James Smith, aka High Maintenance, may appear a relative newcomer to the drum and bass world, but he did not need time to catch the attention of some of biggest names in the game. Shortly after releasing some digital tracks in 2009, this producer began to hear his tunes on John B's podcasts; it wasn't long before he was sought after by a number of respected drum and bass labels. In early 2011, High Maintenance opted to sign onto Shimon's Audioporn Records and DisasZt's Mainframe Recordings, kicking off with a tremendous remix of Ed Rush and Tali's Dark Days, the lead track from Tali's album, Dark Days, High Nights.
High Maintenance began his ascent into music at the age of thirteen with the guitar. He could put on an album and learn it all in an hour. When this became banal, High Maintenance decided to pick up a new instrument: the drums. Soon the fifteen-year-old maverick and his newly formed band began playing events in his hometown of Haywards Heath, England. Writing tracks with the band gave him his first taste of his own musical abilities, but having to compromise on his aural vision proved frustrating. I just wanted to compose a whole piece by myself without having to rely on other people, he says, so I started producing.
High Maintenance soon became impressed with the sounds coming out of the electronic music scene, which led to his first production: a remix of Daft Punk's Harder Better Faster Stronger. The realization that he could turn his love of music into a career didn't come about until a number of years later though, when he produced a track entitled Sun Flares. He says, It was the first track that I had produced through active monitor speakers. They definitely changed my life.