[INTERVIEW] GUY J
Sophisticated, emotive, melodic and diverse are all words consistently used to describe Guy J’s musical storytelling. Whether it’s taking listeners on a hypnotic journey through one of his tracks or in a full set, he has a reputation for captivating dancefloors with refined, ethereal sounds, deep, textured techno, sensual, groovy tech house and everything in between. I caught up with Guy recently where he describes the power of music for him, his perspective on telling a story through music, his greatest career challenge, production tips, what he’s looking for on his label, Lost & Found, and more. His catalogue is replete with hundreds of tracks released on renowned labels including Bedrock, Turbo, Anjunadeep, Cocoon, and Tronic. Enjoy getting to know this unique, highly-regarded and inspiring artist!
Welcome back to Toronto! How do you prepare for a gig in terms of music selection, but also mentally or emotionally?
My preparation for a gig is writing music! I try to come to all my gigs with original music; I’m addicted to my studio and want to give my best when I go to play at clubs/festivals.
Can you talk about how your sensitivity to emotions translates into the music you produce?
Writing music nowadays is a 100% spiritual process for me, I express myself through the music I write. It all depends on my mood and feelings as to how the track will come out. I never plan in advance, I just turn on my computer and let it flow.
What does the power of music mean to you?
The power of music is the availability to make people feel regardless of origin. The fact that I’m lucky to travel the world means the music makes people feel, it doesn’t matter where they come from, it has no boundaries.
What’s your perspective on taking the listener on a journey - how do you approach the art of telling a story through your music?
I learned a lot in the beginning from listening to John Digweed’s Radio Show. He could squeeze in a 1-hour mix the experience of a full night in club. This is when I found out that you can tell a story, there is an intro, there are changes, there is something going on. I love it when I play and I know that the set is always developing.
What advice would you give to yourself, standing from where you are today, back to yourself 10 years ago, if any? In terms of production, or life in general?
I would just say to myself what I said back then, to follow your heart.
What makes a great studio environment for you?
Creativity. After moving countries and changing studio, it’s all about yourself at the end of the day.
What do you love most about producing?
Electronic music has no limits; there are endless options in terms of producing itself, not the genre. There is something special about writing a track; I find that to be a good producer you need to know how to manipulate with the tools you have in the studio.
Have you had any mentors along the way?
Not much in terms of when I started. I used to follow many great DJ’s and producers but when I got to meet John Digweed and Hernan Cattaneo they gave, and are still giving me, a lot of good advice.
What makes you believe in the music you produce, or the music that you release on Lost & Found? What are great production elements you look for in tracks?
First and most important, I’m looking for original music for my label Lost & Found. And also, that I know most of the producers on the label on a personal level so maybe I can see and feel the track differently.
Believing in the music I do is a process that takes time. From the first release ever until the tours and gigs I have, this is the best feedback and best experience to gain confidence in what you do. I would like to consider the music I make original so it takes time until you really believe it is original.
What's the greatest challenge you’ve had on this career trajectory?
The greatest challenge from day one is to stay original and realize that you are not a machine. I have days when I try to make music and its not always working or will work, you need to let go from time to time and give the brain some air or oxygen as they say.
What about the greatest reward?
When the brain is back to being creative :-)
I saw in an interview that you mentioned you enjoy photography, are you pursuing that at all?
I love photography but sadly I don’t have much time for it at the moment. I hope to get back to it very soon; it is a very special thing to be able to catch a moment.
What’s next for you?
Next for me is traveling! Also doing more and more label nights which are going great, there is beautiful music coming out on Lost & Found.
Waiting for lovely Toronto !
Many thanks to Guy J for taking the time to do the interview, as well as his management. And thank you to the great team at LCPR for setting it up.