Born in Devon and growing up in Leicestershire, England, James Holden is a British electronica artist and DJ. Drawn to music at a young age, he developed a particular passion for the piano and the violin. While studying mathematics at Oxford University during his teens, he discovered the work of techno artists such as Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, and Carl Cox. He began producing his own work during this time, and put out his first single, "Horizons," in 2000. The track became an international hit and Holden spent the next two years putting out material via labels such as Positiva and Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto before starting his own imprint, Bedroom Community, in 2003. That same year saw further hits for Holden with "Nothing" (recorded with English vocalist Julie Thompson) and "A Break in the Clouds." Success continued for the producer throughout the 2000s as he remixed tracks by household names such as Depeche Mode, Madonna, and Britney Spears and also helped launch the careers of fellow electronic artists such as Nathan Fake and Luke Abbott.
Holden put out his first proper full-length release, The Idiots Are Winning, in 2006. The record marked a departure from the euphoric and ethereal nature of his earlier material, earning comparisons to the eclectic work of Boards of Canada and Underworld. Some years of inactivity followed, with Holden choosing to focus on running his label and DJ'ing. However, the desire to put out another full-length soon took hold and he began to work on a follow-up that was less dancefloor-based and more concerned with mood and feeling. His sophomore effort -- titled The Inheritors -- saw release in 2013. Holden continued to work in this vein and pursued a more atmospheric and psychedelic route for his third full-length, Animal Spirits, released in 2017. The album featured longtime collaborators Etienne Jaumet and Tom Page (the latter of dance act RocketNumberNine) and was partly inspired by his experience recording the 2015 album Marhaba with Floating Points and Moroccan Gnawa musician Maalem Mahmoud Guinia.