James Ledesma finds that by not working in music in his day job, it frees his mind in the evening.
“When I get home, I am able to be creative,” said Ledesma, a Carmel resident who works for the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Carmel. “I’ve had jobs that are in entertainment or with the media and it diminishes creativity sometimes. Having something that is just a straight day job is different. I’m not looking to have a (full-time) music career anymore. It’s just a hobby that has become a job. It’s ironic that I spent so many years in Los Angeles trying to make a career, and I come out to Indiana and throw my hands up in the air. And now I’m having more opportunities than I did in L.A.
“In L.A., everyone expects you to work for free. Here, people pay you for your time.”
Ledesma, who turns 47 in January, moved to Carmel in 2010 because his ex-wife’s family was from the area. He quickly got gigs recording audio for independent/fledgling movie and web projects.
In the past, Ledesma has played bass in a band with Carmel resident Jeremiah Cosner and his band, Concrete Sailor, but those opportunies have been limited in 2020.
He also has a long-running music podcast. He tries to do three episodes a month, when possible.
“The last five or six episodes have all been original music, by either myself or collaborators, but I’m using my own name,” he said. “Magic Christians will be the subject of the next episode I post.”
In the past, Ledesma has released his music under humorous pseudonyms or under Magic Christians.
“I have actually started a new project with a former bandmate, drummer Joe Richey from Cosner’s band, and we’re calling it Chromata 4,” he said. “We’ve been writing original music since October, and that has been the reason why the podcast hasn’t been as high a priority. We plan to start creating social media for that project on Bandcamp and Spotify. We had a basement studio going for a while. In fact, that’s how Chromata 4 formed. We were jamming one day in the basement studio and the songs evolved. I’d say we have 15 compositions that we’re working on.
“The plan is to self-release very soon. The music is more electronic in nature and very percussive.”
Ledesma’s original songs and some covers also are on Bandcamp under themagicchristians.bandcamp.com/music.
Ledesma worked on finishing some songs during the COVID-19 lockdown in mid-March and April.
“The quarantine gave me the time and freedom to work on songs,” he said.
He also spent time on a third draft of a novel he has been working on for several years.
In addition, he has two church positions, including a paid position at Faith Presbyterian, 8170 Hague Rd., Indianapolis.
“I play bass in the (Faith Presbyterian) house band and help record and mix the songs for the virtual service on Sunday,” he said.
Ledesma also volunteers to play bass in the band at his church, Faith Church, at 9125 N. College Ave., Indianapolis.
Ledesma worked in radio and played in several different bands in Los Angeles.
“At one point, I was in four different bands at one time, just playing gigs,” said Ledesma, noting that bass players always seem to be in demand.
Ledesma’s podcast is on buzzsprout.com/1270193/episodes/6268579-mps-hr-55.