Two decades into his career and Jay Tripwire remains on the top of his game. As the proud owner of a staggering two hundred and forty five vinyl releases the venerable Vancouver DJ/producer has worked up solid relationships with the likes of Tonality, Pokerflat, Hypercolour and 1trax, where he delivers his most recent remix duties on Robert Owens classic Chicago house track, ‘I’ll be your friend.’ A firm fabric favourite, his Room Three set next Saturday celebrates a ten year anniversary spinning to a loving crowd here in Farringdon and his promo mix is testament to that. As well as the mix we caught up with him to quiz him on everything from the decaying scene in North America, the coming planetary alignment of 2012 and how fabric changed his approach to making music and production.
Hi Jay, how has the summer been treating you?
I have had a pretty exciting summer, my wife and I had a baby girl July 31st, we named her Opal. From mid July to end of August I had taken off from touring for family time.
It has been a domesticated summer which is a good break from the travel, mind you I am itching to sit on airplanes and play music for people, it is such an integral part of who I am and my purpose here that a few months off really makes me appreciate doing it even more.
What’s been exciting you most this year, musically or otherwise, and why?
Well obviously the baby has been really exciting. Musically there’s been a lot of great releases this year that has me super stoked to play music for people. The constant evolution for house and techno with jazz and ethnic influences into one pure cosmic sound has captured my creativity and my imagination. Things got a bit stagnant for a while in the late 00's for me and the last few years has really been inspiring a lot of people into trying new things and I love feeling their inspiration which in turn feeds me.
What helped foment such a strong musical vision so early in your career? Was it music you grew up listening to or were there other influences involved?
In Vancouver the late 80s were very heavily influenced by industrial music left over from the Skinny Puppy era here that morphed into early rave then into sub scenes of house,techno etc. I think the thing that influenced me the most was Kraftwerk and a lot of dub, as a DJ I have always gravitated towards hybrid sounds that blur gentrification in some ways. We have always kind of had a huge melting pot of sounds here, Detroit, NYC, Chicago and UK house and techno at a slower bpm blended together in a way that makes sense.
North America has been responsible for some of the most exciting underground house music to come out in recent years. How does it feel to be there from the beginning and how would describe the movement & the new artists coming out of it today?
Hahah well DJ Mag once said I was one of the most exciting things to come out of North America and funny you bring that up, North America cannot really hold a candle to the scene in Europe, Mexico and South America. Music is global and you can no longer really pinpoint where someone is from by their sound, its sad to watch the scene here decay like it has with a few smallish resurgences here and there. But we keep fighting to keep it alive, a lot of the decay here was because all the music styles here are kind of segregated, in house alone you get all these mini scenes and that slows the momentum of it as a whole.
What’s been some of your favourite crowds to play to over the last 2 decades? What’s been your most memorable crowd reaction...?
fabric wins for the most consistent club and crowd energy, there are always pockets of good parties out there, I played a really cool festival in LA end of May called Lightning in a Bottle that was such an inspiring experience.
Tell us about your four full length albums. How do they represent your musical evolution and is there one that is most special to you...?
My 4th Density album really is a special one to me- it was a whole new style of writing and approach to production. My Gemini Soul album was a homage to old school deep house. It had lots of jazz stylings influences drawn from early Prescription and Guidance and at the time it was before the whole retro deep house movement even started so it was nice to be ahead of the curve. I am working on a 8channels album right now that is in a spacey dub techhouse style that should drop in 2012.
I did 2 other lesser known albums under 2 alias names so that I could do something different and free from the constraints of what Jay Tripwire might be known to do and that was a fun creative process.
You’ve dropped EP’s and a whole host of remixes for labels. What are your production plans and when you think about putting a track together, what are the most important elements?
Playing on the soundsystem at fabric changed my approach to making music and production actually, I moved towards a cleaner more intricate sound with emphasis on clean production and being more free musically.
These days I am heavily into astral cosmic sounds and the track titles reflect that, writing songs about Nibiru, Cycle 24 and Jupiter and the coming planetary alignment of 2012.
It feels like we are living in a time of cosmic happenings and to me it’s the perfect soundtrack for these times.
Tell us about your 8Channels alias? What’s the music philosophy behind it and what do you enjoy most about playing as 8Channels compared to Jay Tripwire?
8Channels is a moniker when I do more spacey tracky tech stuff that has influences deeply rooted in Basic Channel, Tikiman with a driving groove that has alot of dubby chords. I don’t play under that moniker too often and when I do it’s usually a live set as opposed to a Dj set, I guess that is the difference.
8Channels has been widely received by labels such as Poker Flat and helped break me into the German market more and led to me doing a mixed CD compilation for Poker Flat which was a great project to do.
You’re known as a purveyor of the extended set. What is it you enjoy most about going to the next level?
The long set enables me to take people everywhere I want to go in a set, I can really go thru the many styles I like to play and switch styles in long transitions so they seem natural. Morning sets are great because the people who are there want to be there and they are the die hards who are fully feeling the music. The energy exchange at that point in the morning is really special. I played in New Orleans once and they let me play for 12 hours, it was a smaller party and about 6am the vibe got really thick and from that point on the rest of the party was pretty magical.
What have you been cooking up in the studio recently?
I have been quite busy lately; I have a new remix of the Robert Owens Classic "Ill be you friend" to drop on 1trax, a remix for DJ Three on his Hallucination imprint, a remix for Alex Jones on Hypercolour, as well a host of others.
As far as originals I have Jay Tripwire and 8 Channels projects, about 6 of them and 5 of those are slated for Vinyl release I’m up to 245 vinyl releases in total by the end of the year so I am really excited that I get to carry on making records.
Can you tell us a littlebit about the mix you have made for us?
This is room 3 music I put to together to reflect on some of what I will play that night.
If I am not mistaken this September marks either 9 or 10 year anniversary playing at the club so on the night I will play a lot of favorites I have played at fabric over the years that stand the test of time.
Tell us 3 things you can’t live without?