Meet the man behind your favourite DJ's favourite records
Good things come to those who wait. Just ask North Wales producer Jay Robinson: his career in house, beats and heavyweight bass dates back to 2009. Since then he’s released originals and remixes across a dizzying array of high profile labels from Mad Decent to Southern Fried, Dim Mak to Cheap Thrills.
He’s currently working with two of the most dominant labels in bass music – Stanton Warriors’ Punks and AC Slater’s Night Bass – and his records are supported by the very biggest DJs in the industry. And the most respected, too: Laurent Garnier invited him to play at Agoria’s on-point Nuits Sonores festival earlier this year.
Laurent’s invitation is just one of many things that suggests Jay is experiencing his most successful year so far. As he starts to step from behind the records to bring his DJ skills further into the picture with live mixes on Facebook and a weekly radio show, more pieces of his puzzle are coming together. A puzzle that’s taken seven years and counting and includes hacking emails, biscuits with techno icons and David Guetta. The picture is only just coming into focus…
There’s a story behind your first ever Radio 1 mix isn’t there?
"Yeah... Annie Nightingale played a remix of mine and I wanted to get in touch with her to see if she’d support more of my stuff. I didn’t want to email the public BBC one because she probably never even looks at it so I figured out her personal account. I got it right first time and she actually got back to me straight away. Within the week she asked me to do the guest mix because they had a slot free. A pure fluke but I wasn’t complaining. That was a long time ago now, though."
A lesson to any aspiring artist: these things take time!
"They do. Over the years I’ve figured there are three ways to do this: get lucky and blow up, but suffer constant pressure to maintain that high forever; spam the shit out of social media and fiddle your way in there; or just hack at it slow and steady."
AKA the best way…
"Yeah, I always cite Eats Everything as a great inspiration of that route. He toiled away for years before he got the attention he deserves. What’s really weird is that big DJs support my tunes but promoters and general clubbers don’t know anything about me."
Which big DJs?
"Tiesto and David Guetta have played my songs on their radio shows. Armand Van Helden, Moby playing a tune to 10,000 people at Ultra. Even Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys! I have no idea how he picked up on my tracks, it blew my mind. But yeah, some crazy names have played my music, but I kinda get blasé about it. Having key DJs play your music is affirming, it proves you’re doing something right, but it makes you try even harder and do even more."
Like your new mix series and radio show?
"Exactly. I need to get out there and really show what I’m capable of as a DJ as well as a producer. The Facebook Live function has opened some really cool opportunities so I’m hosting a live mix from my Facebook page once a month on a Friday night for people to enjoy while they’re getting ready or download afterwards. The radio show is on Dirty House Party Radio. It’s weekly, and a chance to play everything I love. Not just the styles I’m associated with but a much wider spectrum of sounds."
Nuits Sonores is certainly a wide spectrum of sounds...
"That was beautiful. Me, Copy Paste Soul and Jackmaster, all invited by Laurent Garnier as artists he rates and gets excited by. It was fucking surreal!"
Garnier’s the man!
"He is! He just loves music. He gets back to everything he’s ever sent. At Nuits Sonores he showed me this folder dedicated to my tunes. It’s weird isn’t it? When I met him I was thinking, ‘Fucking hell, it’s Laurent Garnier! I went to see you play in Liverpool when I was 18 and you changed my life!’ And there we are, sitting backstage eating biscuits."
"Those square ones with chocolate in that they always have on the continent."
Of course they were! So what follows the Sixteen EP?
"That was a mad one - my highest Beatport chart release so far. I approached the whole EP differently because of my set with Laurent. I focused more on the house groove, which is where my heart lies and where my career began. I didn’t think it would work on Night Bass, though. But it did. Even Wolfgang Gartner was playing it."
Nice. And coming up next?
"Loads! A remix of the Stanton Warriors and Krafty Kuts. My new Night Bass EP is well under way and I’ve just dropped a free download with Sinden – Warp Drive - which is nuts... he’s one of my heroes and really inspired me with the bass-y, house-y stuff years ago. I just badgered him on Twitter for ages and eventually he caved in and we made a tune."
Like the Annie Nightingale story. Your whole career is based on hassling people online, isn’t it?
"Ha! Yeah... well, no one else is going to shove your foot in the door are they?"
Words: Dave Jenkins
Jay Robinson’s Dirty House Party Radio show starts on Friday August 26. Listen in here.