Jay Hill is moving into an exciting new phase of
her blossoming artistic career. Based in her
studio in Philadelphia, the soulful city’s chilled
vibes, down-to-earth attitude and serious
musical history, form the perfect backdrop for
an artist striving for excellence every day.
Fully focused on her creativity, regardless of
fluctuating world circumstances, Jay is currently
building an impressive, musically diverse
catalogue of releases on her newly launched
People of The Light label, centered on
presenting music as an art form, unique
offerings bound with soul and emotion.
From electronica featuring Faithless collaborator Harry Collier; to techno with renowned poet Ursula Rucker; via an exploration of deep tech vibes on her personal anthem ‘Life is a Beautiful Day’ and some light-hearted experimentation with Wolf + Lamb’s Aquarius Heaven, Jay Hill is thriving, her inspiration untethered and flowing freely. Add precisely curated remixes to the equation, from mavericks such as Cevin Fisher and Tiger Stripes, and this new endeavour is perfectly primed to flourish and grow.
Notable recent appearances on Hot Creations offshoot Emerald City with ‘I Am Here’ (featuring Lazarusman) and a timeless ‘Mercurial’ for Mr C’s Superfreq have further raised Jay Hill’s global profile. Never one to limit her creativity, two tracks also feature in a new short film titled ‘Exposures’, set for release when film festival season starts back up again.
And, when the time comes, Jay Hill’s genre
blurring vinyl and digital DJ sets will once again
captivate audiences at stylish NYC rooftop bars,
on dreamy sun-drenched Balearic Islands and in
dark, sweaty Berlin warehouses. For people with
open minds, electronic music doesn’t have
boundaries, only infinite possibilities, and Jay Hill
is a unique artist who breathes life into
everything she does with true emotion.
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
First off, I just want to say thank you for reaching out & taking an interest in me! It’s always special for an artist to hear that our names are getting out into the big music world!
Originally, I started a business in Los Angeles writing bios & press kits for some world renown DJ’s & music producers. As part of those efforts, my clients really intrigued me with the things they were talking about & so I took up DJing lessons so that I could have a better understanding of this phenomenon of raving and dance music culture.
Through that experience, I discovered that I had my own talent for finding, selecting & mixing music that I loved. In 2011 I moved 3K miles across the country to New York City to “go for it” and from there fate took over & connected a bunch of dots that lead me to where I am now. In NYC, I went back to school for an audio engineering degree and had a day gig at Sony Music which I think helped immerse me even further into it. After several years of being in the NYC scene, I decided I needed to move somewhere I could build my own music studio.
In 2017 relocated to Philadelphia which is pretty close to NY but has a bit more of a chiller vibe (& cheaper) so I could focus on my productions.
How did you come up with your latest project?
My latest track was a three month labor of love -- sometimes they come together quickly and other times take more time & nurturing. The final output of ‘Already Broken’ is a driving club techno tune but contains some dark & light elements. It’s a bit of a Detroit techno meets Melodic techno mélange. The drums are really heavy but it’s matched with some melodic arpeggios and chords that bring softness and emotion.
All the music I put out has to contain a deeper emotion to it, that real soul kinda vibe.
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from California, I was born & raised in the southern part of the coast and then moved up north to San Francisco and the mountains in Lake Tahoe.
Where do you live now?
Just outside center city Philadelphia, in the quaker state – Pennsylvania.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
I do and the older I get the more I realize how important this is. I have a special relationship with Philadelphia, the people & the music scene here. What I love about Philly is that it’s still a big city but you can easily/quickly find places to escape into nature or the countryside to clear your head. This is essential
for my art being able to get away from the stress & noise so that I can recharge my creative batteries.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
A deep love and passion for amazing underground house & techno music. I keep discovering new tracks and artists that push the boundaries in new ways and blow me away with the unbelievable music they are creating. This is not merely a “job” it’s a life calling.
On the DJ side of things, seeing people’s faces from the DJ booth when getting lost in the music & escaping from life in their honest & vulnerable place, is such a beautiful gift. This is the reason I could never only produce music. This is the reason I launched my label People of the Light as this embodies the culture I want to create through my music.
As much as I am an introverted reclusive artist, I live for these moments to feel this energy & connection in the flesh. . .
How do you want to shape your career?
What a beautiful, unique question. . . in this day and age, what I long for is for people to come to me via organic, natural ways. When this happens, it’s truly a beautiful thing. . . perhaps a DJ has discovered me or my record label on some of the websites targeted for DJ’s and they choose to find me on socials or my soundcloud & reach out/respond to something that connected with them.
I strive to make music that in 10 or 20 years, you put on & still has the same relevance. My music is not always the trendiest or top selling at the moment, but at the end of the day I feel if emotionality and honesty are translated through your work, that will always be relevant.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
I’m not one for being creative with restrictions, I’m not very fast with my productions or remixes these days, and I’m ok with that. These days, I prefer to take my time and create things from a place where I can make them the very best they can be. I don’t start a new project until I’ve finished the last one, this is
just how I work. I see this career path in electronic music as a marathon not a sprint, so I really don’t feel any pressure to make low quality stuff rapidly. Quality over quantity for me. Always.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
My latest tune which I referenced in your 2nd question - “Already Broken” the title came from the Netflix series, Peaky Blinders, Season 1. For those who have watched this, they will know the moment this came from. . .
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
Yes & no. Oftentimes I’m really tired of a tune after I’m done with it and it’s reached that point where I know there’s no more work to be done. But the part I have a hard time with, often is after all the sweat, blood & tears that went into it behind the scenes (which does happen even in dance music believe it or not), the uncertainty of the labels I am sending to will hear it with the same way I’ve made it & connect to it. This just takes a lot of self confidence & humility, knowing what you’ve made is something special & will eventually reach the “right” ears. If it doesn’t happen quickly that’s OK. I trust the process & unfolding of my musical journey – it will eventually get into the right hands/ears of people that will “get it” and “get me” too.
Do you feel an emotional attachment with your music?
Music is a connection. It’s our way of sharing pieces of ourselves with the world & exploring that more honestly with each other. . . if you look deeper into the careers/lives of the world’s biggest DJ’s and producers, you’ll see they had/have a connection with people. And that’s the key – to find a way to mold one’s career in a way to connect with people & they with you. This is not always a clear & easy path, but I truly believe it can be done. It’s a way of putting ourselves out there just enough but not too much.
For me, I hope that people see what’s on the outside (like images on socials & what not) & then listen to the music to be intrigued at what they hear. I don’t think art has to look a certain way on the outside but that it somehow magnetically creates a heart-to-heart connection from within. . .
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Soulful (the real kind)
Where do they go to listen NOW?
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
I had someone tell me that my song ‘Life is a Beautiful Day’ brought tears to their eyes every time they listened to it . . this is not something that house & techno producers rarely (if ever) hear. This track was released at the height of the Covid pandemic and I think people really connected with it on a deeper level.
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
I do - the third tune of mine getting pressed on a vinyl record. This is something so rare & precious in this digital age ~ to actually have your name/music on a piece of hardware! It’s coming out on my label, People of the Light records (our 1st vinyl release) and it’s a special tribute release to Detroit legend, Mike Huckaby
who sadly died of Covid/stroke. It will only be available on vinyl which makes it even more special so people will have to purchase the record to get it!
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
I have a few things in the works at the moment, but nothing confirmed that I can share publicly ☺ I’d love to be able to list a whole schedule of gigs, but that’s just not the reality of where things are at the moment. That’s quite OK. . .
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you! Thank you for this interview! Thank you again for seeking me out, taking a sincere interest and the intriguing & thoughtful questions.
Bless xx jh