A Sit Down With DJ Jay Lumen
Globetrotting DJ & producer Jay Lumen has been stirring up attention for the last 10 years as a hugely sought after techno character.
Techno giant Jay is without a doubt one of the most sought after DJs in the world. His productions have been making their way onto every major DJs playlist since time immemorial. As a producer, he has had 11 Beatport #1s, and 27 Top 10s. He has released on some of the most renowned labels in the world such as Drumcode, Saved, OFF Recordings, Octopus Records, and 100% Pure.
How did you get into DJing? Who also inspired you to start producing?
It began when I was child. I first studied music for eight years in a special music school, so I was sure that I would do something in the music scene. I was singing in the chorus and also learning to play violin so my whole life was around music, but it was also my hobby just like now. That's why I was listening to all kind of music everyday. I was an 'everything eater' and it's the same today as a music fan. But I loved the first dusty old school techno and house sounds from '80s. It was the real explosion for electronic music I think with lots of experimental sounds. I tried to find as many sounds like that as possible. After a point I was sure this will be the sound for me as well and then I realised that I wanted to be a DJ. So today I've realised my childhood dreams.
How do you create music?
Technically, the first step is to write down the idea. Sometimes I remember the ideas for months, but other times I forget them in an hour, so the safest thing to do is write them down as soon as possiblefor example, if its a main melody, I play it out loud to keep it in my mind. But sometimes I only have the feeling of a tune; in this case, I build it up from the kicks, percussion, and bassline grooves. My sound is very groove-oriented, so I always try to insert my signature shaking sprays. Once I have them, I just add some essential FX, small cuts, or other FX samples that I made to add a special and different character to the track. Finally, I add the main theme or the main melody if I had this kind of idea when I started the tune.
What about your top three records of the moment?
1*KNTRL - Stay (Luca Agnelli Remix)
2*Cosmin TRG - In Your Body
3* Martin Buttrich & Loco Dice - Damn U Made It
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your tracks, and what does the process look like for you when you are writing them?
I am travelling around the world a lot, and I always get some new insights and feedback from people, feelings from parties, places, cultures, etc. The whole point of it is that I keep asking myself how I can find a way to make a new sound. For example, I am travelling somewhere in a completely different part of the globe and I get an idea for a melody, after which I fly back home and start to work on it.
"DJ needs to lead the people but has to also be very interactive to feel the resonance of the venue, crowd and the night overall... you need to breathe together with the people".
What have been the greatest challenges in your career?
The greatest challenge is to find the balance between your career and private life. When you travel 52 weeks a year it's not very easy. My DJ life is my dream so I don't feel it a challenge.
Is there someone you would like to collaborate with that you have not yet had the opportunity to?
I have some nice collaborations planned for this year. Last year I had collaboration with Green Velvet, and with some other guys. Now, for this year I have more plans with Green Velvet as the last tune we made was a big hit for us. So, I am hoping the next one will be a big one as well. It is not so easy to find the studio time to make tunes together with others, but I will do my best to find the time.
How do you manage to produce so many tracks and keep a steady tour schedule?
I just do one release around every one and a half months. I dont think it is too much, but in the weekdays I am normally in my studio. I try to keep my balance between the studio work and the gigs. I make time to make cool new sounds and I try my best to work consistently.
Whats your favourite city to play in and why?
A very difficult question. I cant choose just one. I love Buenos Aires, London, Madrid, Berlin, Helsinki, Barcelona, many, many cities. They have different moods and different people but we are all connected by music.
When you arent performing, where is your favourite super-club to go to in Ibiza?
Well, I was going to many clubs including Privilege and Space. I dont know which one is better but I like Space if you are talking about the big clubs but on the other hand I like Privilege because you have a lot of space if you check look out the window in the Vista Club, it is so beautiful. Also, on the other hand, Sankeys is also really cool because of the whole family atmosphere.
How do you feel about the expansion of Electronic Music into the Mainstream?
I think it is a good thing for everybody. So many DJs say that the action is going towards the mainstream shitty music, but I dont believe that. The mainstream is for the younger generations, which turn to the underground later when they get older. It is a great first gate for people to learn and practice for the underground. The underground is growing up so fast around the world, and it keeps getting bigger with much better parties. So, it is a very cool thing.
What made you decide to kick start your own label, Footwork?
Well I'm very happy that I had the chance to release on this great labels like Adam Beyer's Drumcode, Nic Fanciulli's Saved, Green Velvet's Relief or Octopus Records. But I always had a plan to start my own label. It's like a new baby. I just tried creating the sound of it. Manage it for the future, find the path. So it's a new challenge for me. Also it's another way that I can show a little part of my own world to the people. Footwork is going very well luckily so I'm very happy.
Is there any advice you can give to emerging artists?
Nowadays it is not so easy to start a career, as so many people with so many ideas want to be a DJ. The main advice is, if you love the music just try to really show your true original self to people. Do not copy the sounds of somebody else, do your own thing and try to find your own way. That way you will be happy and if you like your music the people will like your music as well.
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