We had the good fortune of connecting with James Flanders and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
For me the most important thing is loving and believing in what I do. Being a musician is a long grind, and a job that is certainly hard at times. If I didn’t have true love for music, finding success would be a lot harder. If you’re in anything for the money, status, or lifestyle (the wrong reasons!) it’s going to be hard to grind through and find the motivation. I firmly believe that regardless of skill/background, if you’re PASSIONATE about what you’re doing, you can find success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a music producer. As far as what sets me apart from others… I think I’m still trying to find that out myself! I’ve only been doing this for two years now. While I feel good about what I’ve been making I definitely have not found my own specific sound yet. I think that will come with time.
Right now I don’t think there’s one thing I’m most proud of. I’m proud of my whole project in general. I was scared to start (the usual self doubt/not thinking I could make a name for myself) but now that I’ve had some success, and I’ve made it to where I am today – THAT is what I’m proud of. Getting here definitely wasn’t the easiest task, but like I touched on before it’s having a love and passion for the craft that’s kept me going.
A lesson I’ve learned is to not get so wrapped up in your work that it dominates your life. There was a time where I’d be working on music with all my free time, every day of the week. I was being hard on myself for taking any breaks at all. THIS WAS NOT HEALTHY! No matter what you’re working on that is not a healthy lifestyle to live. While hard work and dedication are important, breaks are too. It’s important to remind yourself to actually live your life and enjoy it from time to time. Not only is it good for your mental health but it helped my music too. Giving myself time to relax and breathe was, at times, exactly what I needed to figure out how to finish a track or get motivated again.
Music has always been important to me. It’s helped me through many things in my life. While sad it’s lifted me up, and while happy it’s made me really enjoy and appreciate the things around me. I want to spread that love and positive impact that music has had on me with other through the music I create. That’s what I’m trying to do as a musician.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Philly and I LOVE IT HERE! It’s such a blast, and affordable too! I don’t have to throw my entire life savings into rent. As a broke music producer this is much appreciated.
If you were visiting for the weekend I’d recommend a few things.
1. Graffiti Pier – There’s an old abandoned pier in NE Philly that has basically become an art exhibit. The whole place has graffiti, pretty much every open area. A lot of it is spectacular and super well done. It’s also right on the water and has some pretty amazing view of the city. To top it all off a lot of local dj’s throw shows on the pier. I was lucky enough to play one a few months back. Such a great atmosphere to listen to music and hang with friends!
2. Voyeur Nightclub – If you want to dance this is the place to go, but not until about 1 or 2am on the weekends. In Philly bars and clubs close at 2am. This is one of the few places in the city that stays open later, so when the bars close… everyone flocks here. It’s pretty spectacular inside. 3 floors, multiple djs, multiple bars – the place is real fun.
3. JIm’s Cheesesteaks on South Street. My favorite cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. South Street is also a great place to walk around. Lots of fun shops and great food.
4. Sightseeing wise City Hall in center city is pretty cool. It’s a great starting point with a lot of restaurants and shopping nearby. It’s also not far from Independence Mall which has a big green space and some historical places to visit (Liberty Bell/Constitution Center!), and Franklin Square which has mini golf and a fountain show.
5. Wonderspaces is an awesome art exhibit that has some trippy/visually REALLY COOL art. Always fun to stop by there. It’s also part of the Mall in the Fashion District which has a ton of cool shops, a bowling alley and a movie theater.
6. As far as going out/drinking on the weekends goes some of my favorite spots are Concourse Dance Bar (has a ball pit), Ladder 15, Garage Fishtown, and Drinkers.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A few people! My parents are the big one. When I told them I was quitting my job to follow my dream they supported me fully. Without that I don’t think I’d be where I am today. Also Charlie Wilson and Rob Bell for showing me the ropes with DJ’ing (I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started). The producer Tropix who I went to school with for answering some of my early producing/music questions. More broadly the EDM legends that I grew up listening to. Calvin Harris was one of my first EDM shows when I was in high school. I remember thinking “Wow that would be so cool to do.” Here I am years later finally going for it.
Andrew Hally Photography