While attending the High School at Stratford-upon-Avon, Righton met Simon Taylor-Davis and taught him to play the guitar. While working towards a career as a performer, Righton worked as a music Teacher. He attended the Benicassim festival, where he again met Simon Taylor-Davis, and soon after that the two met Jamie Reynolds in New Cross, London. When Reynolds lost his job, he bought a studio kit with his redundancy money. The three men began to record and perform live under the name of "Klaxons (Not Centaurs)", a name inspired by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti's The Futurist Manifesto. In 2005 this band played with Finnigan Kidd as Drummer, until Kidd left and Steffan Halperin joined in 2006, Around this time, the band began using the shorter name of "Klaxons".
Klaxons signed to Polydor Records in 2006. After many successful tours, they announced in 2014 that their current tour would be their last.
James Righton signed to Marathon Artists/House Anxiety in 2016 under the moniker, Shock Machine. Righton's new project was announced in March with the release of the video for the first single, Shock Machine, directed by Saam Farahmand. The eponymous introduction to this project was recorded in a cabin in the south of France with Producer James Ford. The first single Shock Machine, released on 8th March 2016 with accompanying video directed by Saam Farahmand, was featured on his four-track debut EP Open Up The Sky. After the release of the EP, Righton released the single Lost in the Mystery followed by remixes of the track by Jonas Rathsman and Nimmo. Remixes of Open Up the Sky and Shock Machine by Soulwax, Beyond the Wizards Sleeve and LXURY were also released. Shock Machine's debut album was released on 25th August 2017.