Music is my life, I’ve often heard him say, as many dedicated musicians have in the past. I wonder how many of them live a life like his.
I met James a few years ago. As I stepped into his apartment for the first time, a familiar fragrance of Nag Champa hits my senses, along with visuals of Bob Marley, Jerry Garcia, Led Zeppelin, and variety of Rock n Roll greats scattered about his walls. Cypress Hills drops lyrics on his stereo -a contrast I didn’t expect. One Love, as I have come to know him,is a man of unexpected moments.
When I introduced him into the scene, back in 96, I didnt think he would catch on. Here was this ‘hippie’ guy, so chilled and laid back, on a quest for-‘omething’- he would surely run away from my world of bangin’ bass beats, and prism lights… so I thought. He, on the other hand, was captivated. Every aspect of the scene, the good, the bad, and the music, intrigued him. Since he was thirteen, he’ been in one music scene or another; always devoted to whatever drove him to play his drums and percussions -the spiritual aspect and emotion that the music brought forth. For many years he followed the Grateful Dead scene because, much like this one, music and unity were at the root of it all. The music collected those on the quest for a higher consciousness -a transcendental collective. He followed his heart for many years, on a spiritual journey that gravitated him towards people of like minds and energies. In mid-June of 1997, he followed his calling to the Rastafarian way. Soon after, his life changed completely. He understood that to pursue his lifes purpose he had to hold steadfast to his spirit, care for his mind and body, and follow Jah’ will for him. He knew that to do this, he would have to change his lifestyle. He became honest with himself, open-minded to all that life had to offer, and willing to learn and do what it took.
After years of playing in bands as a percussionist, he realized he didn’t need others to express his musical creativity. James was exposed to the mechanics of spinning by the Generator Boys: DJ DAB, and DJ Hyperrr of Albany. DAB handed James two Danny Tanaglia records and introduced him to the basics of beat-matching. After an eight hour trial of spinning, James realized that this was the true channel for his musical expression. His solo career was born.
One Love began with House and Hard Techno. His ability to master these styles was a testament of his musical talent. These genres encompassed a new and yet a similar beat driven sound of his percussive past. He indulged in blending, mixing, and melding these sounds to form Tech-House. Fascinated with the ability of changing the sounds of tracks into one’ own creation, he ventured within other forms of Techno. He played into Minimal which, being more simplistic, gave his sound a more artistic edge to layering tracks. He didn’t stop there. He experimented with Break-Beats, Hardcore, Jungle, and Trance. This desire for musical knowledge gave way to his signature style of versatility
In ‘98, One Love formed The Collective, a group of djs whose motivation was to bring positive vibes and raw talent to the decks. The group was to collaborate and help each other spread their capabilities. Along with these efforts, and the addition of myself to the group, the Collective took a different turn. We began producing one of the longest running weekly electronic dance music events in Albany; “Liquid”. This opportunity set the stage for the Collective Djs to spin on a regular basis, and One Love’ notoriety for unique multifaceted composition continually progressed. This opportunity also sparked another talent and interest for One Love- lighting arrangements. Soon he became heavily involved with two of the area’ lighting suppliers and began providing arrangements of special effects lighting for small and large events. Within a short period of time, The Collective become one of the most respected production companies in the Albany scene, by helping out other crews in one form or another and upholding the unity and comradery in this scene.
In time, The Collective took progressive steps to separating -each member having gained a great experience. Without missing a beat, One Love took his knowledge and formed Upstate Technology. Currently, he is working on producing tracks as well as continuously bringing a wide range of passionate sets to the dance floor. One Love spins with versatility, everything from House to Hardcore and bringing it to you with positivity and respect.
To him this isn’t just a job; it is his life; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…
written by Coco