Features

Jaytech: Anjunadeep’s bright spark

Given the calibre of the productions Jaytech has turned out in recent years, he was never going to stay confined to Canberra. The man is now firmly established in Europe as an ambassador for Anjunadeep, the progressive offshoot of Above & Beyond’s ever-widening Anjunabeats family.

Recently Jaytech combined both his A&R and DJ talents to mix one disc of the Anjunadeep 02 compilation, with his label offsider James Grant handling the other. When inthemix caught up with the fast-rising talent today, he was kicking back in a Malaysian hotel room awaiting his weekend of gigs.

How are you finding Malaysia?

I’ve had three days off, so I’ve been wandering around, shopping and chilling by the pool. It’s a hard life [laughs]. Kuala Lumpur tomorrow night and Singapore on Saturday, and it’s the first time for both of them.

Have you had much time recently to focus on productions, or has touring kept you busy?

Well, I had some time off thanks to the volcanic ash. I was supposed to be going to Latvia that weekend, but my flight was obviously cancelled. The next weekend was only one gig, which was a two-hour train away in Poland. So I have had a couple of weeks off to work on production, which I have sorely needed as I’m running a bit behind. I’ve got an album that’s coming out around the end of the year and basically all the tracks are underway, but it’s just about finding time to sit down and have a good flog at them.

Is it hard to make the call on which tracks will make the cut?

You aim a bit higher than what you actually need, but basically I’ve gone through all the projects I’ve done over the past few years and narrowed it down to 14 or 15, which will be the album. They’re all tracks I’m committed to finishing.

One of the biggest points of improvement people noted after my last album was that it didn’t have an artist album flow. A lot of people thought it was a bunch of club tracks sitting next to each other in the latter half of the CD. So this time I’m going to look at some other people’s albums, and look at how they start and finish. The most important thing is that it’s a step forward for my own sound. It is a lot of work to make sure sonically that you’re up to scratch with the rest of the world. A big, full sound with this kind of music is very important.

Are you based in the UK still?

I’m actually in Germany for the summer. I have high-tailed it out of the UK because my two-year working holiday visa has finished. I can have my own apartment in Berlin because cost of living is very cheap, and hire my own studio there. It’s going to be a good spot to finish off my album and work on remixes. I’m travelling pretty much every weekend, so during the weeks I’m working on tracks, organising all the DJ stuff and doing paperwork like resident’s visas. It is nice to have that space to myself during the week, but it just gets crazy every weekend and re-sets it all!

When beginning the Anjunadeep mix with James Grant, did you discuss the different moods you’d both be going for?

Yeah, James has always been further on the deep house tip than myself, whereas I’m more at the cranking end of progressive house at the moment. We just figured the two of us would be a good pair to mix it, because of our varying approach to progressive and because we’ve both been heading the A&R for Anjunadeep these last few years. It was an opportunity to pull together a bunch of stuff from all our favourite artists for one compilation.

Do you feel like there’s a lot of talent on the progressive side of things at the moment?

The best thing about this genre of music is that my favourite track from any given month is going to be from someone I’ve never even heard of before. The process in which these tracks are made requires so little resources and formal training, that you get these amazing tracks coming out of the woodwork from the most unexpected of places. It’ll be interesting to see who breaks ahead of the crowd in coming years and makes it really big.

Do you think the deeper, melodic progressive house is stronger now than it was a few years back?

Yeah, I think at the turn of the century, the progressive house sound was quite an underground thing and you had to do a lot of digging. It was an acquired taste, definitely. Now it has transformed into a style of music that is instantly recognisable by a much wider audience. I think artists like Eric Prydz and Deadmau5 have taken that style and presented it in a way that people can relate to and understand. It’s often a lot more simplistic than it used to be, but with a more powerful effect.

Do you ever feel there’s a discrepancy between your reputation overseas and here at home; that Australia is perhaps slow to recognise certain kinds of talent?

I think Australia is slower to recognise its own local talent with the more underground styles of music. The artists that are best recognised are those who release music that is very uniquely Australian in its nature – you know, the ‘Australian electro house’ sound. I think my sound probably borrows more from the European side of things, and I suppose right from the start I was looking to the UK for my inspiration. It’s only been through going away and coming back a few years later on tour that I’ve noticed my kind of music is starting to take hold in Australia.

I have found with the more traditional flavours of dance music, Australian crowds generally react to someone who has come from far away. That’s not just an Australian thing, it’s all over the world. People are going to go a bit more crazy for the DJs that come from overseas; I think that’s a very natural thing. You see that especially in trance. Trance is the kind of genre where someone from the UK can turn up and people will go wild, but to have a local trance DJ pull a crowd is a much more difficult thing to do.

After doing what they do for a decade, why do you think Anjunabeats has stayed strong?

I think it’s the fact that it’s based around Above & Beyond, who are a very strong DJ act. Rather than just act in the capacity of a record label, they’ve decided to actually make an Anjunabeats family with the artists and the staff. They’ve done lots of special events, like a big festival in Beirut where Above & Beyond played all their own tracks live. They’ve done stages at festivals in India and Brazil, and coming up this July is a big party in Ibiza. They make it more than just a platform for releasing records.

Anjunadeep 02, mixed by Jaytech and James Grant, is out now on Anjunabeats. Read the inthemix review here.