Today, Justin Jay is releasing an idyllic dose of joyous sonic sensuality with his new album everything will come together, pt. 1, a new iteration of his sound inspired by his collaborative live band project Fantastic Voyage, which is also the name of his label. This majestic piece of work demanded further inquiry by its very nature, so we caught up with Justin to find out what the catalyst was for this evolution of his sound and where he’s going with what is clearly indicated by its title to be a two-part album.
You can scroll down to hear everything will come together, pt. 1, but we also went ahead and included a recording of Justin’s 2019 Coachella live set from The Do LaB stage because it’s just so insanely awesome and features his comrade Benny Bridges laying down a mean guitar. So without further ado, here’s Justin on Justin featuring horses — you’ll see what I mean.
How would you describe this new iteration of your sound to someone without context?
I’m a DJ/producer who’s gotten a taste of singing/songwriting/playing in a band. I’ve also been learning the guitar and this album has some of the first songs that I’ve written/played guitar! Benny Bridges helped fill on all of the advanced/fancy sounding parts though, haha. On this album, there’s guitars, live drums, rock ‘n roll moments but at the end of the day, I want people to dance so there’s still an underpinning of house/dance music across the album.
What happened in your life that led up to this creative shift for you?
The biggest thing was getting a taste for playing in my very first band, Fantastic Voyage. Things began when I put out my album, Home, in October 2017 which really wasn’t that long ago. Before that, I’d never done a show without turntables, haha. Getting that tangible experience of what it means to make noise with four homies on stage is so different from playing tracks on CDJs. It’s inspired a lot of music for sure.
Beyond that, I’ve been listening to a lot of non-dance music, gone through big obsessive phases of binging Tame Impala, Mac Demarco, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and the artists who are a little further off the beaten path. I’ve gotten a taste for LA’s DIY rock scene… it’s awesome! A recent highlight was seeing Vinyl Williams and Hot M.T. play at the new Non-Plus a month or two ago and it was unbelievable. I’m also surrounded by homies who are way deeper in this stuff than I am which has opened me up to a lot of cool non-dance stuff. Danny Goliger who plays keys/synths in my band is super dialed in the DIY rock scene. He plays in a really cool weirdo-art-rock band called Ferbus, I’m obsessed. Henry Was, who’s the drummer in my band, plays in a group call Thumpasaurus. I did a bunch of remixes of their songs last year and they crush it in my DJ sets. I’m a huuuuge fan of their original music. Being surrounded by homies like that has been very inspiring for me.
Do you think about how you want your music to make people feel? If so, how?
I think about how I want people to move while I produce the drums and try to give impact in between sections of a song. Most rock producers don’t deal with build ups and drops like us house guys. When it comes to songwriting though, it’s all about getting my feelings across in the song. I think great songwriters can have these universally appealing songs when they just express themselves without over-thinking it. I’m super new to writing lyrics n what not but it’s so much fun. Hope to keep doing it and getting better!
What’s with the horses on the album art? Are they a metaphor?
Yes, thank you for asking! I’ve been joking that this body of work is essentially a twist on 500 Days of Summer. These songs are all about love and it sometimes being very unclear whether or not it’s going to work out. This album is called everything will come together pt. 1 because there is a whole other album that’s the part 2. In part 1, the horses are looking in different directions; in part 2, the artwork shows the horses coming together. The thing is, the statement I’m trying to make (to myself mostly) is that even if things don’t work with the girl you have a crush on, it’s important to trust that everything will come together in the end, on the inside. Part 1 of this album has a cliff hanger ending, and only time will tell how part 2 unfolds. Maybe it’s with summer, maybe it’s with autumn — either way, it’s important to be present and not over think things or worry unnecessarily. I’m essentially making all this music to tell myself to calm down and chill out, haha.
Has your live show evolved with this new musical era?
Playing with my Fantastic Voyage squad inspired a lot of music on the album, and I think now that we’ve started playing these new songs, it’s inspired the way we play. On our Home album tour, we used synth bass on every song, now it’s a combination of synth bass and electric bass. We also had a lot of songs where our drummer was playing lots of house drum beats on electronic drum pads. Now I feel like most of Henry spends most of his time on the actual kit. I also have a song where I bust out the guitar! So yeah, our show has definitely evolved. It’s funny though because now that I’ve gotten to explore a bunch of this live stuff, I’m super interested in swinging the pendulum back towards cool electronic music stuff, at least in the studio. For me, both making music and performing live seem to be ever-evolving things. I’m just having fun, messing around, trying new things :)