Reported by Tara / Submitted 09-05-17 19:17
When we first interviewed Journey aka Jay OM on here in 2006 it was the eve of the launch of his first Free-Spirit Records release, Brahmaputra, which was of course being celebrated by an epic Implosion party, Jay’s event at the time. Nearly eleven years on, Free-Spirit has released a string of successful releases – most recently, the awesome 10 Years as Free-Spirit compilation, which rocketed straight to the top of the Beatport charts – and with Jay’s third Journey artist album Limitless due to drop any day, it shows no sign of letting up.
In the meantime, Jay has cemented his place in the international psy trance scene as one of the top DJs and producers, his high energy full-on live Journey sets only being matched by his increasing number of aliases and collaborations. One of these collabs has culminated in the recent release of Kinesioöptic with dancefloor demon Hypnocoustics, while another is with the multi-talented Bahar Cancar as part of her Bahar’s Magic Soup project, with Jay also playing at the album launch party on Saturday 3rd June at Boombox Lab.
First up though is the next edition of Tribal Village – A Psychedelic Adventure in London this Saturday night at The Steelyard, which promises to be something special as Jay and Japanese psy trancer Cylon present the worldwide debut of their new project KEEWL. We managed to get Jay to take a break from his hectic touring schedule to tell us a bit about life on the road…
Hey Jay, thanks for taking some time out from your hectic touring schedule to answer a few questions for your fans and let us know whats been happening in your world!
You’re currently down under in South Africa. How’s that all going? What gigs and festivals have you been playing at? In must be so good to play at SA’s legendary outdoor parties?!
It was awesome! South African parties are the ones that every trancer would love to be part of it, from playing to puntering… besides the dance floor always rocks immensely! I have been headlining alongside Mental Broadcast, Subverso and Audiounit at Vortex Parallell Universe and then played a cosy secret outdoors party called Helix ’a pure psychedelic underground fiesta and so much fun!
I’ve heard that South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries to visit. What have you been getting up to in between gigs? Not drinking too much of that lush Saffa vino I hope?!
Yes it is! Mindblowing landscapes and sightseeing. The best for me is always to rent a car and cruise around. From crossing the Keroo desert to scuba diving with sharks and seals to hiking and mountain biking, I am always busy in Cape Town even if I am not playing a gig. I am lucky enough to have lots of beautiful friends to visit and pass good times together. A big part of my heart is right there and I do feel like I am at home.
Before SA you were playing out in Goa, that must have been amazing?! How was the Goa scene this year?
Kinda of… this year I had the opportunity to go a little further and I was also invited to play the amazing Atman Festival in Sri Lanka, so went there after Goa. Yes, you have the right thought, Goa is awesome! The last one was the fourth consecutive season I did in Goa and it was definitely the best one. Probably because I did 6 weeks instead of the 2 and half weeks I did in the previous seasons. Besides that, Goa is growing and growing… can I use the word Killah to be more explicit?!
Do you reckon we should all head to Goa to escape the UK winter next February? If so, where are the best spots to check out?
Definitely! Not only to escape the winter, but also to have the full experience. The environment and the vibe are just super and for some reasons it develops my and probably some other peoples imaginations.
Given that you spend so much time on the road, what are the three things you would never leave home without?
My studio mobile (laptop, sound card and fx machine)
Somewhere amongst your travels you’ve found time to put together the awesome 10 Years as Free-Spirit compilation, featuring some of the brightest stars of the international psy scene, which headed straight to the top of the Beatport charts when it was first released.
Did it take you long to put the V/A together? How did you go about choosing the tracks that best sum up a decade of Free-Spirit Records?
It took me almost to year to finish the compilation. It actually came out when Free-Spirit Records was already 12 years old – but I didn’t change the title though.
Congratulations on celebrating 10 years of Free-Spirit by the way! Starting a label and maintaining it so it continues to grow in these challenging times is no small thing. What have been the highlights of the last 10 years for you? And what do you reckon is the secret of the labels success?
