Justin Jay is ditching the decks for a live tour in support of his latest album, Home. The Claude vonStroke protégé took time to study music theory and has incorporated this knowledge into his full-band performances on a tour that stops at Vinyl on Friday night.
How much of your new album was live instrumentation? A lot of these songs I made while I was at my parents’ house where I didn’t have my full studio setup. My iPhone voice memo became really crucial because I didn’t have my microphone ready and I would just sing a voice memo and email it to myself. Toward the very end of the journey, some songs really started coming together. That’s when Ben [Bridges, guitar] and I would bring in Henry [Was] to play live drums. A good amount of stuff was not live but came from a live place. And then other moments were totally born out of jamming with [them].
People might be conflicted about calling a live band “house music,” so how would you classify it? I’m curious to see what names people will call it. First, I was into making house and techno music, and I would sample vocals … and then I got into songwriting and started adding some singing on my house tracks. I can still DJ those songs, so it’s inescapably house music. But when they’re played live, it’s kind of a gray area. But the original dance music is disco, and much of that was recorded by bands.
What has the transition been like going from the DJ booth to a live setup? Super, super scary at first. I’ve never been much of a singer. Now I’m singing for an hour in front of people, and it’s so fun, especially after having written a song that I really put myself into. It just feels so dope to be able to share it with other people. Justin Jay at Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel, November 10.