Jaytech: Anjunadeep’s #1 hero

In the world of progressive house and trance, the name Jaytech is already familiar to many. This Canberra native has been releasing quality tunes for a number of years, and he’s certainly impressing the right people too; the boys from Above & Beyond and their Anjunabeats label have gotten right behind him, and he’s become a mascot of sorts for their Anjunadeep offshoot, a project that puts the spotlight on the deeper, more progressive side of the label’s sound. There’s little doubt he’s producing some of the most sensational music to come out off the imprint.

Jaytech has been known as one of the unsung heroes of dance music, but this has all changed in 2008. He relocated to London, and was commissioned by Anjunadeep to complete his debut long player Everything is OK which was released to critical acclaim. Many gigs later, including a jaunt around the US with Above & Beyond on the tour bus as support on their North American tour, there’s suddenly a lot more people enamored with what Jaytech is doing. He’s just arrived back home for a bit of a catchup with his mates and family, and before he heads back to the UK in the New Year he’ll be playing a number of gigs including the Foreshore Festival in Canberra and Interview’s 3rd Birthday Bash next weekend. ITM gets all the Jaytech goss…

2008 saw you make the move to base yourself in London; how has everything been going as a result of this?

It’s been a really challenging year but a really rewarding one. I’ve never been away from home for so long but I have been lucky enough to live with my sister and her husband when I’m in London, so it’s been great to be with family.

What do you miss most about Australia? What are you enjoying most about living overseas?

The sunshine! And of course my friends and family. Being in London has been like a big roller coaster ride – it can be dreary one day and absolutely epic the next. Living in close proximity to Europe and the US is great too – makes you realize just how far away from everything else we Aussies really are!

What has been the highlight of 2008 for you?

Club-wise, playing Ruby Skye in San Francisco and Ministry of Sound’s main room in London were both unforgettable experiences. I played (rocked!) the Kasbah in Morocco, and cruising around the US in Above & Beyond’s tour bus was pretty pimp also.

Last time you played in Melbourne you still had your live show going. Do you have any time to do these anymore?

Not at the moment – I really want to put together a new show, but have been busy traveling and producing lately. Also my rig has halved in size since I moved overseas so I’ve got some catching up to do gear-wise!

In the age of digital labels with so many sub-standard releases, what is it about a tune that usually grabs your attention?

Musicality first and foremost. I think tightness of production is also essential nowadays, so if a tune sounds really squished and muddy and is going to sound bad on a club system, I probably won’t bother with it. Sometimes tracks are really well mixed but not very well mastered, in which case I usually do a very simple quick master on it to see if I can salvage it. It’s definitely fair to say that quality wise, tunes are all over the place at the moment.

Your debut album was released earlier this year, as was Matt Rowan’s. Do you two have any plans to make one together?

I don’t think so any time soon – finding time to do even one collab is tricky at the moment let alone a whole album. We’re seemingly both on opposite sides of the world at any given time also!

Have you had any time to collaborate with anyone else? Especially since you would be toured and playing alongside guys who made similar sounds to you, perhaps with someone like Dinka?

I did a remix of Oceanlab’s Breaking Ties with Anjunabeats’ James Grant recently. James lives around the corner from me in London, and this started out as a little project just for fun on a Sunday, but we thought the end result turned out pretty swell so we’re releasing it in the package.

The title of your album Everything is OK is a bit of an understatement. Things are more than ok aren’t they? How did you settle on this album name?

I fell in love with the barricade tape picture that was used in the album artwork and suggested we use it for the cover, so the idea to leave the image as is and call the album Everything is OK kinda stemmed from that. I like the sentiment it carries with it as well, it’s a really positive message and it gels well with people. So many times this year I’ve been picked up at the airport by a promoter and been asked “Hey Jaytech, how is everything? Is everything OK?”

How long was Everything Is OK in the making?

About 18 months, give or take. Two weeks before it was finished it felt like it was never going to get done, and then suddenly everything just clicked into place and I knew it was done.

Now at 23 you’ve been producing for 9 years; what has been your biggest motivation in not giving up? When did you finally see that you might make a serious career out of music?

I think I’ve been lucky enough to learn from people’s mistakes and adapt. I’ve seen so many people on a similar path to me become disillusioned and call it quits. It’s a heartbreaking thing to see, but ultimately it’s a tough industry and it’ll swallow you whole if you let it. The best way forward is to expect nothing out of it and give it your best anyway. I know there are people out there who would give anything to be in my shoes, so even if things get tough I try to remember to be grateful for the experiences I’ve had thus far.

With so much experience playing internationally, what is your favourite country to play in?

The USA trip with Above & Beyond earlier this year was fantastic, mainly because the parties I was playing at were of a much larger scale than what I’m used to. Playing around the UK is fun because people are quite educated and know what they’re listening to. Anywhere in Europe tends to be pretty cool too.

How long do you plan to be living in London? Will you be back home for a few months of the year?

I’m back for an Aussie tour for a month toward the end of November, then heading back to the UK in the new year. I expect I’ll probably stick around that part of the world for a good six months or so yet.

What other Jaytech news is there to look out for during the coming New Year?

Keep an eye out for a new Jaytech single, a few new remixes, and more international touring for sure. I’ve got a monthly podcast going now over at my MySpace page also, so check it out!

Catch Jaytech at the following gigs…

28 Nov – Fidget @ Moulin Rouge, Sydney

29 Nov – Foreshore Festival, Canberra

5 Dec – Ug Beats, Canberra

6 Dec – Interview’s 3rd Birthday, Melbourne

12 Dec – Bar Soma, Brisbane