The true beauty of electronic music is that it has no limits. It exists to be molded into whatever the creator desires. Few embrace this luxury with more precision and care than Tel Aviv’s Guy J. Over the past decade Guy J’s seminal sounds of the moment have extended infinitely and will transcend beyond even his wildest expectations. With origins from the heart, Guy J’s sculptures of melody have developed a soul and a prolific life of their own. On the path to becoming one of the premier artists of this electronic generation, Guy J has amassed a vast discography showcased within an eclectic list of world-renowned labels. His disregard for boundaries has catapulted his genre-diverse Lost & Found imprint into one of the most highly regarded brands in the underground. And Guy J live and studio mixes are beloved by house, trance and techno enthusiasts en masse. Inspired by a simple desire to be a part of Tel Aviv’s flourishing club scene, famous for it’s wild enthusiasm and uninhibited atmosphere, Guy launched his music-writing career at the early age of 14. Voluntarily confined to his home studio—aptly named “The Cave” — Guy worked tirelessly to develop his skill set and still approaches each production as if it were his first. Naturally Guy’s early influences were rooted in his homeland and the worlds of psy-trance and progressive. But it wasn’t long before he embraced all genres to establish the wide-ranging production style that represents the array of emotions fuelling his creativity. “I need every track to be real and honest to my feelings,” Guy professes. “I produce all kinds of house music so I have original material to play in clubs. My music is influenced by trance elements, but I love the warm vibe of progressive and energy of old school techno.”
Hi Guy J, thanks for sitting down with us for a chat today! Where are you in the world right now? And what’s happened so far in your day?
I’m at home today and rebuilding my studio! Diving in a sea of cables and trying to connect everything right 🙂
When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started at the age of 15, empowered by the energy of electronic music, original music that made people move and be together. I was influenced a lot by trance music and John Digweed’s radio mixes. There was always the element of telling a story in each set or a track.
What was your first set-up as DJ like? How has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
I started with CDs, then moved to vinyl, then Ableton and now Traktor. I’ve tried it all. I loved playing gigs with Ableton but Traktor has better sound so I decided to change recently.
How do you see the relationship between the tools you’re using and the creative results – in which way do certain tools suggest certain approaches, in which way do they limit and/or expand your own creativity?
To be honest, almost everyone has their mix synced, and to find BPM of each track to mix is not a big deal, the attention should be on the tracks being selected. Today you actually have more time to focus on the music you play; the problem with technology is more touching the production side.
Could you take me through the process of preparing for one of your gigs, please? How do you select the tracks you like to play, how do you prepare and how do you decide on the opening phase of your set?
I play mostly my own music so I know the tracks very well. It depends on the club I perform in. I try to select the tracks I didn’t play and it also depends on how long I play. I love long sets so I can build up the atmosphere and play a lot of music! I got to play recently with John Digweed, so when playing before him I try to prepare the dance floor for him.
What constitutes great mixing from your point of view? What are some of the sets that have personally impressed you over the years?
There are a few sets that influenced me a lot, one of them was first Guy Gerber Transitions mix, the first one he made was amazing. Another one is Richie Hawtin from Maida Vale. Both take you on journey. There are changes, but when you remember it, it feels like one track.
You chose to release via your own label on this occasion, what factors influence your choice of imprint?
I want Lost & Found to be channel of quality music rather then a label that focusses on one genre, and of course I chose music that I love a lot and play at my gigs 🙂 There is so much music coming out everyday and I think it’s hard to find music that stands out, most of it sounds the same as there is not real “music” involved in it. Thats why I love it when I get music from amazing producers that are so talented and believe that Lost & Found is a place to release unique tracks.
For artists in the modern era the label game is ever-growing in popularity, what do you think are the most challenging aspects to operating your own imprint?
The challenge is to find good music and also not to follow what is trendy now, I think a lot of labels are kind of stuck in only one genre so you know what you get there. Which might be good but can be boring also after a while.
A vast majority of your biggest tracks seem to take quite a while to get released, is this by design? And once they are released how if at all does your perception of the track change?
I Write a lot of music to be honest and I’m not in a rush to release so much, I think that is what keeps my gigs unique, I come and give the people something they can’t hear anywhere else. When a dj gets booked and there is all that hard work around getting him or her to a club I think it should be special for the people who come to hear him or her, and thats was I’m trying to do. So I make a lot of music and people are looking for the tracks 🙂 I feel when a track is being released then thats it, it belong to the people, it’s kind of letting go…
You had two high profile remixes come out this year, of Third Son ft Haptic and Way Out West. Both were underground hits yet stylistically very different. The former a deep, cosmic creation while the latter is chuggy, dance floor bomb. Can you explain the approach on both remixes and how they fit into your sets?
With Third Son ft. Haptic, I fell in love with the vocal since first time I heard it and I asked Mitch who runs microcastle for the parts of the track, I had the remix ready in my had before working on it. I knew exactly how I wanted the track to sound. With way out west I tried different direction, to build up to the melody with a mega groove under it. The original is very beautiful and its east to fall in the trap of doing the obvious “thing”, the challenge with remixes is to give the original different approach.