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Jaytech | An Anjuna Trekkie Working on His Ultimate Space Opera [Interview]

by Tigerlily

At the young age of 16, Jaytech first heard his calling at a college rave party in his hometown of Canbarra, Australia.  Like so many of us, he was instantly hooked. But unlike most, he was a classically trained pianist, so he got a bit of a head start.  With only a home computer (think early 2000’s computers) and some hi-fi speakers, Jaytech got to work. His first vinyl “Music 101” was released in January 2005 and was an instant hit, eventually being played on BBC’s Radio 1.  

A little over a year later, Tiësto asked him to appear on his iconic “In Search of Sunrise 5: Los Angeles”.  Jaytech gained the notice of Above & Beyond, joined them on tour, began working under the Anjunabeats label, and then released his 2008 debut album “Everything is OK”.  After transferring over to the Anjunadeep end, he was asked to compile 2010’s “Anjunadeep 02” and 2011’s “Anjunadeep 03”.  The following year was just as big with the release of “Anjunadeep presents Jaytech 01” and “Multiverse”, released on the Anjunabeats side.  His third album “Awakening” hit in 2015, and Jaytech just continued dropping singles and EPs with no signs of slowing.  

Fast forward to 2019 and the release of single “Voyage/Crystal Palace” in February and it’s apparent he just keeps getting better.  To say that Jaytech went from 0 to 60 in seconds flat wouldn’t be an exaggeration.  But who is James Cayzer, the man?  Apparently, a fellow Star Trek lover, a bit of a space nerd, and from his descriptions of building pillow forts below, I’d guess I’m not the only one in touch with my inner child.  

I’ve seen many Anjuna artists, but not Jaytech, so as the All In Tour on April 5th in Portland, OR gets closer, my anticipation keeps growing!  Joined by Rodg, Judah, and Sunny Lax, it’s hard for me to believe this lineup is happening at Whiskey Bar, a cozy downtown Portland club.  So get your tickets NOW to see these genius trance and house producers!

FMF: What are some benefits you’ve found producing with a background in classical piano?  Were there times you hated the lessons and all the practicing, and if so, what would you say to anyone slogging through those finger dexterity exercises?

Jaytech: When I was young I used to play in piano competitions and even won a few of them. I always found those experiences nerve-wracking, as you’re pressured to pull off a great performance whilst being judged on any slight errors you might make. Nowadays, that’s freed me of any real performance anxiety; in the DJ world your audience can forgive a mistake or two. Even if you manage to totally kill the music somehow – something every DJ has done at some point – the crowd generally just cheers, you put the next record on and keep going.

The biggest benefit for me is having a lifetime of music theory under my belt, which means I don’t have to compromise on my musical message. I’m a huge lover of all things linguistics and have been learning languages all my life, and music theory is really just another language with its own vocabulary to learn. I see a lot of producers who pick up the tools in their adulthood and become great with the technical stuff but don’t really know how to say anything with their music.

As for my piano lessons, I was not the most structured of pupils and I think the lessons where probably more of a slog for my teacher! My advice for my younger self, and for anyone else, would be to do one thing at a time and nail it before moving on.

What’s the best single piece of advice for someone who is having mixdown problems across the board?

Often it’s better to replace a sound or layer it with something rather than endlessly process it to try and transform it into the sound you want it to be. Sounds generally flow better and are more convincing in their natural state. This is especially true for kick drums: you could process one for hours, but often it’s better to spend some time finding a better one that just magically works. Conversely, if you’re using a weak kick sample, that lack of energy can have a domino effect that negatively affects the rest of the sounds in your track.

In the past, you’ve said that music ‘has a consciousness’ and it’s the ‘painting of the world around us through sonic vibrations.’  Both of these statements make me wonder if you experience synesthesia?

I definitely experience something like that. I see places in my head while I’m working on music. I’ll be working on a breakdown or something and realise I’m thinking of somewhere I’ve been at some point in my life, as if the energy for the music is somehow tied up in that part of my memory.

I also don’t seem to be able to switch the music in my head off… ever. I don’t like hearing extremely catchy songs on the radio as they will stay with me for hours, and working on projects too late in the day will keep me up at night. To help with this I try and make time to disconnect and meditate in silence after studio sessions, and make a point to really focus my attention on what people are saying.

I was a huge Star Trek nerd growing up and you’ve mentioned that it inspired you.  Do you feel like you’ve written your space opera yet or are you still trying “to boldly go where no man has gone before?”  If so, how do you see and hear that happening?

Star Trek is more than just aliens in silly costumes in space. It’s a moral blueprint for our species that I legitimately believe could be in store for us if we get things right. At this current point in our history we are slowly waking up and beginning to see ourselves and our true nature from an external viewpoint for the first time. We are rising up from an animalistic past into an intellectual, cortex-driven future. In fact, I think that’s the gripping issue of our time.. not all people have crossed that threshold.

As for writing a space opera, I think my best work is still yet to come.

It bothers me that so many Anjunafamily have heated arguments about which artists or tracks are house vs trance.  As an artist who’s been on both the Anjunadeep and Anjunabeats labels, how would you peaceably end that kind of debate without going into technicalities?

I like to think of labels such as Beats or Deep as lenses that focus the light of an artist’s creativity onto a single target (in this case, the labels’ respective audiences). That is the essence of a hit record – channeling the musician’s creativity to the right destination.

What consumers and newcomers to the scene often don’t understand is that these lenses evolve and transform with time. The definitions of words such as “house” and “trance” change, and Anjuna have historically been very successful in evolving their labels accordingly. The systems you build in any industry will only take you so far, and it’s about recognising this and redesigning them at the right time to move forward. Sadly, you’re always going to disappoint a few fans along the way.

Jaytech at the Decks; All In Tour with Rodg, Judah, Sunny Lax
Jaytech at the Decks | Image Via Artist IG

I like to end with 5 fun but different questions that allow your fans to see James (or Jimbo to your friends) the person, and not just Jaytech the artist.  

Can you share a story of a funny (or not-so-funny) hotel experience?

Thankfully my hotel experiences have been pretty uneventful.. that said, I’m a wizard at making a Macgyver-style recording booth pretty much anywhere I go. You’ll often find me huddled under pillows, curtains and couch cushions recording voiceovers for my radio show.

What fashion trend did you follow that was cool then but looks ridiculous now?

I was rocking some Backstreet Boys style bleached blonde tips when I was 16.

What’s a fear you’d like to conquer?

The fear that I’ve been working on conquering lately is a fear of challenge. I’m trying to see life more as a challenging game, one that you have to play but also rewards you when you get things right. We’ll always be facing some kind of challenge, and I think there’s beauty in learning to embrace that rather than seeing it as a reason to be sad or lose hope. Often, the challenges light the way to great things.  

If you were offered a seat on the next space shuttle, would you take it?  If yes, and all things were possible, where would you hope to go?

Yes! I’ve seen so much footage of the earth from space, but still can’t really imagine what it would be like to see it with my own eyes. It would be super cool to go to the moon.. I believe we’ll have whole cities on it one day.

If you could be one character from a movie, which one would you choose?

Korben Dallas from The Fifth Element. One of my favourite movies of all time, and the ultimate space opera.

Click below and don’t miss out on the chance to hear Jaytech drop an ID that could possibly be part of his future space opera!

PDX All In Tour Jaytech, Judah, Rodg, Sunny Lax
Click above for tickets & info!

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