July 06 2016

Jay Daniel: Everyday Detroit

New York-Le Bain
We sat down with Detroit's own Jay Daniel after he rocked Le Bain on Saturday, July 10th.
LE BAIN: You’ve been hailed as one of the brightest new artist coming from Detroit, both as a DJ and producer, and said to be in line with techno and house's greatest, such as the Belleville Three, Carl Craig, Moodyman, Theo Parrish, Omar S, and your friend, Kyle Hall. What does that inspire in you? 
JAY DANIEL: It's great to know that I am a part of a community of artists that are promoting Detroit culture given the misconceptions of this city in America and abroad. The amount of love people have for each other in Detroit truly inspires me to create. Not just musicians, but everyday people. 

The Standard
"America's future is seeming very bleek as of now."
Your mother released two classic records produced by Carl Craig on a sub-label of Planet E in the early 90s, so obviously that’s another legacya family one. Could you share one of your earliest music memories that actually had an impact on you?
I remember playing the drums as a child, and I still play the drums to this day. I also remember my cousin and I listening to my Mom's tape and just being amazed by her voice.

You're part of a generation that was born after techno and house. In a way, for your generation, those two genres are as relevant as any other music genres. But at its core, techno has been a music expression of the future, born in Detroit through new technology. Is the future still a source of inspiration for you? 
To be honest, America's future is seeming very bleek as of now. It has been hard to channel events into creative energy, because I am not sure where we are being led to. Lately, I have found inspiration in social activists and jazz musicians of the past. A lot of our elders seem to have had an understanding of what would come of America. With that being said, yes, I would consider my music futuristic.
"Us in Detroit who do create need to step it up and make our voices and art felt."
Unlike other cities like Chicago or New York, there are not many legendary clubs in Detroit, with one exception being the Music Institute. Can you tell us about your party, Fundamentals with Kyle Hall? You said, “You can’t just do a party, you want to create experiences.”
Yeah, it's pretty frustrating not having a solid venue to perform at on the regular, because that's how we reach our goal. You need somewhat of a sanctuary where people can come to express themselves and just be free. With all of the DJs that play overseas, you'd think there would be at least one spot at home, but I can't say that there is one.

You said, "My audience is people here [in Detroit] who can drive around in the car and listen to it.” When working on a track, do you listen to it in the car? What's your favorite record to drive to?
Yeah, a lot of the time I'll finish a track and listen to the mix down in the car. My favorite record to listen to in the car is J Dilla's "Fuck the Police."
"I don't think that Detroit needs a rebirth at all."
Seth Troxler told us he believes Detroit is ready for a renaissance. What would you say the city needs for a rebirth?
I don't think that Detroit needs a rebirth at all. Right now there a lot of businesses that are coming into the city that don't necessarily reflect the ethos of the city. I'd say it is creating somewhat of a dissonance between the new comers and the native Detroiters. I do think that us in Detroit who do create need to step it up and make our voices and art felt.


Photos by
Mehdi Lacoste