Try googling Prostitutes without the aka of James Donadio and it brings up some interesting results! But the musical results are really interesting. His latest release on Mira (Avian's sublabel) is filthy in the best way and a recent Industry of Machines party with Mondkopf and Truss was top stuff. Straight out of Ohio, we caught up with the no-nonsense sound manipulator!
CGNY: Hi James! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. First of all have to ask you where did you come up with the artist name “Prostitutes”! It does have a nice ring when you say “I’m going to check out Prostitutes tonight!
JD: It was an unfortunate accident and I'll leave it at that.
CGNY: So cryptic – I love it! So tell us about your recent release on Mira (a subsidiary of Shifted's Avian label). Why this label now? It’s superb by the way!
JD: Thank you! I really had nothing to do with it. Guy (Shifted) contacted me right after "Crushed Interior" was released and asked if I was interested in submitting some tracks for a 10".Pretty sure I typed the word YES before I even thought it. Mira/Avian releases and Shifted's album were in constant rotation so I was flat out flattered to say the least. I was working on shorter, harder, more beat oriented tracks at that time so it was a perfect way to get those out.
CGNY: How did your musical career develop? What got you into the noise/ambient/industrial sound. Not really a sound I would imagine you would hear too often in Cleveland – or am I wrong?
JD: My "career" was nonexistent from an early age.
I'd been in bands for many years and a rabid music lover/collector for even longer. Noise and ambient were parts of records I really loved but not genres I was deeply into.
Techno and drum n bass were really what set me off. In 1995 my best friend John opened his record shop Bent Crayon and he was the one the put the right records into my hands. He definitely sent me along the path. Bent Crayon is absolutely the cornerstone for electronic music awareness here. There were also some great shows in the late 90's to early 2000's that were very influential. I saw artists that, when I look back, can't believe played here.
Thomas Brinkmann, Marco Passarani, Stuart Walker, Kit Clayton, Legowelt... just to name a few. There has always been a rich history of demented music and avant sounds in this city. Cleveland has a small but very real underground scene and if you are open, intelligent and dedicated you can get all you need out of it.
CGNY: That’s great to hear! It’s a very specific market for this kind of music, particularly here in this country where pop and commercial edm rule! How do you go about marketing and making money from a niche music style?
JD: I successfully accomplish neither with my innate skill for refusing to do what you're supposed to do. The word "marketing" makes my skin crawl and I try to stay away from internet buffoonery. Getting my name out there has mostly been done through the labels that have released my music or sheer luck. When it comes to the financial aspect, I am self-employed and don't rely making or performing music to pay the bills. (thankfully!)
CGNY: Your recent gig Industry of Machines in Brooklyn saw you take the stage with Mondkopf and Truss. It was a pretty special night. But for any live set, artists are on the stage for so little time compared to a regular dj set. How do you decide what best to showcase in such a short time frame?
"Anyone that complains about the state of modern music is either stupid, lazy or has terrible taste."
JD: Thanks! Both were excellent that night.
That was my longest set ever at 35 mins! Usually I like to keep it under half an hour so having a shorter time slot suits me fine. Hell, I don't want to hear myself for more than 30 minutes so why would I expect anyone else to endure it? I spend a lot of time working on live sets. Ask my girlfriend who has to put up with hours of start/stop racket emanating from the basement. Making a short, energetic live set that will make people feel confused, violent and want to dance is my main concern. Most of what I perform live is created specifically with that in mind. The majority of my sets consist of new material. I do incorporate some tracks I have released but they are usually reworked and mangled.
CGNY: What is your machine set up?
JD: The first time I played out I had a synth and tons of gear and it was an unmitigated disaster. I learned quickly and painfully to keep it simple.
My trusty DR-202 and KP3 are constants as well as a cheap sampler that can hold synths sounds or beats from my other equipment. The need for knobs, faders and buttons is crucial for me. I can't rock the fuck out on a mouse pad.
" I can't rock the fuck out on a mouse pad."
CGNY: Brilliant! What or where does your musical inspiration come from?
This may sound obvious but it's from records and my own desire to hear what's in my head at a very loud volume. It's not that I hear a record and want to rip off a style, sound or beat, it's the excitement that I attain from those records. So whether it's an old AC/DC album or a new 12" on Editainment it makes no difference. I want to make music that makes me feel the same way I do from listening to the records I love.
CGNY: Well I think you’re succeeding! What’s next for you in terms of playing out or productions that you can share?
JD: Right now I am waiting on confirmation on some shows in the US and EU in the fall.
As far as recordings, my latest album, "Petit Cochon" was just released on the mighty Spectrum Spools. I also have 2 upcoming 12"s. The first will be an EP on Night School out of Glasgow coming out early summer. It's my delusional attempt at a straight ahead techno record.
I also have another EP coming out on my second home, Diagonal sometime later in the year. I am very lucky to have people I admire and respect ask me to do records for them. There's never a minute that goes by that I am not grateful for that.
CGNY: Good point. Gratitude is key in any business. Any artist or piece of music that you’re loving at the moment?
JD: Tons!!! Everything that comes out on In Paradisum, Mister Saturday Night, Proper Trax and Phorma.
Currently I can't get enough of Itinerant Dubs & Golden Teacher. Those records haven't left my play pile since I picked them up.
Also I have been totally obsessed with the DIY hardcore/punk resurgence in the states... Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, Gas Rag, Hoax, Stoic Violence, Cülo and many others. Anyone that complains about the state of modern music is either stupid, lazy or has terrible taste.Oh yeah, also been playing Kiss "Rock and Roll Over" a lot lately.
CGNY: Thanks James – hope we see you back in NYC soon!! For maybe 36 minutes this time!