Imagine seeing a whole bunch of people stepping into a car. How are all those guys fitting in there? Where are they going? What are they doing? If you’re one of the people stepping up to the car then you are getting pumped up about going to a concert with James Olmos. You get a glance through the line of peop le and see the car totally open up into another world, unfolding into a decorated concert stage. You hear the people clapping, singing, and cheering. Once inside, the car washes away and you’re looking for a place to dance. While weaving through people, you stop and pat shoulders and shake hands. You say hi to all the friends you see around you. Then you hear the musician calling out your name. Your ears perk up and you smile while listening to his funny impromptu song used to greet everyone coming in. You have just logged into Second Life and are now in AcousticEnergy Nitely’s personal car! James, affectionately called AE in Second Life, posts many of his original songs to other sites, such as YouTube, SoundCloud , and Fandalism. But Second Life is the only place that you are going to hear him live unless you travel to California! Born in Torrance, California, James first got the musical buzz when he was in grade school. In those young years he played a recorder. From there he dabbled in keyboards and drums, but he first found his love of the guitar when he was around 14 or 15 years old. He was hanging out with “one of my best friends, and still best friend, Rob. Rob had a 12 string guitar resting on the bed and I picked it up and strummed it. Right then, I thought, ‘what beautiful music.’ I told my mom the next day and we went looking at the music stores. She found a Hohner guitar and put it on lay-a-way. My friend Rob taught me fingering and chording.” While in high school, James did play in a band that was not really serious contenders of the musical field. Instead, they had fun with it and called themselves Poorboys, after the hoagie sandwiches you find in convenience stores named “Poorboy.” While having fun in his youth, he wrote more poetry than actual songs. He loved to go to a nearby beach and write poetry. It still is a favorite place that he can find a relaxing space to be in nature and play music by himself. He’ll play for hours stirring up new tunes and words that may develop into a song, or just rest in his heart and brain to pop out again at another time. He really doesn’t have a favorite song. All of them are significant in their own ways. Some come from poetry that he has written and some come from a mere thought. He doesn’t intentionally sit down to write a song or create music. James explains that, “A song can come from a passing thought, a sight, or mostly what I desire; not what I have.” He notices that the audiences in Second Life respond and connect to “I Fall Into You” and “Oxygen.” Many on SL request these songs because they are encouraged by them. “I’m always getting IM’s that state a certain song that I sung has really encouraged them.” He loves to get those types of
IM’s! It lets him know that he has reached out and affected a listener perhaps in the same way he was affected when composing it. “When I write, I try to bring in all the senses: feel, touch, taste, sound, and visual. I think that ‘I Fall Into You’ and ‘Oxygen’ fits that. Also, ‘Oxygen’ is such an upbeat song.” In any event, AcousticEncergy Nitely fits a lot of parameters that keep the audience wanting more and coming back for more. His composes his songs by the sweet sounds that he heard when he first strummed that 12-string. He hasn’t written any music that tries to make a political or religious statement. Instead, James insists that, “I don’t produce songs, they just come from me.” The sound of music is what he seeks, enjoys, and inspires him to write songs and play the guitar. “Emotionally, I’m connected to that sound, but that goes for anything. I can pound on a coffee can and get the same feeling.” Playing music is therefore very self-gratifying for James. He enjoys just playing the guitar and not looking at guitar tabs or lyric sheets. “I can play like this for hours without memorizing a song creation. So, I’m very anti-social with my music.” When first performing in SL, he had to force himself to play “open mics.” If you have ever attended an AcousticEnergy Nitely performance, then you would question the anti-social notion! James is phenomenal performer who excels in stirring up the crowd and actually makes you feel like he is singing just to you, but at the same time hosting the greatest party ever! He likes developing friendships with each of his audience members and makes following the SL local banter and IM requests look like child’s play! He laughs right along with comments and picks up requests at the drop of a hat. While playing in SL, he may be swaying around like his avatar in real life. He loves to perform with energy and impact! When playing though, you may catch James slip into that zone or what I call a “sweet spot.” The music and song will lead the performer to a place where the performer and his music become one. This is when he ca n shut his eyes and groove to the music and becomes a little anti-social. For James, this usually happens at the end of a song and in smaller crowds. He loves all his audience members and says, “I get excited when they come spend an hour with me. Each moment not only captivates me, but encourages me in SL. It creates a relationship that has a healing experience for me to be accepted by my audience.” Although he refuses to do any holiday songs or requests from his audience, he’ll whip out a Happy Birthday song with an AcousticEnergy flare!
In his real life, James doesn’t consult or study with any professional musical instructor and continues to self-teach to build his skills. He’s a soloist and prefers to play only on Second Life because his real life doesn’t allow him to actually form a band, perform gigs, and record songs. But his studio at home is open to all his friends and just recently he has snagged another soul for Second Life Live Music. Her real life name is Julene Jones, and he bounces musical compositions off her. They get together and jam out. She comes on Second Life and does live dual stream with him. “She comes into the studio to write songs and perform with me. Usually on Saturdays and Sundays we perform on SL together.” So, despite what James’ avatar is doing on stage, in real life you’ll find him performing barefoot but never in the nude. He never knows when someone may pop in and surprise him! James has just recently finished a six song EP. For James, this compilation was a lot of structured work that re-worked many of his singles. It was a lot of technical work that is not his usual style of writing and composing songs. In his creation processes he dislikes being so structured. But with all the hard work, James has been able to bring music lovers a great EP album! I encourage you to visit the website that he is selling his EP “In A Moment” and download the 6-track album. For now, he is going through all of his songs and “doing a first take. I’ll set up the microphone, record it, and upload it to SoundCloud.” He loves that he can perform to a receptive and welcoming audience in Second Life. It gives him the musical freedom to develop more music on his terms and his time.
Website: All Things James is Here Manager: Sher Salmson in SL, SpiritFire Entertainment: “Live Music in a Virtual World” Group name: AcousticEnergy Fan Club Other links: YouTube, SoundCloud , and Fandalism
James, thank you so much for your time. I loved doing this interview with you and making available to the SL Community. Hopefully your audience will be drawn closer and know a few more things about the man behind AcousticEnergy Nitely. Thanks again. ~Sloane Cerise CEO of Slo~Motion Promotions: Bringing You the Music You Want to Hear. It’s time to let the MUSIC out!
interview conducted 9-7