New York City/Philadelphia-based DJ/producer Jay Hill is our illustrious guest for this week’s Hometown Heroes series.
Jay has been working the NYC party circuit the past five years. Having played at some of the finest clubs the city has to offer, such as Output, TBA Brooklyn, Le Bain and Verboten; having opened up for top talent like Adam Beyer, Ida Endberg, Max Cooper and Kevin Yost.
Having recently signed an EP to the fabled NYC label, King Street Sounds, Jay Hill is continually on an upward slope.
Check out this excellent mix the East Coast darling has concocted for us, and read more about Jay Hill in the interview below.
Hajer (orig. mix) – Daron Nalbandian
Affirmation orig. mix – Dance Spirit, Jon Charnis
Where I Was orig. mix (unreleased) – Jay Hill
Stagger (orig. mix) – Max & Pasteman
Time to Love (orig. mix) – Janeret
Return (orig. mix) – Dave Pad
Rendevous – Spiritchaser
Lionheart (orig. mix) – Jay Hill
Blink of an Eye (FW Remix) – Mega Jawns
Patience – Dave Pad
Our Time Our Place – Alain Hellion
Sidewalk – Nick bERINGER
Frank White (Rhythm & Soul Remix
We Invent the Future (orig. mix) – Diego Krause
Beckoning (orig. mix) – Jay Hill
Interview with Jay Hill
How did you get into dance music and DJing? Do you remember a specific moment of inspiration or was it an evolution?
The first intro to dance music was a bit of a happy accident. Around 2004, I was living in San Francisco playing guitar and writing songs just learning to record myself in ProTools. At the time I was really drawn towards trip hop, electronic fusion stuff like Massive Attack, Portishead & Everything but the Girl. Yet I was feeling a bit stagnant, unsure of where my life and music was going. . .
One weekend a girl friend from Manchester UK convinced me to go see Ben Watt spinning an underground party at DNA club. Reluctantly I obliged – and left completely stunned that a musician I had so much respect for could express himself so beautifully in another format. Watt emanates such an air of humility with his presentation of music. It was there I realized the power of house music combined with great DJ to deliver this everlasting experience for people in the room.
What’s the scene like in New York City? What parties and/or clubs would we want to check out?
To be transparent, I feel like New York is starting to bounce back from a dark & very lost undercurrent. I’ll spare details, but after pouring my heart & soul in that scene for 5 years, I was left feeling shattered by some of the stuff that was going on that didn’t vibe with me as an artist or a DJ. . .
On the flip side I recently had two amazing gigs b2b, one on the roof at Output and the next night at TBA that were absolute bliss. Many dear friends and loved ones came to support and I was able to play two very different sets to warm, welcoming happy faces that helped restore my faith in the NYC scene.
Recently, I decided to take a step back from the 24/7 grind in NY and relocated to Philadelphia. Which I have to say has been a rewarding decision on so many levels. I was able to afford to build my own music studio here, whereas in NY I was in a challenging studio-share situation. After getting my feet grounded here a bit, realized this was a matter of fate. Not only does Philly possess an unbelievable amount of music history – it’s full of such artistic talented genuine, sweet people that resonates with me a lot coming from chill west coast roots. Philly is close enough I can quickly get up to NY quickly on the weekends for gigs, see some wonderful friends and enjoy special moments.
For great parties to check out – one of my favorite venues is Le Bain on top of the Standard Hotel Highline. During summertime their Ete D’Amour Sunday rooftop parties are spectacular. Their musical programming is always top notch, matched with killer views as a backdrop that always puts me in a special place. . .
My friends Iman Rizky & Gavin Stephenson (ebb + flow) are doing some stellar boat parties (and elsewhere) in New York & Brooklyn. You’d be a fool to leave without experiencing one of these incredible boat affairs!
Do you have any residencies?
I don’t. . . I find New Yorkers to be particularly afraid of commitment – on all sides. Which I understand: with so many choices of great DJ’s I think people get confused about who is worthy of taking these kinds of risks. However, I’d certainly welcome it if the right door opened. . . right now instead of focusing on organizing parties, I’m building relationships with some solid labels – locally in NY and around the globe. My focus (in a weird way) is navigating through the music world seeking out labels that see something and believe in me, enough to help push me as I develop in my art vs. those that just sign your track and you never hear from again. These are the labels I hope to return my sincere devotion and support as well. . .
Which do you prefer – 115 or 125?
I’d like to be cool and say 115, but if I’m being truly honest about where my head and heart is at the moment – 125.
What gig do you dream about?
Playing on a magnificent remote island near the ocean where everyone is captivated in the moment of time and space. The orchestration of everything that’s happening into a real life symphony; everyone is engaged in the music and feels joy and freedom to express themselves as they desire. . . I’m pretty certain this dream is soon coming true as I am booked to play on the majestic island, Corfu Greece July 9 & 10.
What cool things do you have planned for 2016?
I am about to depart for Europe this summer and ardently excited to see what this journey unfolds. . . In September one of my most special releases Dream of You EP is coming out on legendary NYC label King Street Records. This is a great honor to be recognized by a label that has seriously deep roots in the house community.
Thereafter, excited to see where the chips continue to fall. . .
Tell us about your mix…
Hmm. I’m a little strange, I don’t really like to discuss my mixes too much as I hope they will communicate where my heart is at the moment . . . that said, when I started DJing I made a rule for myself to collect records & play only those I’m wholeheartedly in love with. . . oddly enough have included some of my own tracks here, which I don’t do often because I tend to get tired of them after I’m done making them. . . the rest of this set is comprised of tracks that have find a way of capturing my attention. That said, hope you enjoy this little Lovecast story. . .
Drink of choice…
Well I don’t drink hard alcohol anymore, so likely Sterling Vineyards white wine or on a rare occasion sangria with aspirin & B vitamins to follow.