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Feature: Guy J [Interview]

31 min read

Lost & Found enters the heart of the summer season with a new EP from label boss Guy J. The Israeli born, Malta based artist began the year with his ‘Day Of Light / Mind Of’ double a-side release. Uniquely emotional and bound with creative flashes, it was yet another unforgettable offering from an artist who somehow continues to better himself with each successive release. Guy’s latest and highly anticipated ‘Beast Of Sea’ once again serves notice that his inventive forces continue to operate on a remarkable level. On the cusp of the release we had a chance to catch up with Guy in this exclusive interview. Enjoy!

Hello Guy, thanks for joining us today, tell us where in the world you are and what your plans for the week are?

I'm in Gozo, which is a small island that is part of Malta, and my plans for the week is the same as last week, to see what next week will bring. :)

The complexity of your productions indicates a deep-rooted background in music. Tell us about your record/music collection, where do some of your early influences lie?

I recently made a mix for ‘How I Met The Bass’ which is a mix that I made with music that influence me, and it was ”hard” to do as I was influenced by so many genres of music, from rock to ambient to electronic of course, I don’t know if it is because of my age and my time is more limited now than when I was young, but music used to be just more beautiful, so its easy to fall in love with all kinds of music and taking some elements from the various genres.

I think for a lot of artists music allows you to write a sketch of your own personal universe in a way; your travels, life experiences etc. A large portion of your tracks seem to be inspired by moments in your life, is that a fair statement? Talk about where your inspiration comes from.

Yes its a very fair statement and now with the situation of having to stay at home I can feel it more as it is difficult to create without traveling. I think the intense and rewarding schedule gave me a lot of experiences and seeing so many parts of the world and seeing the differences between those parts was very inspiring. Its expending your mind with knowledge and with ideas. As much as i'm waiting to go back to playing in clubs, i'm waiting so much to be inspired by the travel to produce more music.

The industry and how fans discover new music has changed dramatically in the last 10 years or so. What platform has become your go-to-source when it comes to discover new music?

I think I listen to music mostly on Spotify, but not for electronic music necessarily, I like to discover different kinds of music or nice playlists, for electronic music I get promos and of course the music that I receive for my label Lost & Found.

How have you been dealing with COVID-19? The impact it’s having on travelling DJs is of course hugely significant. Has the lack of live gigs played a factor on your creativity in the studio? Or has it made you more productive?

This new world we are entering is changing the reality for everyone, I think we lived in a very fast rhythm and now that everything is on hold we can understand it better. I speak with some friends from the industry and we all miss it but looking back on it we also think “how did we do all that? “, of course I will go back to the same rhythm in a second, but maybe I will do some things a bit differently to make it easier on my body and mind.

Regarding creativity, I think this is the point, the sensitive point that I have battles with. When it started I was making a lot of music, and then when it passed the point of my expectations for how long it was going to last it became frustrating to create. Its not easy as there is of course the things that worry us on our mind but also missing the inspiration to create. At the moment there is the realization that there is nothing I can do and I just have to wait. So I take it more easy on productions.

What is something you do now (regularly) that you did not before Covid-19?

Spending much more time with my family & the Lost & Found live streams! I love it!

In the midst of isolation, is there a particular place on earth you would really want to be playing music right now?

I miss Argentina and South America a lot, this place has been important for me and I have special connection to. I want to go there and play music for them as I know this is also important for them. I miss their energy and I want it.

The Lost & Found Echos live streaming series has become a much-anticipated part of the progressive music scene since Corona Virus hit. Will this continue once regular nightlife resumes? Perhaps on a less frequent basis?

I'm still thinking about whether or not I should continue it, it all depends on the way things will come back and if I'm going to have time to do it, I love doing the streams a lot, but it is time consuming, mainly cause I collect more genres of “House Music” for it as I play everything on the ECHOS streams.

Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

I think the main effect will be that the scene becomes smaller, as not many players in the industry will manage to survive financially. I don’t want to sound not positive but I don’t think this madness is ending very soon, we are going through a process of designing a new reality and to do that globally it is going to take some time. That’s why I hope people will be patient and also follow the regulations so we can embrace nightlife and music again.

