Justin Jay has rapidly become a prominent name within the underground deep house and techno scene. Dubbed the golden boy of Dirty Bird Records (home of heavy hitters like Claude Von Stroke, Justin Martin, J. Philip Shiba Son and more), this young producer has found additional success with his side project, Justin Jay & Friends, through what's considered a very unorthodox method for releasing an album.
Justin Jay & Friends is JJ's side project that fuses together groovy guitar riffs, smooth live vocals and dynamic percussions. The group has released various collections of work over the last year by presenting individual tracks every other week and each with a different label. Unknowingly, this has created a brilliant marketing campaign that's allowed listeners to get an ample amount of time with each hit, before laying ears on a new one. Most artists do this all the time with typical single releases and sometime's an entire album or LP could contain singles that had been released over the span of multiple years. But it's incredibly difficult to release each single over various record labels, one after another. It's also rare for musicians to stray from the beaten path of their core sound. But JJ & Friend's skip battle any apprehensions and bravely produce various offerings of rich techno, groovy house and even some indie pop tracks.
"Me and the homies (Josh Taylor, Ben Bridges and Henry Was) were each musicians in our own right and wanted to finally find a way to make music together but we each had incredibly unique tastes in music. We kind of just said screw it, let's just see what we come up with. If someone like Josh wanted to write a song and make a beat, the rest of us wouldn't really know where it was going but we did whatever felt good to us and ended up with a bunch of songs that were rock, pop and underground house stuff. They were all so different sounding, it wouldn’t have been possible to find one label for them all to fit into." Justin Jay
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Each final product came with hints of various musical elements, tracks like "Karma,"released with Black Butter Records, provided this darker house pop sound, while tracks like "Let Go," released with Soul Clap Records, provided a steady good vibe beat accompanied by light, playful guitar melodies. With each release, a new fan base was being accessed and the songs maintained just the right amount of similarity to keep the interest from the earlier audience. By allowing the album to be leaked out slowly over the course of a year, they created an almost HBO Game of Thrones style following, with every fan clinging to their seats in anticipation of the next week or months hit.
"Part of it was all the stars aligned and just worked out perfectly.Half planned and half winging it. My manager was so confused and had no idea what I was talking about. But for a lack of better judgement, trusted me and thankfully it all worked out! "
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Planned or unplanned, it was ingenious and each new offering released continues to prove that artists should never feel pigeon-holed into one sound type and that collaboration is key.