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In all honesty, I've been friends with Xkape for the past year or so, but I don't think we've ever discussed anything this deep before. Buckle up. This guy knows how to throw down.
LET'S GET INTO IT.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Colorado native and Riddim/Dubstep producer, James Pope AKA Xkape. James, a current student at the University of Colorado Denver, opened up about his musical background and gave insight on what he has in store for the future.
We started off our little chat talking about James' musical background and how he's ended up where he is today. He took us back to his childhood, explaining how his family's involvement with music eventually rubbed off on him. At a younge age, James was able to pick out popular melodies by ear on the piano without any prior music knowledge. As he continued to grow up, James surrounded himself with classical music, movie soundtracks, scores, and of course, rock n' roll. It wasn't until he was a junior in high school, when a classmate introduced to dubstep. A "forty-somethin' track playlist," jam-packed with dubstep essentials from Skrillex and other Dubstep icons. He started producing original content early in his college career. He was lucky enough to have a friend show him the ropes to Ableton. From there, Xkape was born.
When I asked Xkape how he would describe his genre of music to someone who had never heard it before, his response was incredible,
"[Dubstep is] like music, but robot noises... something you would hear in a Transformers movie, but it's a song. It's the uniqueness of EDM, that's I like about it."
When crafting a track, Xkape, uses a simple method: start with the bones, add meat, spice it up, and perfect it. He goes on to tell me that it's never an exact process, it varies from song to song. He admitted that some songs take months to perfect, while with others can be crank out in a day, but at the end of it all, some don't even make the cut and he scraps them. Xkape's tracks draw influence from heavy UK artists Dirty Snatcha, Cookie Monsta, and FuntCase.
As our interview rolled along, Xkape went on talk about his first EDM show and how he strives to share & spread that same positive energy he felt at his first show. He expressed his respect to underground artists and gave credit to producers for creativity and being able to craft sounds no one has ever heard before. I loved talking to James, he ended up talking a bit about how he wants to be your distraction from the horrible week you had. In a way, he values the experience of his shows, making it more than just someone pressing play on a set of CDJs. Interestingly enough, he emphasizes the importance of keeping his audience members engaged and on their toes throughout his sets. I mean let's be real, there's nothing enjoyable about some DJ with their headphones on all night, out of touch with the crowd's energy.
Check out Xkape's Guest Mix Above!
Initially, James' project began slowly, playing small shows at his church, weddings, and other small gigs but most of his opportunities came word of mouth. As he's continued to grow over the past three years, James has been playing shows at Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom and Otherside, as well as Cervates' newest venture in Capital Hill, The Black Box.
One of my favorite questions I ask artists is about one thing they would change in the Colorado music scene (in a positive way) if they had the chance. James' response wasn't something I had expected, but he said he would change how people go to shows. How? He was quick to point out that the EDM scene is riddled with drug use, common to rave culture. But he said that he just wishes that people would take a break and attend shows for the music and natural enjoyment, there's no need to overly 'enhance' experiences to have a good time. One of James' main points is when fans see their favorite artists, praising the artist by say things like, "The artist was amazing! They killed the show," but it's being able to step back and ask, was it the artist and their music or was it just the mass amount of drugs and a light show? There's a difference between physically being at the show and being present mentally.
One can dream right?
Thanks again to my buddy, Xkape!
Be sure to keep up with Xkape on Facebook and Soundcloud!