[INTERVIEW] Guy J: On Developing His Sound, Armadillo Records & More
It was one of those rare, perfect evenings in New York City. Gone was the stifling, sticky heat of summer, and the brisk winds of autumn had yet to touch the metropolis. I gazed in awe as the Statue of Liberty glided into view of our boat, haloed by a brilliant sunset. It created a fire to light the glowing faces of the few hundred revelers facing one Guy J. The renowned Israeli producer was silhouetted against the rising cityscape and intently engaged in his role as the evening’s sonic shepherd. As night fell he guided us through our journey, over cascading waves of progressive melodies, through dark tunnels of driving techno, finally leaving us blissfully awestruck as the cruise pulled up to the harbor. I paused for a minute, relishing what I had just experienced. Ah, yes, I’d never forget my first Guy J set.
The Sights & Sounds had the pleasure of speaking with the Lost & Found label head this spring, picking his brain about the origins of his dynamic, emotive sound, his new imprint, and more.
TS&S: Your music has a very poignant, emotive quality that has always made it stand out for me. Is it purposeful? What do you attribute that quality to?
Guy J: Thanks very much! I think the key to have something unique is to create music honest to your emotion much as possible. I pay attention to all details in the process of creating a track and I try to have it close to my vision when I make it.
TS&S: If your music was embodied by a city anywhere in the world, what city would that be and why?
Guy J: Tel Aviv, that city is very special to me and also it’s very colorful. There is all sorts of people in the city, once you step out and look at people’s face you feel there is long and interesting story behind them. I guess its something personal that I feel when I go there.
TS&S: Your imprint Lost & Found has become one of the most esteemed underground labels since its launch in 2012. Why did you choose to create Lost & Found as a sub-label of Digweed’s Bedrock instead of independently?
Guy J: John Digweed came up with this great idea to start my own label and I’m grateful for that. When I started it, it was great to have the support from John and of course I learned a lot from him.
TS&S: Part of Lost & Found’s initiative is bringing up new artists, and we’ve seen quite a few blossom on your label already; who are some of your “ones to watch” for 2017?
Guy J: This year I have two new names I’m very happy to join the label, Eli Nissan and Eitan Reiter. Both make excellent music and I think they will be great addition to the label.
TS&S: You recently launched Armadillo Records to explore a different side of your musical interests. Can you tell us a little about Armadillo and what your vision is for this new imprint?
Guy J: The Idea of Armadillo is to bring producers that are known to us from our world to write music that it’s not club oriented. I love writing downtempo and experimental music and I think that also other producers write this stuff and just keep it sitting in some folder on the computer — so why not to get it out there to the world? We already have beautiful music coming out by Robert Babicz, Roger Martinez, Tadir and more.
TS&S: What is your absolute favorite track to close a set with? Why?
Guy J: Ardyn – The Valley (Tom Demac Remix). This is just a beautiful break beat track. I love closing with break beat at the end of set if I find a good one and this is definitely a stand out track.
TS&S: What would you say to aspiring DJs and producers who are trying to make their breakthroughs? Was there a critical moment for you?
Guy J: I think the critical moment for me was when I decided to learn how to produce and by doing that it helped me to find and develop my sound. I was inspired of course by great producers and tried to do what they did, but when you learn the software well and you learn new tricks you also develop your own way of making music and with that your own sound.
TS&S:What gigs are you most looking forward to this summer?
Guy J: I have a lot I’m looking forward to this summer! Going to Lightning in a Bottle which I’ve heard very good things about and back to Brazil in June with four gigs. Going to play at D-Edge for the first time and the magical Warung. My beloved Argentina in July and many more!
TS&S: How was your experience at the first year of Rapture Electronic Music Festival? How did the vibes compare to your other Miami Music Week events?
Guy J: I absolutely loved it! Besides of the weather at the end of the night which is beyond our control, it was great to see Miami getting proper underground festival dedicated for good music. It felt great to be part of something that unique — I hope to be back and be part of its growth.