Tristan James

Tristan James

 Chicago, Illinois, USA

Tristan James is a dynamic and intense performer that incorporates many musical styles into an original and captivating audio/visual experience. Listeners will be captivated by traces rock, jazz, trip hop, and salvaged relics of UK garage, drum and bass, and industrial music.


Tristan James has been performing nationally since 2001. Aside from is work as an entertainer, he is a community organizer and educator, as well as a music producer and recording engineer.

Tristan, 25, was born in Canada and has lived in London, LA, Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago. Tristan grew up in the rave scene performing throughout the Midwest. As a kid, his clashes with the law drove him into politics and social awareness. He grew determined to get an education at any cost. He is now a classically trained musician/composer and also has a bachelor's degree in audio and engineering and a graduate degree in arts management. Thanks to his past influences and study of politics, philosophy, and music, Tristan now strives to provide entertainment as a revolutionary artist and writer, while spreading the message of liberation and creating real social change.

Tristan James is also a founding member and artist at Proletariat Productions, Chicago's socially conscious record label.

Tristan also helps manage an online music journal called United Front and publishes a globally distributed PodCast. He interviews musicians, artists, activists and others, in an attempt to understand and promote the revolutionary artists movement.



Written By: Tristan James

Walk tall you’re stronger than you know/this time we’ll be united/The more we fight the more we grow/The fire has been ignited/Until we walk that lonely road/we won’t know what real life is/but when the truth has been bestowed, we’ll learn what wrong & right is

Call me a mess, say that I’m depressed tell me what I should be when this sickness you have given me//If only you knew the destruction that you cause, a system of oppression, enforced with perfect laws—perfectly flawed—to hold us down//They eat the flesh of my back like a platter/It’s ok/Cuz they’re only getting fatter, stuffing their face with the things we hold dear, but have no fear- we’ll take it all back soon/We’re slaves to capital but we still stand tall/the pressure of the few can’t do/this much longer for the harder they push/we’re only getting stronger just hold tight/at the end of every tunnel is a light/As more start to see/what they do to you & me/those in power start to freak/saying, “Stop, this can’t be/Let’s take it overseas/where no one else can see/We’ll claim to set them free/& then survive off their poverty”/This must be/stopped/And now the ball drops/Democracy/is closely related to hypocrisy/Investing billions in a lie/while their own people die/crushing those who strive/only for a better life/This is bullshit!/Don’t let ’em get away with it



Written By: Tristan James

I wake each morning/flip on the tube/listen to the drama that comes on the news/Children blown away/genocide every day/AIDS & neglect/this whole world is a wreck/But today/I’m still doing nothing/I hear the screams still echoing/from drowning flood victims/Neglect in Katrina/I still ain’t gonna listen/Wait for Israeli distractions/before I take action/I’ll wave my poster/“Don’t bomb Lebanon!”/And tomorrow/I’ll wake
up & still do nothing

Whatcha gonna do when the whole world hates you?/ Won’t you be ashamed if they hold you to blame?/Will you close your eyes again?/Will you turn your back on them?

My paychecks are funding/a war that’s illegal/but I’ll tell myself/that these lies must be real//I’ll wait for that vote/to pull the chains off the throats/of Guantanamo residents/We hate you Mister President/but our anger’s still not evident/cuz tomorrow we’ll wake up/still doing nothing/Here come those Democrats/ Let’s invest all we have in them/pick the lesser evil/ and we’ll get screwed again/ We can start a club selling t-shirts in bright colors/ but what’s that gonna do/ when we fight with each other?/ And tomorrow the
world will still wait/And tomorrow the world will still wait/I can see those Minutemen/building walls
around the borders/killing off undocumented/with fascistic orders/I just want to stop them/Someone ought to drop them/but not me/cuz I’m stuck here/still doing nothing



Written By: Tristan James, Avery R Young, Ecclesiastes

[TJ]: Can you hear this one coming through?/Put ya fists up/you know what to do/Tristan James ’pon the track with/avery in the place to be & Ecclesiastes/It’s the crew that’s comin with the truth/Intellection comin bulletproof/Some folks fear it/They don’t wanna get near it/Facts comin through, shit/They don’t wanna hear it/

Preachin to the choir, but the choir’s not singin/Let me hear your voices call out to me/When I hear your songs we’ll start to be free

[Syntax]: Syntax on the track & I told y’all cats/Bout time we all got goddamn mad/Take it to the streets y’all fuck the police/No we don’t need another election/to select the next oppressor/What we need is a muthafuckin insurrection/Damn right I said it/you fed up/then get up/and make some moves/the detonation’s awaitin/So trigger the fuse add a spark to the fuel/Truth always starts in the hands of a few/and I’m here to bring the good news/that it’s right to rebel so fight like hell/I know you heard it all before but we can’t afford/to keep ignoring keep on snoring/What’s it gonna take to wake up?

[avery]: I hope there comes a day when they all can’t turn away/I hope these words we say will plant some seeds of change/I hope you hear our voices & raise it along with we/Join us in the marches & love the world back to harmony

[TJ]: Respect to the ones bringin friction to the system/Listen/can you hear those brave ones calling?/Singing as the racist
structure’s falling/ Voices, bring about the sound of
reason/also known to the masters as treason/But our chants ain’t loud enough/and the masses ain’t wakin up/It’s time we all start to rise up singin [all:] We won’t stand for none of this shit/And the balance is shifting just wait ’til this tips/And your time is come/The days of hardship are done/And we’re calling on the masses in shadows of doubt/We can shake the system if we start to shout out!

