First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Thanks for having me. Absolutely! My name is Dana James and I am a Highlander. *laughs* I live down in where Homer Simpson calls, “America's Wang” a.k.a. Florida. More definitively, in Central Florida. So, it's really a launching point to Tampa, Orlando, Daytona; an overall good place to be down here. How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
That's a complicated question. *laughs* I'd say Central Florida has its moments. Where I live specifically, there's been a vacuum of a music scene for many years that has only recently seen a resurgence . I believe, as many others here do, that it comes down to “old minds, old thinking”. The City has tried to block new venues from leasing property in the downtown area; however, a new live music venue called Mason's Live has emerged on the South-side of town and I'm seeing a surge in local acts and regional acts performing here in town again and there at Mason's because of this venue. David Fields and Barry, venue co-owners, are doing their very best to see that this town thrives again musically. They're beginning to pull national acts in as well. For example, their upcoming Puddle of Mudd event. It's been refreshing to say the least to see this resurgence of music locally.
I don't think the local scene necessarily influences my attitude or creativity in that the nature of my creativity in totality is very unorthodox and influenced more by my experiences, state of mind, the completely random and “Montgomery Scott” style of creating and engineering. (SEE ATTACHED GIF O EMAIL) The new K.P. Riot Brigade album in production now is definitely unorthodox.
Do you consider yourself to be part of a particular sound or scene? What is your thoughts on the nature of genres and styles, and do you have any particular ones which you find to your enjoyment more, listening and/or production-wise?
Yes, I consider myself a part of the overall music scene here in Central Florida. I support local acts and travel to Orlando and Tampa to show support as well. It's important to get out to the venues and support the scene. I read it all the time on social media where some complain that there isn't a scene; yet, I glance at venue calendars and see acts coming to their areas all the time. You have to get out and support your scene to maintain it and so that it can flourish. It's like a living organism; you have to feed, eat, and repeat.
When it comes to genres, I feel in recent times there is a lot of emphasis, regarding acts, to define themselves differently; moreover, to create their own specific genre. Again, another way to try to separate themselves from the standard flow, if you will. I tend to avoid being caught up in that.
I find myself listening more to film scores than anything else, so the “Soundtrack” genre is more to my liking. John Carpenter, Bear McCreary, Ben Lovett... these gentlemen dominate my playlist. With that said, so does Huey Lewis and The News. I grew up in Detroit so naturally I have a love for Motown and Motor City rock and roll as well.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes?
This kind of goes back to what I mentioned earlier, the nature of my creativity as a whole is very unorthodox and influenced by my experiences, state of mind, random neurological impulses and insane engineering. I think the universe pulls me in that direction; like gravity. Random quantum state. Mind/Body relationship perhaps with a twist of Decartes. There's a lot more beneath the surface musically of my compositions that's pretty cerebral; composition and engineering. Listening beyond the surface and thinking these are just run of the mill type of songs; there's a lot going on in them than standard instrumentation and song structure. A lot of engineering in the later part of the first K.P. Riot Brigade record saw experimentation with hemispheric shifting and mixing. There's a lot more of that on the sophomore album now. Right out of the gate there are some very interesting things going on in the compositions.
What would you say are your biggest influences when it comes to art and music? Are there any bands that you would say struck you with the chord that inspired you to peruse your current path of musical aspirations?
There are quite a few actually. First, I've always been a fan of cinematic compositions. I feel the new KPRB record really brings more of a cinematic twist. With that said: John Carpenter. He's a genius. Genesis and Phil Collins were a big influence on me when I was younger. As well as early Tears for Fears. I remember when the song 'Shout' came out, it was one of my favorite tunes. Genesis' 'That's All' was another favorite of mine. Of course several years later, Reznor's 'Pretty Hate Machine' was groundbreaking; that album had a lasting impact on me. I also respect the works of John Cage; as well as being heavily influenced by Musique Concrete. Prince. Bob Seger. Guns n' Ros