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 Psych/Rock, and picking up the guitar, formed a band at school.
Before long James discovered House, Hardcore and Jungle, making weekly trips to raves and clubs in Cambridge, London and East Anglia. It wasn’t long before he started to mess around on his friends’ turntables, and in 1995 managed to get his first pair of decks. It was while at university in Nottingham that James first started playing out, at the time of the more melodic, deeper 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 and life in music, initially again at Selectadisc, then Timewarp Distribution and subsequently at Phonica Records and Arision Recordings, 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 risqué / off-the-cuff venues, the club has welcomed some of the world’s most renowned djs & producers with the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Four Tet, Dixon and Derrick May all appearing over the years.
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 the world, highlights including Robert Johnson (Offenbach), Fabric (London), Air (Tokyo), Output (NYC), Studio 80 (Amsterdam) and Space (Ibiza).
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 which was licensed to several compilations.
September 2007 marked 10 years since James began djing, and the month aptly saw the release of his first compilation / mix CD – Secretsundaze Volume 1 released on secretsundaze Music, which he co-manages and A & Rs. This period also saw the release of 2 EPs ‘Chariots’ & ‘The Source’ on Will Saul’s Simple Records, sister label to Aus.
Critically acclaimed ‘Secretsundaze Volume 2′ was released in 2008 alongside an incredible year of Secretsundaze parties and bookings internationally. In 2009 James moved into venue ownership with The City Arts and Music Project & later on Meter on City Road in London.
2011 saw James and the Secretsundaze crew return for part 3 of the mix compilation cd’s whilst in 2012 James returned to the studio and released Baia 2012 & Speed EPs on Secretsundaze working with new production partner Marco Antonio.
Since then a renewed A&R focus on the label, heaving touring and the formation of TSA Artists booking agency (formerly The Secret Agency) has been keeping James busy.
Other than his Secretsundaze residency recent gig activity in London includes being invited to play as part of James Lavelle’s Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre and a new residency at Notting Hill Arts Club.
23rd May 2017 Read this
Peckham Rye Music Festival 2017
23rd March 2017 Read this
SECRETSUNDAZE ANNOUNCE NEW NTS RESIDENCY
22nd February 2017 Read this
Ransom Note: 8 Tracks With Secretsundaze
10th February 2017 Read this
Phonica: Secretsundaze Presents DANCE 2017
27th July 2016 Read this
Boiler Room: Secretsundaze ‘Studio Session’
- More News
- 2012 - James Priestley & Marco Antonio - Speed [secretsundaze Recordings]
- 2012 - James Priestley & Marco Antonio - Bala 2012 [secretsundaze Recordings]
- 2008 - James Priestley & Dan Berkson - The Source EP [Simple Records]
- 2007 - James Priestley & Dan Berkson - Chariots [Simple Records]
- 2009 - 20:20 Soundsystem - Falling (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remixes) [20:20 Vision]
- 2008 - Robert Owens - Happy (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remixes) [Compost Records]
- 2007 - Kissogram - My Friend Is A Seahorse (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remixes) [Defdrive]
- 2006 - Spektrum - Horny Pony (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remix) [Non Stop Recordings]
- 2005 - Italian X Rays - Strip Down (James Priestley & Dan Berkson Remixes) [In Fine Records]
- Mix Compilations:
- 2011 - 10 Years Of secretsundaze - Mixed by Giles Smith and James Priestley - [secretsundaze music]
- 2008 - secretsundaze Volume 2 - Mixed by Giles Smith and James Priestley [secretsundaze music]
- 2007 - secretsundaze Volume 1 - Mixed by Giles Smith and James Priestley [secretsundaze music]