You have a new EP out on your Lost & Found imprint this week – ‘Beast of Sea / Catfish’. Tell us a bit about the release and the production process behind ‘Catfish’.

Both tracks are made with Love :) While “Beast Of Sea” for me is a track that resembles progressive house at is purest, I think “Catfish” is a track to take you to a specific zone, to a tunnel. There is something very trance - vibes in it and dark at the same time. I used the Elektron - Digiton mainly to produce it. I love that synth!

Were there specific inspirations or stories behind these two tracks? If so, please share those with us.

The track 'Catfish' is the more challenging one between the two, I was trying for a long time to make something like that, and was waiting for the right idea to come alive to make it. I think these kinds of tracks that are based on the same loop but with the right build up are very challenging to make.

Describe how satisfying it is to see a dance floor unite to something you’ve written.

Best feeling there is :) I write a lot of music as I became in need of that feeling, and that's also why traveling is very inspiring for me.

How much road testing is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And how much does crowd reaction influence whether or not a particular track gets released?

I always say that until a track is being released there is no end for its creation, there is always something to change or add. I still go to tracks I made years ago and change really small things that you won’t notice cause for me it is not done and can get better.

What’s a piece of gear that always gets used when you’re writing a track?

I think the gear I use the most is Prophet 6 Synthesizer, I love that synth so much and the sound of it.

Your music has gained a greater organic quality over the last five or so years, I think. Would you say you’re using more hardware now than you were in the past?

I am using almost only hardware now. I feel now that my studio is complete. I feel the spaceship is ready. But again it is very personal, I believe having hardware is a privilege but it doesn’t mean you will make great sounding music, it depends on your experience of course. It's like having an amazing car doesn’t make you an amazing driver.

The problem of mental is complex and nuanced, and it is an issue to which those working in electronic music are especially susceptible. It can be deeply rewarding but it is also competitive, fast-paced, unpredictable and hedonistic. Talk a bit about the pressures of what you do that fans may not be totally aware of or what is one of the most difficult things about being an artist?

I think being an artist in all forms of art is not easy but its a decision that if you chose to do then you have to embrace it. There are moments where you are up there and you are creative and people like what you do and adore your work, but there are moments where you're going to be down and you're going to receive criticism, if it’s about music or about your acts. You become a servant of a greater public. I think that’s why it is important to surround yourself with a circle of friends that care about you and not about how big your success is. I've had moments of a down creative wise and moments that I'm not sure about what I do if I do it right. But not a big down yet, I'm waiting for it to come and I'm waiting to come out of it stronger.

Do you have tools or practices that you use to get yourself back to a state of balance?

Creating music or more correctly being in the studio has become something I need to keep in balance. I have the need to be in the studio and try to make music. I used to feel when nothing comes out that something is wrong and it used to make me frustrated. The only thing that I changed is I let it go more, I don’t get stressed, I have so much music that I wrote. I think I get to do about 40 tracks more or less in a year. So its ok to step out of the studio. I also want to make sure that I'm writing original ideas.

Looking back over your discography, what release or track holds the best memories for you and is there a correlation between that track and how successful you are today?

I think because of the month we are in now (July) I would say my track Lost & Found that was the first release on the label. It will always be the track that reminds me how the label started and makes me so proud of where it is today.

Current top 5 favourite tracks?

Stereo Underground - Zooz
Tantum - Vor Augen (Chicola Mamba Out Remix)
Eli Nissan - Karnaval (Roy Rosenfeld Remix)
Tibi Dabo - Komorebi
Khen - Born Out

How often do you check the Guy J facebook group?

I check it sometimes, its amazing to see the passion there is for the music in there.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

My family and eating :) I love both so much.

What does the remainder of 2020 hold for Guy J? Anything you can share with us?

Well considering the time I'm going have at home, I am working on some tracks, and pursuing other ideas for the label, there is a very beautiful schedule planned that goes all the way up to 2021.

As well I’ve started a Patreon page where producers can become members and receive sample packs that I create: : https://www.patreon.com/guyj

Waiting to see you all again.

'Beast Of Sea' is out now via Lost & Found: : https://bit.ly/3hvc604

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