Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, James Webster goes by HCMJ, death’s dynamic shroud.wmv, Winter Sleep, and a few other aliases. He is part of the Ghost Diamond, a collective body of music, with close friend and music buddy Tech Honors. Together, Webster and Keith Rankin carefully crafted their 2015 I’ll Try Living Like This album which features bizarre loops and Japanese-speaking samples with a glorious touch of disorientation. Not only did FACT place the album on their year end list as 15th best album of 2015, it was uncontrollably applauded by a spectrum of die hard vaporwave listeners on the Internet. The dear love of amazing vaporwave music may have disappeared below surface but Webster’s multiple projects and fantastically creative tunes has brought vaporwave back in its place. (All photos by James Webster.)
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February 8th, 2017, The Independent, San Francisco, CA.
Standing outside under Curry Up Now’s awning, Jose Pangan, Chris Cortez, and I make small talk. They just finished their performance. They are still sweating.
What does reggae mean to you?
Jose Pangan: Positive messages and the true stories of life. It’s a good way to express yourself.
Chris Cortez: It’s life. Rest a bit from the daily grind. I turn to reggae to turn it off. It beams of sunshine. It hits your soul. It’s the freedom to express yourself.
Peter Hadden walks towards us, carrying his umbrella.
“We honor the man who created the sound, values, and energy.” –S.H.
In the green room, the most positive man is Michael Litwin. He is the front man and has the voice of a true Rastafarian. He is genuinely curious who I am and what I do. Happy is understated. He is extremely delighted to answer any of my eager questions.
He is talkative; he speaks highly and kindly of his band members, introducing me to all six, as they get ready to take on the stage. Litwin directly looks me into the eye while talking about how excited he is to perform. It seems like the room is shrinking and he is getting bigger. He is the positivity I want instilled in me.
February 3rd, 2017, Elbo Room, San Francisco, CA.
At 10pm, I stood outside of the venue, along with the rest of the concert go-ers, when the manager yelled that the show was sold out.North Bay’s Sol Horizon and San Francisco’s Native Elements performed a live tribute show to celebrate the life and honor the legacy of Bob Marley in the vibrant Mission district.
A huge sigh was vocalized by the line of people, which happened to extend to the end of the block. Inside on the second floor, members of Native Elements sang and danced in as the crowd of reggae lovers yelled and clapped their hands in the marijuana smoke and fog machine infused room.