VOCALS: T.James, avery r. young,


Written By: Tristan James

It’s time to wake up from this American daze/and wise up to their American ways/Wipe your eyes off from this American haze/and realize you ain’t nuthin but American Slaves/First they used us in the search for the gold/found our labor priceless/so as slaves we were sold/Now they use us in the search for the oil/in exchange for bread & books/spill Iraqi blood on the soil/

Cowboy you better ride tonight we know the time is right we’re comin for a fight, we’re ready for you/Cowboy you better run away/victory’s ours today/this time we’re here to stay/we’re ready for you

They whisper lies of freedom/under cover of terrorism & WMDs/but they invented terror/conquering the West with their disease/and now they’re gettin paranoid,/with anthrax in the mailbox/but they were the first/bringing blankets with smallpox/So you wanna play cowboys do you?/Well this time we’ve got guns too/Cowboy everything that you do/it’ll backfire on you/The blood-soaked soil of these Western lands/contains the
blood-soaked seeds sown by the hands/of millions of slaves with a whip to their back/some Red & some White & some Black/And the seeds of terror, anguish & pain/weren’t sown by the Tubmans & Walkers in vain/cuz they weren’t growing fruit, just to be strange/They were cultivating a plan to make the system rearrange

DRUMS: Matthew Roan


Written By: Tristan James

In the belly of the beast is where I feast/Braising the walls/with a fire from the east/Slice like khukuri/until the pressure’s released/The more we fight, the more our powers increase

We demand a change/We demand change

It’s time for retribution, we need a solution/Suffocate revisionist delusions/Fuck the constitution,/We need a goddamn revolution/The time for change is now/and in our struggle/we’ll find out how/eradicate oppressive roots of Chow/bathing in the wisdom of Marx, Lenin, & Mao/So let the red flag fly up in the sky,/I see the beautiful future reflecting in your eyes/Fighting for our vision revealing all their lies/Bring forth the final struggle/I’m hearing battle cries/Why don’t you listen up while I sing this song/We’ve got to take power while we’re feeling strong/I said that, I know, we’ve waited too long,/But if we fight now, we just can’t go wrong/The treads of the vanguard can take us thru the mire/Fighting for the future through smoke & barbed wire/Even a small spark can start a prairie fire,/but we’ve got to break the system, to take what we desire

FLUTE: Jennifer Beck


Written By: Tristan James

Don’t touch me—I’m afraid of you/I don’t know what you’ll do/Can’t trust me/I can’t trust you/I’ll live my life in solitude/I know you might feel the same/Neither one of us is to blame/I feel like we must prove/that we must live a life in solitude

They’ve got us penned up in here/it’s ever so clear that/ they want us living in fear/But we’re not seeing/ this is the plan/ that we’ll never understand/the joys of/a life in a free society/Don’t trust me/I need you/ Believe me & then I’ll fuck with you/Your hate breathes/such a cool breeze/What your life needs is right here with me/Come take it/Yes, you want it/I’ll withhold truth just to be with you/I just want to be
without you/but I just can’t live
without you/Let this be the battle hymn for those who are deceived/living life in solitude frombigotry & greed/Keep us drugged up/while they sit pretending like they’re sane/ spreading paranoia like a needle in the vein/I’m captive as/ contradiction runs/velvet lies flow from their tongues/ I’ll patronize/ You’ll
condescend/ Subsist in a world of pretend/We have the power/You’ve got the means/Their strength is less than it seems

VOCALS: Jennifer Beck


(Released Feb. 2, 2007) Debut album of Tristan James. A fusion of trip hop, industrial, gospel, jazz, and rock.

A compilation produced by Proletariat Productions as a fundraiser for World Can't Wait - Drive Out The Bush Regime. Tristan also produced many of the songs on the album which includes artists such as Pulitzer Prize winning author, Studs Terkel, Radio Mango, Mind's Hideaway, and Avery R Young.


Radio & Television:
Tristan James' music has been featured on
The Wizard, from Northeastern University: WZRD 88.3
Radio Arte: WRTE 90.5
WCRX - Chicago Underground

Set List

Tristan James can perform with several production levels ranging from small bar/coffee house sets or lager stage productions with lighting, video projection, and surround sound audio.

His usual set is very dynamic and keeps crowds on their toes with ambient, down-tempo songs, transitioning to raging electronic music, then shifting into exciting dance rhythms. TJ blends many genres while interspersing his more popular songs like "Cowboy," United," We Demand Change," "Preaching to the Choir," and "Solitude."

Set times are flexible (45-120 min), but should be scheduled in advance as the show requires some preproduction programming.

Sample Set List:
Eros 3:53
Preaching to the Choir 6:01
I'll Take You There 4:02
Acceptance 4:22
Are You Aware? 2:26
What I Am Thinking 2:21
Solitude 6:27
Leaves Fall 4:59
The Guns of Brixton 5:02
Cowboy 6:14
Our World 0:47
When The Whole World Hates You 5:26
United 5:35
We Demand Change 4:26
Falling Like the Rain 4:56
Let it Burn 6:5