Justin James Interviews with WaveDNA

Minus artist Justin James converses with us about his use of Liquid Rhythm, and how he creates his signature style of Techno and Minimal.

Maybe you enjoy living under a rock.  Perhaps you just decided to go live with the wolves and wrestle giant panda bears in the desert!  It could be that your friend who has their finger on the pulse of the NOW just decided you were not worthy of the info.   Whatever the reason if you have not heard of Justin James yet, we say TSK TSK TSK.

Now is your chance to redeem yourself.  Time to make your techno snobby friends proud to associate with you again.

Who are you and where are you from?  Labels?  Affiliations?

Justin James.  Sci+Tec but mainly Minus.  In the process of launching my own imprint “Refused”.

Do you remember your first introduction to music software?

My first introduction music software was a program called New Beat Trancemission.  I won it in some draw.  I had a lot of fun with it.  I even made some tracks on it that I played in the “Spinning” (Group Cycling) classes that I taught.

Often times users of music production software migrate through a few different programs until they settle down with one or more that speak to their personal needs and workflows, could you describe your journey through the DAW world?

My first true experience in the DAW world started with Ableton.  At that time I was simply utilizing it’s warping functions to create mashups of tracks.  Thankfully that simple activity opened the floodgates of the potential of ableton with regards to producing music.

Please describe your workflow with regards to your creative process.

My workflow is quite different all of the time.  I simply try to look for inspiration in either drum patterns, bass lines or lead elements.  Usually the drums come first then I start to put the elements in around the drums.  I’d said that my approach to writing music is a minimalist approach.  I try not to overwhelm the track with too many elements.  I simply want these few elements to fuse together and create something strong.

How do you use LIquid Rhythm in the studio or on stage?  Both?

I love liquid rhythm for writing drum patterns.  It’s functionality inside Ableton’s drum rack along with Ableton’s push is amazing.  Those devices together generate amazing patterns at the push (no pun intended, well maybe) of a button.  Suddenly some great percussive elements are all over your track.  Combinations that you never have thought about on your own.  I also love using Liquid Rhythm on pitch based instruments, especially my hardware synths.  I can get some really cool plucky, perky elements out of the midi notes generated.

What hardware controllers do you use with Liquid Rhythm?

Ableton Push

Describe the process of beginning a song?   Do you start with a drum rhythm or with a melody?

I like to start developing a track in ableton live’s session view.  Here I start looping various elements until I get to a point where I’m at the “middle” of the track.  Then I’ll jump over to arrangement view and take this loop and arrange it into a full track.

Mac or PC?


Creatively speaking, what kind of advice would you give to someone who is just starting out and looking to get into making electronic music?

#1-Understand the conventions of the “genre” you are trying to produce

#2-Find a way to have the track always modulating in some way to keep it interesting to the listener

#3-Don’t get stuck on one project trying to perfect it, move on to another, then revisit later to see if it’s worth continuing, you’ll get better with every project you start

#4-Find your own sound, don’t try to reproduce others

#5-Do it because you love it, and hopefully the success will follow

What do you want to see from music production software in the future?

I love where it’s at right now.  It blows my mind what can be done on a computer.  I’m hoping to see some more integration between hardware and software.

What projects are you currently involved with?

Tons of music waiting to be released as well as the launch of Refused in April.

Check out Justin James at:




Written by: Jason Spanu


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