Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is Oakland-based singer, producer, engineer, and songwriter James Riotto. We’ve not covered him in the past, so we are new to his music! If you’re not familiar with James Riotto, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
I work in an analog recording studio in the Bay area called tiny telephone, and I make music that is both inspired by and created with the instruments and gear of that studio. The songs are created in this environment, within the linear format of analog tape. I like to think it’s sort of genre-less, but I guess it’s Rock music with lots of synthesizers.
As an artist, how do you define success?
On a personal level, success is being able to have a sustainable career in the arts, which I’ve managed to have for the last eight years or so. Ultimately, I’d like to work on some higher profile records, but I think that will come with time.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
The internet and home recording have completely democratized the process of creating and releasing music, which is pretty amazing and positive in many ways. It also means that there is just so much music out there, and it makes it more difficult for each individual artist to string together a career.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
I can’t honestly answer this question, because I really can’t imagine doing that with any one song. I hope that I continue to write and record music for many years, and a big motivator for me is that I like to create new songs so I don’t have to perform my old ones anymore.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
I really look up to artists who dramatically change and develop over the course of their careers. The real touchstones in this regard would be Miles Davis, Radiohead, The Beatles, and Kanye West.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
I have a 10 month old daughter and an amazing wife, and I love spending time with them. I’m also an avid hiker.