Starting in the mid-’90s, Sharp was an influential figure in the electro-pop scene in Denver. He created dance parties around town, including Weird Touch, a monthly event at Syntax Physic Opera.
“I first knew him from a brit-pop night called Quid at the Snake Pit in ’95 to’96, and eventually we collaborated on a DJ night called Shaggy Robot,” says former DJ partner Shannon Kelly. “It was my first DJ night, and now I’ve been doing it since 2001.
“He was involved in a lot of different things," Kelly adds. "There were some lounge nights, too — like lounge music. There was a little bit of a trend of that, and he was a really eccentric person with really awesome style while humble at the same time. Very kind, witty, clever and approachable still. He had a little bit of attitude and flair, but he was never mean to people. He was always kind and had this really magnetic personality. Eccentric and humble was this weird dichotomy that he really embodied.”
“James was such a unique person, and he had a completely different outlook on life,” says his sister, Gennipher Sjodin. “A lot of that had to do with, I think, that we lived in Germany for four years during our very young and impressionable teenage years.”
Living in Germany during the 1980s, he was introduced to genres and styles of music that would influence him throughout his career and life.
“Every memory I have of James is tied up in music," Sjodin says. "He started really early on. When we lived in Germany, music was his way of coping with being in a new place and a new country. I think his first DJ gig was when he was fourteen or fifteen years old. He used to be a DJ for all the kids' parties that we’d go to. That’s kind of how he started, and it just blossomed from there. He had a different outlook on music. It wasn’t just your standard generic songs that everyone listened to. He listened to a lot of really obscure music and used that as his template for making the DJ nights that he did.
“He would deejay in Arizona when he was a teenager in high school, and when we moved to Denver when my father retired from the Air Force, he really got into the Denver club scene and really started to form his own identity," Sjodin continues. "He did a lot of really interesting themed dance nights, too. He was very provocative in the sense that he wanted to stir up memories for you. He didn’t want you to just dance to the music; he wanted you to stir up memories.”
“He didn’t care whether they liked it or not, to a certain extent,” Sjodin says with a laugh. “He wanted to submerge people in music that they may not have heard or may not know that they liked. It was all about genuine introduction with music with James. He used music as a form of therapy.
“It was his way of pulling people into his life," Sjodin says. "That’s how a lot of people know James, and I’m glad that he left that kind of legacy.”