Graduate. Get a studio. Get signed. As easy as writing a wish list? We chat to Audio Production alumnus James King who formed House Music duo NVOY with fellow graduate Conner Turner.
What’s been your journey since leaving SAE?
It's been a gradual journey. NVOY started while I was at SAE Oxford, and continued when myself and Conner moved to London after finishing our degrees. We’ve spent a lot of time making music in various studios, travelling to play shows, and a lot of time promoting our music and sharing it with people. Right now we’re signed to Black Butter Records, which is part of Sony Music UK. We’re living in Stoke Newington, London, and making music in our studio nearby in Finsbury Park.
What’s the most jobs that you’ve had at any one time?
We were both working in bars, shops, anywhere that would have us. Anywhere that would still allow us some time each week to go to the studio and make music.
At any point did you doubt or have days wondering if you were doing the right thing?
Many, many times. It’s very common for people working in a creative field to feel like that, particularly when your work is frequently self-directed, rather than as part of a larger corporation. A big part of our experience in growing as individuals, and as a duo, has been dealing with these moments and making some good come out of days when you don’t feel at your best. It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t believe there is necessarily any one particular ‘right thing’ for a person to be doing, but as long as you choose something that makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning then you’re on the right track.
How did you come to be signed?
We’ve always liked Black Butter as a label; they felt like a good fit musically and the acts that have come up through BB have gone on to do great things. Our first contact with the label was through a track called ‘You Are’. We released a compilation in early 2015 and have since released another couple of singles with them. We eventually signed to them for a longer period of time last September.
So your day-to-day work involves…
Making music in our studio or in sessions with other people. This involves anything from sitting in a café with a Macbook and headphones working on rough ideas, to locking ourselves in our studio with lots of coffee mixing a track ready to be released. We have songwriters, singers, and other producers that we work with to keep us inspired and excited. We also travel around and DJ in all sorts of places. In the next few months we’re playing at Amnesia Ibiza, SW4 London, Eastern Electrics, Belgium, Made in America Festival, Philadelphia, Holy Ship in the Caribbean, and loads more.
How do you make sure that you’re always inspired with your work?
Personally I’ve always been really enthused by the feedback that you get when you put work out around the world. It’s rewarding to create something from nothing, and then to show it to people and for them to like it. That sounds very basic but for me it’s a system that works and a system that makes me feel like I am doing something useful. I like creating beautiful things. If I wasn’t making music I would be painting or making sculptures.
You have the best of both worlds - producing music and performing. What does the future hold for NVOY as performers right now?
At some point we’ll be thinking about creating a live show as well as DJ'ing. I will play guitar, keyboards, and Conner will probably be playing drums and sequencing things. That will be a really interesting transition for us. However, I still absolutely love DJ’ing and I think that it's something that I’ll do for the rest of my life, whether it’s as part of NVOY or for other projects. Playing music you love to a room full of people who want to hear it is a great experience.