this into a new variant of the psytrance genre?
Well, the biggest challenge for me in this is to prove to myself that after over 10 years of making psy I’m still relevant to the scene. Technically it’s as much a challenge as anything as I’m trying to develop a new production sound as well and push the boundaries, so yes. New challenges all round.
If I think of Broken Toy, the word groove always comes to mind. It’s said that if one slows the tempo down a bit the groove gets phatter, mainly ‘cos one can put a bit more bottom end into the production. After 10 years of full on psy, what has been the biggest difference and/or challenge you’ve encountered with your new progressive project?
Well, I’d say that for somebody who likes basslines and variety as much as I do, I was starting to feel a bit tapped out on options making full on psy. I slowed the IDM way down on the James Copeland stuff and spent ages experimenting with that. This psy prog tempo is slap bang in the middle of the two tempos and I feel I’m ready for it now and all the new options this brings. Technically speaking, the challenge has been to go for a very punchy and in your face bass sound rather than anything subby or too filtered – Hard hitting in your face bass! It hasn’t been easy to crack the sound. I`m still getting there.
Of course it’s an endorsement of your pedigree and reputation as a producer that you’ve managed to remix the likes of Perfect Stranger, Phaxe, D-Addiction and Flowjob- without having a genuine résumé of prog beats – have you found this helpful?
With no disrespect to full on, internationally it’s waned in popularity hugely and I’ve kinda been dragging my heels with it for quite some time. It’s not like I don’t have contacts in the industry, it’s just that I didn’t have a “product” they could use. As soon as I came up with something that was useful to them, the doors that were always there were open.
And then it doesn’t hurt to get given expert advice and help from Perfect Stranger who pretty much guided me through making a great remix for his tracks to get the initial contact with Iboga [records] going.
So… Much respect! And gratitude to the guru/sensei that is Yuli – [Perfect Stranger will be playing at the 2nd Multiverz event on Friday 28 June.]
Nice. You also mentioned to me once before that you’re focusing on making your tunes more DJ friendly… I for one can vouch that they ARE very DJ friendly. Gandalf can too. I witnessed the response from the dancefloor when he dropped a couple at Love Project. I’ve always thought the BT stuff was pretty gnarly fodder for DJs to drop…. Care to elaborate…
When I started off in the early days of Broken Toy, I was coming from a background in other forms of music and the psy scene at the time itself was very much more freestyle. Back then there was a more unique storyline to each track and hardly any builds, breaks and drops in the way we understand it now. I was never too concerned about tracks being dj friendly then, but as time went by I kinda realised you either want your tracks to be played at parties or not! The easier you make it for djs, the more likely they`ll get played. I definitely want more people to play my music now. The trick is to still do what I want with the tracks without making it impossible to play. I`m still a bit too addicted to long complicated intros to songs though!
Sad Paradise. An artist name is not easy to come by and I know you deliberated for some time. Notwithstanding the music speaking for itself, what are you hoping people will conjure up when they think of your new producer name?
Well, I think its kinda risky throwing the word “sad” in a name meant to be used in a scene based on euphoric feelings, but I’m attracted to these kind of dichotomies – these juxtaposed opposites. The inspiration when starting this project was abandoned theme parks – the weird feeling created by places that are supposed to be joyous now forgotten. I`ve sort of elaborated this theme to almost symbolise the fact that the world we live in is in itself a sad paradise – It’s well within our means to turn this earth into heaven if we choose to, but we don’t . Doesn’t mean it’s not paradise though.
Just a little sad…
Okay, well on that note let’s have a little fun… 1,2,3 go…
What’s your all-time guilty listening pleasure?
Oh geez – too many to even mention. I`d say I get way too much of a kick out of oldskool A-ha, but lately I’ve been going through a bit of a Tori Amos phase again. Pretty embarrassing stuff I guess? I’m a nostalgia fiend when it comes to tunes… and a kid of the 80s.
The song you’d play before you die?
Something long to prolong the inevitable? Ha-ha well then let’s say I’d prefer some peace and quiet for a change when I die…
Last piece of gear you bought?
I replaced a road-battered Korg Nanocontrol. My gear gets worked hard.
Which is cooler, the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’, 00’s, right now?
The 70’s! I watched Saturday night fever for the first time last week and you can’t top that shit
What can you do really well in less than 5 minutes?
Puree something nice and fresh from scratch for my baby boy when he is hungry and screaming at me.
If you weren’t making music for a living, you’d probably be a….
Baker or a brewer – something to do with yeast.
Thankfully the baking and brewing Jimmy does is all in the studio and this new project, Sad Paradise, could just be his best concoction to date.
Have a listen to his killer rendition of D-Addiction’s Bass Monkey below…
Photos by: Emelen Photography
Don’t forget to catch the debut live set by Sad Paradise on 1 June @ Trinity. Link details below.
Sad Paradise Details