Ever since he could remember, James Causey was fascinated with the
piano. From the time he was nine years old, he could remember a piano
in the house--not that anyone ever played it, you see. Causey's piano
was more of a "decorative item" than a musical instrument! But it was
a piano, nonetheless!
tinkered around with the piano and also aspired to play the trumpet--but
did neither seriously until he heard "Buffalo Girls" by Malcolm McClaren.
"That's when the whole hip-hop thing really started for me," he enthuses,
"that's what I'm into now. I actually heard the Sugar Hill Gang back
in 1975--I was five years old at the time. I was sitting in a car
in front of my grandfather's house and when I first heard it, it just
blew me away. At that point, I knew I was in love with hip-hop."
Causey was the freshness and excitement of hip-hop music. It was relatively
new on the scene and he wanted to be a part of it. But Causey didn't
want to be a hip-hop artist or rapper or writer. Causey wanted to
be a DJ. "I even convinced my mom to buy me some turntables," he admitted,
"and she did--figuring that it was better than having me in the streets
messing around. I was better off In the house making noise."
me, the next obvious question was how do you practice on turntables?
Is there a turntable school? A book on how to become a DJ? What do
you do to learn how to spin and scratch your way to the top? "I just
had it in me, I guess. I experimented a lot trying to scratch and
blend records together. I thought I had it down. When I first got
my equipment (1981), I heard about this one guy whose name is LC (Lendeluxe).
He was in a DJ battle that I entered and he busted me (laughing).
He knew I had the talent and the style so he took me under his wing
and helped me out a lot. He basically taught me everything I know.
I DJ'd at local clubs and parties--anything I could get. We eventually
formed an alliance and started working together."
with simply partying around, Causey (whose alter-ego is DJ Doubleplay
for live performances), and his new partner, decided to get serious
with their newfound careers. They decided to go pro: "I went out and
bought a four-track and a Roland 808 drum machine because that was
the sound at the time. We just started figuring it out and sampling.
That's what everyone was doing back then. We had a whole group of
people that would rap and we started making tracks in 1986. We've
been doing it ever since and getting better and better and better."
Like most artists,
Causey made tapes of his songs and tried to shop them to labels and
other artists, with only moderate results. "We got an occasional track
on a compilation CD but that was it. For me, my biggest accomplishment
was when the group Atmospheric got a singles deal on Profile Records.
I was one of the producers."
the pages of a music magazine one day, James came across an ad for
TAXI and thought it looked interesting. "I did some investigating
and asked for the free package. I looked at the mock listings and
it was still kind of hard to find a lot of listings for what I do
now. But I still thought it was a good thing. The people at TAXI were
really nice and believed that what I did was working--so I joined."
specializes in drum & bass trip-hop music, there aren't pages and
pages of listings to choose from. "There aren't many to pick from,"
Causey admits, "but when I do send in a tape, it usually gets forwarded.
I think we're a little more advanced than the basic trip-hop group.
We're a little scary to the industry."
Causey is quick
to praise both the screeners and their critiques for helping him focus
and for being inspirational. In fact, he's made some personal relationships
with some of the staffers who occasionally are willing to attend a
live performance and show their support.
concluded his very first deal through TAXI. "I submitted a song called
'Sin & Suffering' and it was used in the film called 'Let The Devil
Wear Black.' We've been paid already and now we're just waiting for
the official release date of the movie. We got screen credits and
the group, Illogical SRL, performed the tune in the film."
What does James
Causey think of TAXI after his two-years as a member? "TAXI has educated
me and allowed me to make important connections in the industry. The
Road Rally '99--I'm there! I've made connections with people all over
the world through TAXI. I've built friendships and music contacts.
I would recommend TAXI to anybody."