Global Groove Network: Q&A with Director Courtney James
New York, NY—Filmmaker Courtney James needs your help. For the better part of a decade he has devoted his life to documenting his journey through what he dubs the “Global Groove Network,” or GGN. Yet another overarching moniker for the infectious dance music culture and lifestyle, the GGN is a musical movement with a knack for connecting people on a deep, otherworldly level.
Watch the extended trailer here:
“Everyone is a DJ in their own Life. This film is a soundtrack of my past and present to find my identity again. Welcome to the network.” – Courtney James
Over six years ago, just as James was exiting a nine-year relationship, he began looking for a fresh film project. Lost, confused, and introspective, little was left for him to cling to beyond his burning passion for music; this passion proving itself as his calling shortly after he moved to Toronto and began digging through his old record crates. Having left “the scene” toward the beginning of his now-failed relationship, he began to realize that much like a religion, the scene had not left him, and he was quick to dive right back in; his life reinvigorated.
What ensued was an adventure through the depths of the electronic music world that many fans would only dream of experiencing. Spanning the ’90s dancefloors of Toronto, the rainforests of Panama, Miami’s Winter Music Conference through the eyes of DJ Dan, the peaceful unity of Burning Man in the Nevada playa, a Sander Kleinenberg DJ set at Ibiza’s Café Mambo, and featuring interviews with world-renowned DJs including Armin Van Buuren, Pete Tong, Carl Cox, ATB, Benny Benassi, David Guetta, Christopher Lawrence, Sander Van Doorn, Hector Romero, David Morales, Max Graham, Kenneth Thomas, Steve Angello, DJ Sneak, Darren Emerson, Richie Hawtin, Adam Beyer, Hatiras, Jelo, Colette, DJ Heather, Chuck Love, Mark Farina, Blank and Jones, Honey Dijon, Andy Caldwell, and more, the film runs the gamut.
DJ Times recently sat down with James as he launched his Kickstarter campaign that he hopes will allow him to cover the final production costs and bring the film to a global audience. To date, James has self-financed 100-percent of the film, and is only now turning to the community that he has devoted himself to documenting for help.
DJ Times: So what exactly is the Global Groove Network?
CJ: The Global Groove Network, in my mind’s eye, is based on the friendships I made through my first experience of electronic music back in the ‘90s. At the time there was a radio show on 100.7 in Toronto called “The Global Groove Network” that played killer house music. It disappeared back in that era, and I picked up the reins to carry on the tradition. In a broader sensibility, the GGN is a tribe, a community of dedicated party peeps, as well as its part-timers who understand the power of music. If you like to dance to the beats, then you are the network!
DJ Times: Can you give us a brief history of your involvement in dance music, and of the time period you spent making the film?
CJ: I spent most of my youth listening to classic rock, alternative, and NY/LA hip-hop. When I heard dance music, I liked the idea of it, but it never really jumped out at me until I moved to Toronto in the late ’90s and attended university in 1994. I met my closest friends at the time through a restaurant I worked at called East Side Marios. The bonding moments always happened on a dancesfloor back in the day with the group and I can truly say it changed my life. Dance music is a feeling and it got me.
DJ Times: Several DJ Dan-related perks are available for Kickstarter project backers. What role has DJ Dan played in the creation of the film?
CJ: Dan is the core of how I discovered electronic music. I sent an email, and he answered me after getting to see some of the “sneak peek” interviews pieces I was doing for YouTube and our website. Dan connected with what we were trying to do with the GGN, so we met for the first time in Vegas to do an interview and hang out for his set at JET nightclub. We ended up getting along really well. We reconvened at Winter Music Conference to film “a day in the life of a DJ,” and through it all I was lucky enough to experience a crazy year of parties, storms, and magic.
DJ Times: You seem to have picked an excellent time to release the film, with dance music gaining massive traction in the US, as of late. Was this planned, or just a lucky coincidence?
CJ: In no way was this planned; I thought this would be over years ago. I think it’s kind of like a divine intervention to give this little passion project a bigger audience. I know God is a DJ!
DJ Times: Where can fans watch the movie?
CJ: Right now we are in the midst of delivering the film to the distributor so he can get it out to cable broadcasters, iTunes, Netflix, and some boutique theatres across Canada and the United States. The final hurdle is a post-production session necessary to finish the film. This is why we have set up the Kickstarter campaign; in order to help finish the project.
DJ Times: From what we understand, much—if not all—of this project has been self-funded. What do you plan to do with the funds that you’re raising in your Kickstarter campaign?
CJ: This whole project has been out of my pocket; we have had no funding up to this point besides favors to help get things done. The money we plan to raise will be used for HD transfers, music licensing, and digital clean up that is required by broadcast standards.
DJ Times: For those who don’t know about Kickstarter, can you tell us a little about it?
CJ: It is a community funding platform where you can donate, and as a backer you receive an incentive for your level of donation. No donation is too small, but we are hoping through mass numbers we can reach this goal quickly. As of today, we are currently at $4,578 of our $15k goal, so if only 520 people pledged only $20 dollars, we would reach our goal and receive the funding we need. We have until February 20th, 2013. Please share this link and pledge your good deed of the day!
For more information on the film, visit – www.groovetheglobe.com
To back the Kickstarter campaign, visit – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/59867650/the-global-groove-network
—Chris K. Davis