So, the progressive wonder Steve James has once again decided to go the Indie route and we are all the better for it. Pulling down a fun little tune called Karaoke by Smallpools, he puts his signature, yet evolving style on it. The infectious beat combines with some excellent re-working of the vocals to make this just as anthemic as we need right now in gray January. Apparently this tune was started in my city, so you know it’s got a bright future. I’m gonna keep saying it. This is what you’d expect to hear halfway between the indie & dance stages at Governor’s Ball. Like, if you stood in the exact right spot. The break at 3:40 is everything that post-big-room can be. Can’t wait for people to complain of how tired they are of this sound. (via the always on point Michelle Chu of EDMTunes)
So, it’s officially not a fluke. I think I’m just going to start calling Keeno, Elephante, Just A Gent & Steve James Young Justice. There’s a competence that’s only going to get better with age here, and when I was 17, I thought I was a bad ass because I knew what Napster was. His most recent remix is a main room euphoric anthem remix of Wolf Gang’s “Lay Your Love Down.” Which, frankly, is a great direction. The decision to head into indie records is HUGE, for anyone out there reading this, DO THAT. Stop trying to remix Lorde or Radiohead, or Ellie Goulding, as someone named diplo or Calvin Harris has done it first and better. The branching into an indie track not only gives him a unique opportunity to drop banger shit on something that hasn’t had banger shit on it already. That technical description is a glib attempt to remind you that, really, after Kaskade’s remix of Young & Beautiful, a lot of people forgot what the original sounded like. Same with Armand Van Helden when he created the global remix by reworking Professional Widow by Tori Amos. To that end, it’s executed flawlessly. It goes to the right progressive places and doesn’t really dawdle about it. Check your man out on Soundcloud & Twitter and bomp as needed.
Ah, August, the kids are going back to school. And in this case, also making awesome progressive remixes of a hot Cazzette track. Not exactly the standard story you expect when someone tells you about their Summer vacation. The shimmering chopped up beat is playful and shows that Steve James isn’t slacking. There’s a chic vibe to the tune but it still pushes into the anthemic territory and rides around up there. The track is easy to like and I’d be surprised if I didn’t hear this in the sets chasing the summer sunset. The original Cazzette mix is potent and this gives it even more festival recognition and viability. I’m hoping this results in greater exposure for both Steve James and Cazzette. There’s a lot to like about this progression in sound and I for one am delighted it’s happening. Big Room is dead, long live Progressive.
If I’ve not made myself clear in the past, I’m a huge fan of the up & coming talent here on the blerg. And Steve James, the upstart from outside Pittsburgh, is definitely at the bleeding edge of that new wave of talent. The kid has pushed out one euphoric remix after another, and this new one is no exception. Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne put together a winner of a track in “Rather Be” and the rework by Steve James is exactly what the last few weeks of festival season need. If you’re in Pittsburgh, check out him out opening for The Chainsmokers Motivational Mondays continue with this potent, positive & progressive track that is a must listen if you’re into that end of the house universe.
(I was really lucky to be given this opportunity. The DJs are getting younger and younger, with the talent continuing to skyrocket. A friend hooked me up with this shooting star coming out of PA. A progressive gem, this kid has tunes that are going to find ways into your ears at festivals soon enough. Just like Seven Lions, you heard it here first. Check out my conversation with Steve James below.)
1. What are your friends listening to these days? What is it like being a DJ in high school?
Haha, starting off strong! It’s definitely an interesting dynamic, that’s for sure. My area is fairly dominated by top 40 music, plus some country and hip hop. My friends are well aware of what I do, and a lot of them have grown to appreciate EDM – and have been super supportive – but in the end I don’t think too many are listening to much dance music outside of Steve James, truthfully. Being a DJ in high school has certainly been interesting though. I actually DJ’d my high school’s homecoming dance before I was old enough to attend. I did last year’s as well (with my homemade booth!), and the seniors loved it, but most of the underclassman didn’t appreciate all the EDM. I actually was unanimously voted out of this coming years, haha! No requests + no country + no hip hop will do that for you around here, I suppose.
2. What kind of music theory & piano training have you had? Are you planning on studying music/production after you graduate High School?
My musical background is primarily in piano. I’ve taken lessons for as long as I can remember from a close family friend. I still see him often, and even though he’s 100% classically trained, he’s grown to enjoy a lot of the stuff I show him – especially music by artists like Zedd, who use such complex writing. He’s even helped me several times by rounding out a chord progression or livening up something with some more suspensions or accidentals. I dabbled in viola for 4 years as well, but I feel like almost everything I draw from was part of my classical piano training. As for my plans with school, that’s something I’m not really concerned with yet. I started school late, so I’m a 16-year-old going into sophomore year of high school – the oldest of 120-some kids in my class. I’ll be 18 before I finish junior year. With the résumé I’m building and keeping my grades up, I know there will be options, but in a perfect world I won’t need further education if I keep working hard the next 2-3 years.
I’ve kept seeing this guy on my radar, and this latest track proves that the Force is strong with him. With the slow death of Big Room House finally upon us, the melodic, progressive end of the House spectrum is on the rise. The festival sets are already starting to reflect this trend, and I bet Animals has been played 1/20th of the times it was played by this time last Summer. The remix is slick with some excellent progressive & positive anthemic vibes. Monday is over, you made it, relax and gear up, the week’s gonna be awesome. Steve James is someone to watch, you heard it here first. He’s 16 but he’s going to do some great things, just you watch.