Guest > James Priestley > Biography
Born in September 1977, James was raised with music. Encouraged by his father, who played Jazz drums, he took-up several instruments beginning with the Piano, then the Flute but then it wasn't until he got his hands on the Alto Saxophone where he found his first love. Entering his teens, James had acquired a taste for Indie as well as 60s & 70s Psychedelia / Rock, and picking up the guitar, formed a band at school.
But before long James discovered House, Hardcore and Jungle, making weekly trips to raves and clubs in Cambridge, London and East Anglia and soon started to mess around on his friends' turntables before in 1995 managing to get his first pair of decks. It was while at university in Nottingham that James first started ‘playing out’, at the time the more groove based side of Drum ‘n’ Bass which he spearheaded locally with his 'Bassic' night, viewed by many as the 'Swerve' of the Midlands, welcoming the likes of Fabio to the club on regular occasions. He also started working in the award-winning Selectadisc record store, becoming further exposed to exciting modern dance sounds and began playing more alternative / freestyle / backroom sets.
Moving to London in 2001 he continued his work, life and passion for music, initially again at Selectadisc, then Timewarp Distribution and subsequently at Arision Recordings and Phonica Records, Soho where his eyes were even more opened to the new wave of House and Techno hitting our shores. Hooking up with some old friends from Cambridge he launched 'secretsundaze' in 2002. This legendary Sunday afternoon party with its colourful, cosmopolitan crowds and cutting-edge music policy soon became the talk of the town and in 2005 both Mixmag and Time Out awarded it 'Best UK Club Night'. The secret was also out in Europe, with hugely successful secretsundaze parties now taking place in Ibiza (Blue Marlin, & Gala Night) Barcelona (during Sonar) and Austria (Snowbombing). With a reputation for using risque / off-the-cuff venues, the club has welcomed some of the world's most renowned DJs with the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Carl Craig, Trevor Jackson and Steve Bug all regularly appearing over the years. More recently, top European clubs such as Panorama Bar (Berlin) The Rex (Paris) & Magazzinni Generali (Milan) have all played host to rocking secretsundaze parties.
James has a distinct DJing style, playing broadly what you would describe as deep House & Techno, often borrowing from his freestyle background, preferring to move things around rather than follow one linear groove. You will also notice James' solid musical background in his sets and productions usually favouring strong melodies and warm, organic sounds. His style hasn't gone unnoticed and he regularly plays some of the best clubs and parties around, highlights including Robert Johnson (Frankfurt) Monza (Ibiza), Club 11 (Amsterdam), Module (Tokyo), Bar 13 (NYC), Dama de Fera (Rio de Janiero), Propaganda (Moscow), Cocoon & Circo Loco (London), Week-end (Berlin), We Love Sundays / Space (Ibiza), Goa (Rome) and in UK Fabric, The End, Bugged Out!, Electric Chair, Back 2 Basics and festivals such as Global Gathering, V Festival, Bestival, Hi-Fi, Latitude, Tales of The Jackalope, Bloom and Isle of Wight.
In 2004 James returned his attention to writing and recording music, this time working with friend Dan Berkson. 2005 saw their debut release, a remix for Fine Records of Italian X-Rays while their remix of London Punk-Funk hooligans Spektrum was licensed by the likes of Loco Dice, DJ T and Alex Neri & Mar-T.
September 07 saw the release of their debut original track, 'Chariots' on leading UK House / Techno label, Simple Records which also releases music of the pedigree of artists such as Mathew Jonson, John Tejada and My My. This was followed up by 'The Source', which was awarded the prestigious accolade of 'Record of The Week' at Phonica Records and also hailed as 'House Release of the Month' there too. They have just remixed Chicago House Legend Robert Owens for Compost Records as well as Ralph Lawson’s 2020 Soundsystem project set for release early 2009 and they have now firmly established themselves as a widely recognised and respected production duo within the House / Techno community.
10 years on since James' DJing career began, September ’07 aptly saw the release of his first compilation / mix CD –'secretsundaze Volume 1' on his own label, secretsundaze music. Distributed through Amato, this sold well worldwide and cemented James’ reputation as an exciting emergent artist from London. Fast forward a year and James releases his second mix CD, 'secretsundaze Volume 2', ‘House Comp of the Month’ in Mixmag while at the same time, he is nominated by DJ Magazine as 'Best DJ' in the magazine's '2008 Best of British Awards', with secretsundaze also up for ‘Best Small Club'.
James also found time to launch 'Go!Zilla' in 2004 and as co-promoter, programmer and resident DJ it was the perfect avenue for him to showcase and pursue his more diverse sounds and tastes, incorporating more Disco and live bands into the party realm inviting the likes of the Glimmers, Rub n' Tug and Optimo as well as bands such as A Mountain of One and Faze Action. Here he currently holds his residency at Cargo, Shoreditch.
James Priestley Disography
James Priestley & Dan Berkson "Chariots" Simple Records
James Priestley & Dan Berkson "The Source" Simple Records
"secretsundaze Volume 1" mixed by Giles Smith & James Priestley SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC
"Secretsundaze Volume 2" mixed by Giles Smith & James Priestley SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC, UK 2008
"Italian X-Rays Strip Down" (James Priestley & Dan Berksonis (Barlz Syntho Remix) FINE RECORDS (UK 2005)
"Spektrum Horny Pony" (James Priestley & Dan Berksonis Barlz Synth Remix)
NONSTOP RECORDS (UK 2006)
"Spektrum Horny Pony" (James Priestley & Dan Berksonis Barlz Synth Dub) NONSTOP RECORDS (UK 2006)
"Italian X-Rays Strip Down" (James Priestley & Dan Berksonis Barlz Synth Remix) FINE RECORDS (DE 2006)
"Kissogram My Friend Is a Seahorse" (James Priestley & Dan Berksonis Barlz e Synth Remix) DEFDRIVe (UK 2007)
"Kissogram My Friend Is a Seahorse" (James Priestley & Dan Berksonis Barlz Synthoi Dub) SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC (UK DUE SEPTEMBER 2007)
Sensitiva Viola "Tricolor" (secretsundaze remix) SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC (UK 2008)
Robert Owens "Happy" (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remix) COMPOST RECORDS (DE 2008)
Tracks Appear on
"Horny Pony" v/a Body Language Vol 2 mixed by DJ T. GET PHYSICAl (DE 2006)
"Horny Pony" v/a Amnesia Underground Vol 6 mixed by Alex Neri & Mar-T. DJ CENTER (FR 2006)
"Horny Pony" v/a Timewarp mixed by Loco Dice COSMOPOP (DE 2007)
"My Friend Is a Seahorse Dub" v/a Secretsundaze Volume 1 mixed by James Priestley SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC
"Chariots" v/a Secretsundaze Volume 1 mixed by James Priestley SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC
"Happy Remix" v/a secretsundaze Volume 2 mixed by James Priestley SECRETSUNDAZE MUSIC (UK 2008)