Jay Hill and Harry Collier join forces for their third release together on the killer 'Hope Springs', following the releases together on the first Superfreq & POTL release. 'Hope Springs' is a 2 part volume: Volume 1 is more deep-tech-acid-tech, while the next Vol 2 is more chillout, Balearic, electronic. We had a chance to talk to them, so enjoy your reading and check out their latest releases.
First off, happy new year! Can you tell us how and where you welcomed 2021? Where can we find you right now? How did you start off your day?
Thanks! Happy new year to you too! I started this year off in my studio in Philadelphia actually! Everything was closed here until 4th of Jan., and also we got a lot of snow so I decided it’s perfect time to hibernate & start a new 5 track EP!
How are you living the current situation because of COVID? Has it affected your work a lot? Do you think there is hope?
It’s been an interesting journey for me this past year. . . by day, I work for a Children’s Hospital and at the outset of the pandemic, thought since we were working from home that I’d have all this in my studio to make music. As the demands of my day job increased, found myself really creatively depleted. At the same time, I launched my music label (People of the Light/POTL) in January of 2020. So the focus for me last year was all about navigating through the pandemic to get the label lifted off the ground effectively. Had it not have been for my day job I don’t think I would have had the funds to accomplish all that we did last year!
As for having hope, it’s funny you ask because my next label release is called “Hope Springs” a track I made with Harry Collier (Faithless) few years back. We held onto it to waiting for the best time to release it and decided it was perfect for the first 2021 release! It’s going to be a 2-part release with Volume 1 coming 15th of March with 5 mixes that tell a beautiful tale of hope. . .
I feel that the energy has already changed so rapidly in the US within just a few weeks. The beginning of this year was so tumultuous and we didn’t foresee it going down the way it did. I think we’ve all resiliently rose above, and now are in a new mental space. By the beginning of February I was already vaccinated and feel like this has opened the door for the end of the pandemic in sight.
I feel that the underground scene will continue to persist. Do you think we can go back to ‘normal’ events and festivals?
I think we will eventually and think that now we know what it is to have lost something we all love & cherish so deeply, the scene will come back bigger than ever. But gradually that is; I think we’ll start to find smaller more exclusive events by way of outdoor gatherings – rooftops, beaches, parks & such for a while and then slowly but surely the warehouse parties & festivals will come back. It’s definitely going to take some time. Sadly, I think this whole thing has pushed a lot of people away from one another and has turned a lot of people into reclusive hypochondriacs. You see this out on the street if you’re not wearing a mask people give you funny looks and walk clear on the other side of the road treating you like a leaper. In the US it’s not as bad now as it was but still will take some time for people to really let down all their fears & mentally start opening up to life again. . .
How have you had to adapt as a result of recent circumstances?
To be honest, I used to have a great workflow -- I’d go into my office, do my day job, come home at night hit the gym / yoga & then my studio and play gigs on the weekends. I was really efficient with my time and this routine for so many years. When the pandemic hit and I had to start working from my studio, by the end of the day found myself completely drained of any creative energy. But now that I’m used to it, I’ve gotten back into my groove and it’s become a real blessing that I’m not commuting or chained to an office these days!
What can you tell us about "Hope Springs Volume 1 - People of the Light"? How was it born?
Sure ! On the original mix, Harry came to me with this idea he had recorded the vocals and asked if I was interested in making a track out of it. Of course I said “yes,” and at the time I was wanting to experiment with using a dubby disco tech baseline. I had my niece who was around 8 at the time record some of the vocal shots and I think it all tells an interesting story!
The remixers are two guys I actually know in person (a rarity these days. I opened for jozif at Detroit Movement festival with Coyu & Lee Curtiss and before/after our sets instantly hit it off as music comrades. He has such a unique style with disco & house and I really thought he could do something special with this tune & he did! Michael Sahpe (aka mikaelantony & Forgetting Factor), is another I played with in London and immediately just emanated such a passionate love for music that was in line with mine. Both guys bring such perfect energy to this release and all the tracks are so very different, you will hear it immediately!
Your music appears to be tied to locations, landscapes and moments - what else plays a pivotal role on your music making process?
Great observation, actually I’m a pretty devout meditator and try to be outdoors in nature & silence as much as possible. I can’t tell you all the ways that this has influenced my output. Equally as such, when I’m out of the studio I try to listen to other kinds of music not electronic. I think this helps to calibrate my brain and also oddly opens my mind up to getting ideas. For example, I watched an interview about WuTang Clan and Inspectah Deck was talking about how they used a paint bucket & a mic to make a snare on Break Da Rukus. Go back and listen to that tune you’ll hear that snare like none other! It’s this kinda stuff that I think starts to really change your perception on the possibilities in & out of your studio. . .
What is your current production setup, and which instruments are essential to you?
I have a very simple studio set up. I’m one of those people that has learned to work with what I have as taught by my mentors, King Britt & Jay Tripwire. I use Ableton Live & Logic for different things I have 2 basic keyboards one of which is an Arturia Keylab which the VST is absolutely massive. I have a TR8 & a Korg Volca Bass - my TR8 is hands down my most essential piece at the moment.
Of course, I have plans to upgrade as I progress. However, one thing I’ve learned about myself is that I need to have gear that’s simple & not going to give me an agonizing month long learning curve that really hinders my workflow. The same mentors (above) taught me that what’s paramount to having cool gear for “show & tell” – the only thing that is most is important is what’s coming out of the speakers.
Are you the type of producer that can create music on the fly, or do you need to be rooted in a studio?
I haven’t really gotten into live sets yet, I will say my production process is a bit slow and yet I’m getting faster each time. I actually had the pleasure of traveling to the UK for the Brighton Music Conference last fall & had to quarantine in a cabin for 14 days, it was really nice to start some new projects & get inspiration outside of my studio. Eventually I’d love to do live sets one day!
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I just completed a super exciting collaboration project with LIBS (Ryan Libby), a from the UK /Portugal. I don’t want to give too much away, but have to say it’s turned out to be a pretty sensationally tune! We worked with a new jazz vocalist/songwriter Nathan Thomas who’s had some tracks on Defected. This project has given me my wings back and excited to see how it all transpires!
Aside from that as previously mentioned, I gave myself a goal of finishing a 5-track EP called ‘Save the Truth’ by the end of March. I’ve finished 2 and have 3 more to go, these have a more of a cinematic flavour vs. nightclub feel to them, so I think the timing will be perfect.
Do you have any final words of wisdom?
I think what’s most important for us artist to turn off distractions as much as possible. I’m really hard to take breaks off social media & news so that I can pour into my makings wholeheartedly. This is tricky with running a label and when the world seems to be blowing up. But at times these things can really hinder my workflow and I’ve found some pockets of time to make this happen and feel it’s something we all have to find some discipline so that we can keep giving the world music in the hardest of times...