James Causey

by Kenny Kerner

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!

James 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."

What intrigued 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."

i
Name: James Causey
Residence: Upland, California
Age: 29
Occupation: Music Production   
Joined TAXI: 1997
Songs Forwarded:   30
Deals/Contracts: One
For 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."

Not content 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."

While perusing 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."

Because Causey 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.

Recently, Causey 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."









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