James A. Copeland is a diminutive, 28-year-old Cape Town born and bred wunderkind. He may appear unassuming and quiet but put him on a stage behind a set of turntables and he becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Continuing to make waves in the highly competitive trance scene of Cape Town under his alias, Broken Toy, he has recently added an extra psy-trance notch on his belt in the form of Super Evil and has broken into the newly revived swing music genre as James. A. Copeland the ‘ 1930’s, Havana born mysterious operator of the Swing & Big Band Operation.”


At the age of 24 James was signed to Alchemy Records and released his debut album filled with nine tracks that ensured he fast became a regular on stage at all major trance festivals. Four years down the line and he is now headlining many of these festivals as well as the off-season indoor parties. Asked how he feels about this, he gives the humble response of ‘just enjoying playing music that people enjoy listening to.”

Now that Broken Toy is an established entity he has shifted his attention to other projects. One of these is the insane pairing of James and Adriano Rodrigues, a fellow Paarl boy who can create sounds on an electric guitar that most would deem impossible. With Adrian on electric guitar and James on the decks they create a sound that can only be described as psy-rock…and that’s exactly what James was going for. The feeling they get when the bass drop of “we want your soul’ kicks in and every person on the dance floor shouts those lyrics at exactly the same time is what they want to create with every one of their songs. A feeling of unity and happiness all rolled into one kick-ass set that leaves people panting for more.


After all the fun that is created by his trance genre sets the idea of a swing music persona is mind-boggling. And yet that is exactly what he has created with James A. Copeland, the Cuban DJ shrouded in the mystery of his bands disappearance and his rise to fame…well that’s his story and he’s sticking to it.


Swing music has only recently made a comeback, especially on the Cape Town scene of eclectic music taste and people are devouring his tunes faster then he can produce them. With mentors like Swing Gods Fletcher and Toby2Shoes, James hopes to become as much of a favourite on the Swing scene as he is on the trance scene and with his live set at the Flamjangled Tea Party, “one of his favourite festivals” he feels that people are receiving him warmly and are happy to distinguish his various persona’s and genre types. Not much is known of his swing DJ guise and it seems that is how he intends on keeping it. He wants to create an air of illusion around a scene that is fast becoming a firm favourite in the party plans of Cape Town youth and adults alike. Much of what was asked during the interview was vague and non-descript…exactly how he wants it, for now.


Although he claims not to have any concrete plans for new projects in the near future, James has shown that a lot can be done in four years and we should definitely watch this space. From being the trance icon of Broken Toy, to the one part evil of Super Evil to the Cuban refugee of James A. Copeland, he has shown that there is much to be done and well received in Cape Town and he definitely plans on using that as much as he can for as long as he can