London’s James Connolly hasn’t just survived in the volatile world of electronic music, he’s helped shape it. At the forefront of dance music for over a decade, Connolly has left an indelible mark as a progressive producer and DJ under both his aliases - L-Vis 1990 and Dance System - and as the co-founder of the highly influential label, Night Slugs, aptly described by Hypebeast as “re-shaping the sound of British clubbing", during the label’s 10th Anniversary last year.
Connolly’s visionary-yet-reverent releases on Night Slugs, alongside PMR, Warp, Mad Decent, Sound Pellegrino, Ultramagic, Clone, Monkeytown, Warehouse Music and Edible, have seen him cited over and over as a major influence by a new generation of producers, such as recent Grammy-winner Mura Masa, whilst he’s also celebrated by the veterans; DJ Deeon, Parris Mitchell and Green Velvet, and the pop producers; with Diplo, Skrillex, A-Trak all long-time champions, and Calvin Harris proclaiming Connolly his “favourite DJ.”
Following the initial Dance System releases on Clone and Ultramajic, in 2013 and 2014 respectively, Connolly took a five-year House hiatus as he focused on his L-Vis 1990 artist project, going on to release his 12 Thousand Nights album via Warp, hailed by Rolling Stone as “a small rap masterpiece”, whilst also producing for other artists and launching nineteen90 sound design studio, boasting clients Prada, Moschino, Nike, Adidas and Opening Ceremony.
In April 2019, Connolly revived his Dance System alias with the Wind 'Em Up EP, on Modeselektor’s lauded Monkeytown, followed by the Please EP on Eats Everything’s Edible in July, which was premiered by Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1, Mixmag on Soundcloud, and Calvin Harris on Spotify. An official Dance System remix of A-Trak’s Work It Out followed in September, before Connolly closed out the year with the triumphant Can’t Stop EP on Mella Dee’s Warehouse Music, complete with the launch party to end all launch parties; thanks to surprise guests Skrillex, Alex Virgo, Joe Corti, Absolute and more.
In today’s serious techno world, and against the current political landscape, Dance System is the playful breath of fresh air we all want and need. With influence from Dance Mania and Relief Records, Dance System takes a nod from Chicago, but makes a new sound distinctly his own; as he boils dance music down to its core elements to create infectious club tools, but with character that stands out in any set.
It’s clear everyone else agrees, as the support for Dance System keeps flooding in; from Calvin Harris, Annie Mac, Peggy Gou, Skrillex, Patrick Topping, Pete Tong, Danny Howard, Eats Everything, Ben UFO, DJ Deeon, Mixmag, Rinse FM, NTS, FACT, Hypebeast, NPR, TEED, Eclair Fifi, Mella Dee, Mele, Spotify / Apple / Tidal editorial, Boiler Room, Beatport, Defected, Dirtybird, Anjunadeep, Domino, Trekkie Trax, Nina Las Vegas, Tom Ravenscroft, Modeselektor, Groove, Dummy, Sally C, Jaguar, Joe Goddard, A-Trak, The Black Madonna, DJ Mag, Virgil Abloh, Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin, DJ Boring, Denis Sulta, Benji B, Kettama, KiNK, Badu, Tensnake, Huxley, Dennis Ferrer, Catz n Dogz and Heidi.
Following a support slot on Modeselektor’s album tour, Dance System returned to play some key summer shows, including headlining stages at Lovebox, Parklife and Reading festivals, alongside Berghain/Panorama Bar, while FACT declared his Glastonbury set, on the incredible new IICON stage, one of their highlights of the entire festival, and he closes out the year in style, making his Warehouse Project debut on New Year’s Eve 2019. Those unable to attend his shows, can check his DJ mixes, including an NTS guest show, a mix on Tom Ravenscroft’s BBC 6 Music show and two very special B2Bs on Rinse FM; one with Warehouse Music label boss Mella Dee, and one with Chicago’s Dance Mania legend DJ Deeon. Also, check out his recent Against The Clock for FACT, which FACT called one of their 2019 favourites.
Behind the scenes, Dance System already has three releases scheduled for 2020... As Eats Everything recognised; "Dance System’s gonna have a big year."