Thank you! We actually celebrated the 12th year of Free-Spirit Records last March! Highlights… mmmh, there’s s**t louds hey!! Let’s say that seeing lots of artists that have been in the past part of FSR and are now super famous and well known around the scene makes them part of the highlights. I believe we all know the artists with names such as Ital, Braincell, M-Theory, Solar Spectrum, Techyon, Liftshift and way more.
Also holding label parties around the world bringing together our sounds and artists from France, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, South Africa, Mexico… and many more.
The secret is secret! Nah… I just don’t give up, even when the difficulties of carrying on make me feel sometimes not to do so. But it is against my way to be, so here is the secret Tara. NEVER GIVE UP!
You’ve also got a new single with dancefloor demon Hypnocoustics that’s just dropped, Kinesioöptic. What on earth does the title mean? Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this track?
The sensory of perception of the body becomes rewired to the visual interpreting part of the brain. The body can sense-see light. The body can dissolve in the experience (see also: body deconstruction) and be left with just the sensing of light.
The track was made in two days and one night at Joe’s house, and Ben was part of it. It seems it was the last track of the then duo Hypnocoustics. After that time Joe continued the project by himself. The title was chosen by Joe and I personally like the meaning.
Rumour has it that your third Journey artist album Limitless is also due out soon. How’s that all going? And how on earth do you manage to fit in any studio time with so much touring?
The rumours are right about the upcoming Limitless album. All is going good and the album will be completed soon. How do I do it? Easy, using all the time I can achieve after doing all the admin and bureaucracy related to Tribal Village and FSR. I also have my mobile studio with me everywhere I go, so I am always on the make! I learned and follow that idea from how the Rolling Stones band made their music – which was mostly during time on the road.
You’re also in the studio with the multi-talented Bahar Cancar, collaborating on a track for her Bahar’s Magic Soup album. Can you tell us a bit about working with Bahar? And what’s your favourite kind of soup?
Working with Bahar in studio is good fun, she has lots of ideas and I merge them with mine. The track will be a killer one! Also Bahar’s sister, Nilay is involved in it. But I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say more than that…
Ramen is my favourite soup.
What’s your favourite way to beat jet lag? Have you learned to sleep on the plane after so many years of touring? Please share your top tips!
I try to get a night flight to go overseas and perhaps get a few hours of funny sleep on the flight. In case of a day-time flight when I get on places I never go to sleep before bed o’clock in whatever place in the world I am ending up in. Kinda of trying to adjust the body clock in that way.
Next weekend sees the return of Tribal Village – A Psychedelic Adventure on Saturday 13th May at The Steelyard, your epic event that has quickly become one of the jewels in the London clubbing crown since its inception. For each TV you somehow manage to curate an incredibly fresh line-up of psy trance and alternative sounds that combine rare international artists’ debut London sets with some of the best local talent around, all with magical décor and jaw-dropping production. What treats do you have in store for this next edition?
I try to make something new every single time, so I won’t tell you anything about the details – but I can tell you that is gonna be an unbelievable psychedelic show!
One of the many things I know you get chased about the week before a Tribal Village party is the set times – which you never release before the event. What is the thinking behind this?
We like the people that come to Tribal Village to find out the set times when they get at the venue. In this way if someone is interested in listening a particular DJ they must come early to make sure they don’t miss their set. Regarding the DJs, I like them to feel the excitement that will build up until they will know their set time.
Summer festival season is almost around the corner. What plans do you have lined up for the rest of 2017, both on and off the road?
The highlight of this European summer season will be playing three different sets over two different stages at BoomTown: a Jay OM DJ set at the psy forest stage and Journey Live and Sonic Wave Control Live sets at the Tribe of Frog stage.
Finally, what’s the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started out as a DJ and producer?
Good question! DJ/artist life is not as wow as everyone thinks… there’s travelling, the studio and most of the time having a skint lifestyle. Also, relationships are not that easy to last. But hey, I took the red pill and there is now no way back! Besides, I have no regrets, and I am sure that even if I knew this before, I was going to become one anyway.
Many thanks for your time Jay!
Thank you Tara for the (once again) killer interview!