earlyW~Rm – Universal Artist

earlyW~Rm – Universal Artist

John James aka earlyW~Rm from Toronto, Canada, was one of the most interesting but underrated Dub-producers in the genre some years ago. His albums ‘Natty Droid’, ‘The Dub Device’ and the ‘Dub King Killah EP’ made it clear that he is an artist, that loves to play and experiment with sounds and effects in music. Besides that, he has been working on collages, drawings and paintings for some time. Recently, if you follow his work on Instagram, music doesn’t seem to be his main focus right now – it is all about drawing and painting. Time to update and ask some questions about the state of the art…..

The last music production that I came across was a tune you did for a compilation called “Planet Dub” by One Drop Power Dub in 2017. Besides that, there hasn’t really been much to be heard from you as a music producer. Did you quit on producing dub or will there be some more heavyweight releases by earlyW~Rm in the future?

I wouldn’t say that I quit Dub or quit producing however, I have stepped away for now and have put my creative focus towards my art. I spent years working on various music projects and thousands of tracks that didn’t go anywhere or see the light of day, whether it was my lack of knowing how to handle the business end of things or just bad luck. I finally grew tired of it and realized I hadn’t been enjoying myself for quite sometime.

As far as music goes I have learned to play guitar this year and once again really loving the process and learning curve. Initially the guitar was about spending more time with my teenage daughter who also has an interest in music and art, but now I play whether she is into jamming or not. I don’t think I’m through with music or that it’s through with me but whatever. I do you can be sure it’ll be dubby!

Your recent focus seems to lie with your drawings and sketches. I really like the approach you have in your work, even though most of the pieces seem to breathe a very dark side of being. Sometimes I see similarities to the work of Francis Bacon regarding style and a very existential touch. Is your art influenced by him at all?

Meanwhile at some point my “day job” actually became my night job and I found myself working the overnight shift in a group home setting. The house is geared towards men and women who are challenged with severe mental health issues, my job is as a support worker. Anyway, I began to draw pictures on a dry erase board at night for the folks to see when they would wake up in the morning. They became so popular and were often a point of discussion. Eventually I thought it might be a good idea to draw on paper so I could see my progress. In a short time I was feeling alive creatively and bit by bit stopped turning on my laptop.

True that much of the work has a dark tone to it but so did my sound. My aim is to be honest and raw to bring my whole self in. Certain artists speak to me as did/do Dub-producers, Francis Bacon, Picasso, Willem de Kooning are just a few.

Living far away in another country I was wondering if you show your pieces in exhibitions? If someone outside of Toronto is interested in buying a piece of your art. Where would they have a chance to do so?

It’s been just over a year that I’ve been focusing on visual art. So far I have not had a show or even set up an Etsy store. I’m really enjoying the journey and have been enjoying a small following on Instagram.

Interview: Karsten Frehe

Follow earlyW~Rm on Instagram.

Check out the Irie Ites-Interview with earlyW~Rm from 2013.

About Karsten

Founder of the Irie Ites radio show & the Irie Ites Music label, author, art- and geography-teacher and (very rare) DJ under the name Dub Teacha. Host of the "Foward The Bass"-radio show at ByteFM.