Jay is one of the most versatile and respected artists in the electronic music scene. He plays and produces techno, tech house, electronica and of course his special Jay Lumen Sound. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Jay Lumen is the founder of Footwork Records, and has releases on Drumcode, Octopus, Relief, 100% Pure, Saved, and many more esteemed record labels. As a producer, he counts nine Number 1 Beatport tracks, twenty-four Top 10 tracks, and several Top 20 charted tunes too.
Jay’s musical upbringing began early, starting with classic conservatory music classes in his childhood. Since, he has been constantly learning and honing in his musical skills both as a music producer and as a DJ, delivering sets filled with dynamic, pulsating grooves and infectious vocals.
Enjoy the exclusive interview with Jay Lumen below:
First of all, dear Jay, thank you and your team for arranging this interview. It’s a great pleasure to talk with you about your music and upcoming events. In one of your past interviews, you mention that the tracks that you are producing are your babies, a piece of your soul, heart, and are a part of your actual mood. Tell us about the music and the special Jay Lumen style you produce.
Thanks, me too! Well, it’s not so easy to talk about your own style I guess. As DJ I play techno sounds mostly but I do have a transformation from the beginning point to somewhere else in my career and life. The art is a long time journey and you don’t really know the destination. You are just trying to express yourself to give out something of your soul and own world.
To be honest I love to move on a wide spectrum if we are talking about musical genres. As I mentioned I play techno mostly but sometimes I do have special house shows as well for unique smaller locations. I really believe in quality sounds and not just in genres. As a producer, I love to surprise the people. For example, I released a leftfield techno/breakbeat track on my last EP as I had that idea and I’ve got nice feedbacks on luckily. But nowadays I’m focusing on techno sounds mostly.
You are one of the contributing artists of the Drumcode label. How do you appreciate their motto: Drumcode for life. What does it mean personally to you?
To be honest I was never thinking about that. It’s an honor to cooperate with Drumcode as I respect the job that the whole team is doing plus Adam Beyer himself is a legend of course. What I can say is that they have really left their mark in the techno scene and they played a really big role in making techno popular again. I’m happy to be in the Drumcode group and one of my upcoming tracks will be released on Drumcode again this year on the 7th of December.
Congratulations! You have your own label Footwork that is rapidly going very well. My congratulations on your “The Last Raver” release that has been killing the Beatport charts. Tell us more about it and its mission.
Thank you very much. I’m so happy that the people like this EP so thanks for the support. Footwork is my baby. I love to manage the label and of course, my team helps me a lot. And yes it goes really well and we get such great feedback from artists like Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Joseph Capriati, Pan-Pot, Sasha, and many many more. Also I think it’s a positive sign on our side that we released physical vinyl format as well.
It was a very important goal for me when I started my label. I love to give a bit of extra as the people (we all) need lasting things in our life, these days more than ever. It’s better to feel the smell, the weight, the sound of vinyl releases and really be able to say that “I have this EP”.
We do have label nights as well and we try to invite talented artists for our events including newcomers as well. So we are on the right path step by step and I’m happy about that .
You studied in music school for 8 years playing the violin. How did this experience affect you and why did you decide to change your musical direction from classical to techno?
Well it was a very good basic level for everything to me. I still really love classical music, maybe because of this, who knows. As a little kid I loved all kind of music, just like now. I’m an “everything eater”. But I really loved old school techno and house music. Electronic music has infected me so fast. So I was really sure that I want to be a DJ when I was 9 years old. My music school was a really important first step for my producer and DJ life. As I’ve got the basics of music theory I was able to create my ideas easily I guess. I feel that I would be on the same path without it as well but on a longer and much more “bumpy road”.
Jay, you have a lot of collaborations. For example, you produced a track with Green Velvet as well as other artists. Describe your emotions about this and what is important to you when you work with somebody on a project?
