Jay Haze began playing music at the age of 8 in northern Pennsylvania. But his trips to NYC helped fuel a techno fire inside of him. Jay has released music under countless monikers, and collaborated with some of the best. His music has been released on labels Leftroom, Bpitch, Soul Clap Records, Finale Sessions, Get Physical and many more. Outside of the studio, Jay is incredibly active in giving back to communities in need, with his DJs 4 DRC, Red Dot Relief, Toys & Needs being just some of the organizations that he was formed and worked with. We had the pleasure of chatting with Jay on a variety of topics for our latest interview.
We understand that you started playing music at a very young age, and that you play a number of instruments including guitar, piano, bass, cello, flute and many more. Tell us a bit about growing up playing so many different instruments and how this has helped translate to your 10+ year career in electronic music.
It was a nice atmosphere being around so much music, it was a great escape from many of the things I was dealing with as a child. My father was always collecting music as well, so I was not only listening to classical, I had funk, soul and rock up in the mix. Anytime you get some type of musical training it is going to help your ideas come out more fluently, learning software is another step- but once you get into it you can really fly, the love of music and the possibilities within those frequencies is what motivates me to keep going, the musical training only helps expressing that.
Your love of music certainly comes through with your work. Aside from music, what was life like growing up in a smaller town of Pennsylvania – not exactly the hot bed for house music.
Well, true it wasn’t a hot bed for music, but NYC was only 2 hours away and I always skipped school and took buses into the city to record shops and have weekends of illegal warehouse parties. Philadelphia was also close and is where I eventually moved to, which is a music hot spot, for all types of music. Growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania was about as depressing as depressing can get, that being said – I have no plans to live there again 🙂
Where/when were you first exposed to house and techno and when did you know that this was the music that you wanted to produce?
I was first introduced to techno by the Sonic Groove crew, which at the time was doing many events in NYC. At that time I was into more bleepy techno like Christian Vogel and Neil Landstrum. Back then it was a different style of mixing, it seemed so much more alive. when I started collecting old synths and sequencers and drum machines is when I really got fascinated, electronic music has since been the way I expressed the sonic ideas I had in my head
You have used a number of different aliases on your projects, Fuckpony probably being the most recognizable. How do you determine what moniker will be used for a project?
It all depends on the situation with people, and studio. Its an amazing feeling to collaborate on music, and when you combine energies you never know what will happen, but for instance, Fuckpony is always coming from an emotional side of house and techno.
We certainly dig that emotional side! Some of your monikers are collaborative, Subversion, Bearback, Social Being (Ricardo vs Jay) – what advantages do you see in working with others on some productions vs solo projects?
Just the combination of energy when its on, nothing can compare to collabs. Solo is lovely though because you have your own freedom, which of course can only come from being alone in your studio.
Your latest LP, Finding Oriya on Leftroom is another collaborative effort, this time with ESB. We understand that it was recorded after what appears to be a self discovery trip through the mountains of North America and Peru, when you met up with ESB and recorded the album in Vancouver. How did it all come about to record the album? How was that entire recording experience?
The recording session was super natural. I find it easy to connect with mountain people haha! I was getting lost in the mountains on purpose, trying to find something – trying to find a guiding star > this album was was recorded in connection with that shining star. with ESB I found such a peaceful connection and he is a very talented man, so this album was working on flow!
That sounds like an incredible experience. From the Press Release, we learned that you are going to be a father soon – first off congrats! As recent father’s ourselves (a few times over now!) we can tell you from experience that there is nothing like it. How much of an influence did this have on the album? There is definitely a deep emotional element that we hear in the album.
Well this album was a dedication to my unborn daughter- and much of the story around it involves the feelings attached to that change that was to come. so now I am a father of a 2 year old that makes me smile every time i think of her – it has changed me in a big way, I guess you know what i mean by that in your own way 🙂
We absolutely know what you mean! You are extremely active in helping communities in need, something that we admire and is an inspiration. From organizing DJs 4 DRC, to Red Dot Relief, to Toys & Needs – you are clearly making a difference. Have you always been involved helping those in need and how have others in the relatively tight knit music community assisted in your efforts?
Thank you for saying that. I do see more and more assistance coming in from this community, but for sure the real change has come from the people attending the events and being an actual part (behind the scenes) to making it happen.
We need as much love for these ideas and to continue helping in all ways we can. We have to be the ones rustling all them leaves off the tree of negativity.
How can others help with your efforts, what sites should they contact?
At the moment my blog is the closest link to me. www.jayhaze.org, and of course every time we make something happen we always promote it, so just staying close is the best way.
We will stay up to date with the blog. Lastly with 2014 coming to a close, are there any highlights from the past year that stand out for you.
I would have to say this year my biggest highlight was watching my daughter play with my equipment, watching her dance to a beat she was modifying- seeing her little attitude when she knew she was in control of a sound. That is a moment I will never forget.
Trust us man, there will be more of those moments and they never get old!