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Interview: Jay Hill

today27/03/2023 10

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The latest in our interview series is Jay Hill who spoke more about her latest EP ‘Shine’ on People of the Light Records. Grab your copy here and enjoy the read.

Your creative process seems to draw from various sources of inspiration. Can you share a recent non-musical experience that has influenced the way you approach your compositions and how it has left a mark on your work?

Great question. For me, it’s really an organic thing that I allow to flow in a very simple, natural and unforced manner. Sometimes I’ll hear a line in a film the way that it’s spoken and words will vibe with me. Other times, it could be the sound & tone of someone’s voice and their essence that resonates. I’ll use it and try to work with it to try and emulate the impact in the song I’m working on. I’m always searching for things that will bring that deep hearted soul into my music.

I also think it’s important to listen to other kinds of music whether it’s folk, ambient, bluegrass, hip-hop, grunge etc – be a listener and take mental notes of how stand out artists within those genres are creating a name for themselves. I get a lot of influences from meditations as well . . .

The electronic music scene is constantly evolving, with subgenres emerging and disappearing as trends come and go. How do you maintain your unique musical identity while staying relevant and innovative in an ever-changing landscape?

Another intriguing question (I love this can you tell? 🙂 To answer, I think you really have to abandon the idea of keeping some kind of persona and frequently remind yourself of your main task: creating/perfecting your art whether that is making music or building a story via a DJ set. As for subgenera’s I really think lately things are getting a bit crazy & neurotic with these. When I am going to input a release for my label, my distributor will ask me – “so what genre’s do you think this fits in?” And my response is always a struggle – it could be x or y or z technically speaking! If I’m being honest, I hope the industry gets back to the core genre’s. At the end of the day you have to follow your heart and make the sounds that you love to hear. . .

Alongside that I think you have to detach from the “business” of making music & feeling the constant pressure to promote yourself. Without sounding trite, if you waste all your time producing your social media content then that’s time taking away from making your art so you have to find that balance. Where you’re nourishing the art you need to make in order to promote yourself. I think you also have to abandon feeling like you must promote yourself always. I think people get annoyed & bored with the perpetual barrage of people selling themselves. If that means you post something that’s funny or insightful, do it from an authentic place & let your sincerity shine through.

Collaboration can lead to unexpected and exciting results. If you could join forces with another artist or producer who operates outside your typical genre, who would that be and what do you think the fusion of your styles would sound like?

I would absolutely love to make music with Ry X from the Howling project. He is one of my biggest inspirations of all time. I think he approaches music & life from a really humble and healthy mindset. He’s not only super talented singer & songwriter, but you can tell from listening to his music he has no big agenda or aspiration to get rich from the music industry. I think he comes from a place of deep integrity and loves to create from the heart. These are the kind of artists I gravitate towards aligning with and hope one day the universe crosses our paths. . .

As an artist, you have the power to take your audience on an emotional journey through your music. What is the most memorable reaction you’ve witnessed from a fan, and how did that experience impact you as a creator?

If I’m being truly honest I don’t think of myself as someone that has fans or followers waiting in the wings for new music or DJ sets from me. It’s always nice when you play a gig and someone comes up to you and says “I came out just to see you!” Or after you’ve played a set and you walk out to the bar or in the line at the loo people tell you what a great set & ask your name. This happened at my last gig here in Philadelphia and were special moments that made me feel like I’m apart of bringing them a special music experience.

These days (online) it’s really hard to weed through all the noise to have a clue who you’re devoted listener’s are. Especially with all the fake hype, fans etc – it makes it so hard to know what and who is real anymore I feel that the music industry is learning that numbers on paper mean absolutely nothing anymore. Looking at a song on YouTube that has 1 million plays & comments could have been bought and the song could be horrible.

Also to me there’s no greater impact than having an artist that’s one of your heroes appreciate your talent. . . recently Laurent Garnier asked my manager if my label could send him one of our releases on vinyl. It happened so organically and that made me realize if you create from the heart, there’s really no limits to who you can reach. . .

In the fast-paced world of music production and live performances, it can be challenging to find the time for personal growth and self-reflection. How do you strike a balance between your artistic pursuits and maintaining mental well-being, and what strategies do you employ to stay grounded and focused?

One thing I came to discover about myself through the pandemic was how essential it is for me to finding time & space for personal development & reflection. I try to find some time everyday away from my studio often getting exercise in nature, listening to meditations or just being silent with the sounds of nature surrounding me. I call it “disconnecting to reconnect.” In these moments I gather strength, confidence & resilience where creative brain is being renewed and all ideas start to generate from this sacred space.. .

You’ll hear these influences even in my hardest techno track 🙂

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