Yes I produced with many nice artists in the last few years. A collaboration is always a special emotion. DJ/producers like me are a little bit lonely in the studio. We create our own ideas and we don’t need to ask any opinion as we have our own creative process, so we have to open ourselves when we collaborate with someone else and it’s about trust and respect. Collaborations are a team journey. We send different ideas and pieces of our own worlds and somehow the final image of the sound is beginning to shape up. That’s why I like to produce with someone. It’s a good chance to create something different and fresh plus you can learn and teach each other new things.
Tell us more about Pan-Pot’s Second State label and the upcoming compilation you are a part of!
To be honest, I don’t have too much information about it yet. Yes it’s true that I joined Second State and one of my upcoming tracks will be released on the next SUM 9 compilation from them at the end of this year. I’m happy as I love the sound of Second State and the Pan-Pot guys are very nice. So I hope you will hear the track so soon!
You are a big fan of movies and have a nice collection of movie relics. What do you thinks about soundtracks in films? Do you wish to have such experience in the future, writing a track for a movie?
Yes I love movies and soundtracks as well, especially if we are talking about symphonic original motion picture scores. I’m a big fan of John Williams, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, Howard Shore, Elliot Goldenthal, and many many other composers. These guys are awesome, especially John Williams as he has such a unique complex but very character sound. He is a real genius for me who I respect totally. I would be so happy to compose a track or a whole album for a movie in the future. That would be a very different kind of creative process. But it’s one of my dreams from my childhood so I hope somewhen I will have a chance for it.
What was the longest set you have played?
9 hours was the longest set by me. To be honest I’m not as maratonist like Danny Tenaglia or Marco Carola but I love to play extended sets occasionally. When I play longer I do have chance to show a journey from house to techno as a real trippy session.
This year the music industry has faced a difficult period due to COVID-19. How did it affect you?
Well it’s a very sad and difficult period for all people. It doesn’t matter what your profession is. So first of all I wish faith, strength and perseverance for everyone. Personally I have kept my focus on my studio work. Luckily I have enough creative energy even if I have less external influences. To be honest I don’t understand how but maybe as I was always a dreamer. So when I’m in my studio I can be fully out of the material world. Sometimes it’s not the best but in the situations like this it helps me a lot to stay creative.
I’ve just finished working on many new tracks in different genres, but mostly techno. As I mentioned my upcoming tracks will be out on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode, Pan-Pot’s Second State, and of course on my own Footwork label as well soon.
Plus I do have my own live streams regularly, every second week actually via my Facebook page. So, I try to give energy to people through my music and I get so much thankful feedback, comments and private messages. It’s the time when we need to become even more of a big family and I try to do my best to be a part of this.
What are your top 5 of Track IDs?
Wow it’s so difficult as it depends on what kind of genre we are talking about. To be honest I’m an everything eater so let’s talk about techno and electronic music now. Here is my Top 5 for this week:
FJAAK – Back To The 70’s
DLV – Rave Instructor
Floorplan – Save The Children (Detroit Mix)
Michael Klein – Always Talking Sister
Yo Speed – Voices
You are always on top of the charts, have received many professional awards and have traveled all over the world with a huge number of gigs. What other goals do you want to reach?
Well, I feel lucky and I’m happy to realize my childhood dreams day by day. DJing, traveling and partying with nice people, this was my dream when I was 8-9 years old but I always love to set new goals.
I keep my focus on the next steps first of all but I do have long term plans as well. I do have planned venues, special locations where I’d like to play or artists who I’d like to produce with, as I respect them of course. You are never at the end of your path in your life and a masterplan never ends.
The most important thing for me is to learn something new day by day and try to improve. As soon as you think you are good enough and you have nothing to learn you have lost the game with yourself. That’s the end of your real life. I really love to try new things, new genres and sounds… that’s what I do these days as well. I experiment with new styles and injections into my music world. For example, my “The Last Raver” track was a little journey into the leftfield/breakbeat genre and I was really happy as people loved it.
The final goal that I want to reach is to be complete DJ, artist and also a private person. To find the right mixture. If you are able to progress in both your career and private life you will reach the real balance.