James was born in Dorking (Surrey, England) in 1963 and studied music at the University of York between 1982 and 1985.
From 1985 to 1988 he undertook further studies in composition at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna under the guidance of Erich Urbanner.
In 1988/89, he organised the new Dutch music festival in York from which Icebreaker was born. He has been Icebreaker’s artistic director since 1989, with whom he is active as a performer (flutes, panpipes, wind synthesiser) and arranger.
He has produced several of Icebreaker’s recent albums, including the new Apollo album, Music with Changing Parts, Cranial Pavement (with Richard Craig), Diderik Wagenaar (with James Woodrow and Richard Craig) and Extraction as well as remixed or remastered versions of Trance and Terminal Velocity.