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James Mack grew up with his sister and two brothers, and early on they were all put through martial arts training by their father, a well-respected and highly proficient practitioner of several martial styles. When they finished their rigorous training, they would retreat to their room to play music. As James told us, this was their solace.
The discipline James learned from this kind of training stood him in good stead for a life in music, cutting his teeth in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) alongside his good friend, the deeply missed Chris Dagley, on drums.
James has certainly kept himself busy since those early days and with all the tours, recordings and shows you would think he had experienced enough. With Cirque Du Soleil, however, James has become part of one of the most challenging shows on the planet.
Rhythm caught up with James to take a closer look at the impressive array of percussion gear he needs to soundtrack a Cirque Du Soleil production, and discuss what it takes to perform 10 gruelling shows a week. Here - among the shots of the aforementioned percussion setup you’ll see in this gallery - are snippets from that interview.