How was 2017 for you?
Jay Hill: Wow, 2017 has been an outstanding year for me, which is really nice to say after a rough 2016. This year, I felt much more confident in my career progression as both a producer and DJ. Overall, I feel like I’m really starting to hone my sounds with both house and techno and push myself to step up my game doing vinyl only sets and presenting other genres out of my comfort zone like drum ‘n’ bass or dub techno to give people something fresh.
I worked my bum off this summer and took off September for Europe vacationing with friends and playing few gigs. Now that I’m back, I’m feeling pretty focused, healthy and balanced which frankly has required a good amount of holding boundaries and saying ‘no’ to a load of after hours parties. Don’t get me wrong, I love to let myself go every once in a blue moon and feel this is essential for an artist. But frankly, I ran in this hamster wheel for years (California and NYC) at the end of the day wasn’t outputting any music. If you’re really serious about trying to “make it” in this industry an abundance of such things will suck days of productivity out of you.
Wow, so many! A big (huge) one is that I got my first vinyl release, a song that meant a lot to me. It blows my mind someone thought it was worthy to press on vinyl (shouts out Derek Kamm of Local Raider!). If I’m being honest, it still puts a smile on my face and little tear in my eye to see this track up on Juno Records (with three other stellar tracks) and actually have a piece of hardware with my name on it.
Another biggie is that I got my first advance payment for one track (different label). For me as a growing artist, this was an incredible moment. Not only one of great shock and having to call my manager in Sweden to make sure he sent the right contract, but also in a strange way felt like, “Wow, my music is starting to make an impact out there albeit with the A&R folks or other DJs playing my tracks around the world.” Lastly, I’ve had the great opportunity of being able to collaborate with some amazing talent here in Philly working with live instruments. I’ve been integrating live instrument musicians into my DJ sets as well and opened up for legend King Britt on the roof at Output Club in Brooklyn. Following that, I was able to do a collab project with the infamous, Pete Moss and we just got in a beautiful remix by the amazing, Sid Vaga on that one. Really proud of the output on these projects.
Sometimes it’s disheartening to finish said projects above and end on a big high then after sending it out to labels we initially got great feedback by some very big labels which didn’t translate (thus far) into signing pen to paper. That said, this industry has made me shift my energy a lot and feel these are defining and humbling moments that come for most of us I’m regularly practicing patience and releasing expectations. I believe music is a fate thing. I trust these songs will get into the right hands/ears at the right time. Now, I’m finding myself more chill about the process and seeing it flow a little smoother. It’s like this: Finish a track. Great! Awesome! Woohoo! Onto the next.
Song of the year?
Bon Iver’s “Holocene”
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
I’ve been asked to play at Ministry of Sound in London in early January. That pretty much notches one off the bucket list right off the bat! Aside from that, I have very lofty goals for the tracks I want to make this winter/spring before gigs start ramping up again. I’m thinking intently about how I can bring something different and unique not just another artist cranking out more “soulless big room tech house club bangers.” I really want to craft my output so that it has depth and array of emotions people can connect with. This may sound strange, but I’m trying to preserve a bit of mystery with my music that I feel is lacking in the days of over saturation of live reality TV bedroom DJ videos, Snapchat, etc. Yet, meanwhile trying to maintain focus and still engage with people, so as to not and come off a weird, non-social, stuck up asshole either. I don’t think that will get you very far. At the end of the day, I’m asking myself “Was it fun?” and I think that’s the best question I should be asking myself.