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.
Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly