Bristol Spotlight: Jay L

Next up under our Bristol spotlight is Jay L, vinyl enthusiast and connoisseur of all things house, soul, funk and boogie. His debut release on the vinyl only brstl imprint (see tracks below) has an anachronistic charm to it, transporting you to the Motor City where there are some definite similarities in style and arrangement. But Jay is a DJ first and foremost, and his main musical duties lie with the FallingUp crew as a selector and part-time thrower of great parties. In fact they’ve got their next one coming up this saturday at the Motorcycle Showroom, with Jay going back-to-back all night with fellow-FallingUp partner Andy Mac. In anticipation, Jay has put together a smashing mix for us and answered a few questions.

Download Jay L’s Bristol Spotlight mix. Tracklist at Soundcloud.

You’re one third of the triumvirate that is FallingUp. Can you give us a run-down about what it is and what you get up to?

Basically, FallingUp is a combination of myself, Andy (Mac) and Luke (Typesun). I’m not sure I’d describe it as a triumvirate, though! Very generally speaking, we play records, put on parties, DJ together and do a radio show. It’s about a mutual appreciation for music and wanting to share that with people.

We all got together off the back of a regular Wednesday night jam that Luke used to do in a pub – live music, dancers, singers, writers and that kind of thing. Me and Andy ended up becoming residents there, which was a lot of fun and lead to a weekly Thursday hangover. FallingUp was born out of us wanting to put on a more late night, heads-down extension of it, with a focus on the more club orientated sounds we’re into. We’d all been DJing for a long time prior to this, and held down separate residencies at various clubnights, but we wanted to put on a night of our own where there were no compromises and we could book and play exactly who and what we wanted. At the time, there didn’t seem to be many nights in Bristol booking the kind of artists and DJs we wanted to represent, so we took it from there.

We all do our own things too: DJ, make music and what not.

About your parties a bit more, a particular favourite of ours was Mike Huckaby at The Motorcycle Showroom, but for people who haven’t had the privilege, what are your parties about and what makes them special? 

That was a good one! A true legend. He really layed it down and was just totally cool.

It’s definitely taken time to build the nights the way we want them. Realising over time what we didn’t want to do has been just as important in shaping the nights as knowing what we did want. For example, not doing them too regularly – we’ve got no desire to ‘build a brand’ or be a business with it as a commercial club night.  What we do want, is to put on an authentic PARTY. For the love. Something that people can come to with an open mind and reeeally get down: to good music, with good vibes and in good company. No bullshit. No pretence. No grand statement.

We like to give our guests space, rather than try and cram DJs in with no time to play or find a groove. Warming up nicely is really important, as is the DJ knowing that they have the freedom to take it wherever they want to go. We like the nights to flow in a way that takes people with us for the duration (hopefully) – so we can all get lost in it and come out the other side grinning and wiping sweat from our brows.

All sounds very idealistic, doesn’t it!

You’ve got a party coming up at the end of this month. What’s happening there?

Yes…This Saturday (31st) at the Showroom again. It’s such a great space. We always have a good time at parties there. Dirtytalk and Housework have also put on some great nights in that building. It’s just got that back-to-the-raw, warehouse/loft vibe. And it’s the right size. There’s a bit of a void for smaller clubs in Bristol at the moment. With the Showroom, I like the fact that you could walk past on the street, look in to the cavernous room downstairs and be completely oblivious to the party going off up top (apart from the thud of the system, that is).

So, this time round it’s just Andy and I, back to back, all night long! We had a great time playing before the Huck, and really felt like we could have stretched it out for the whole night – it’s been a while since we did that. The opportunity came up here, so that’s what we’re doing. Just pure music and vibes. Come down!

Late last year you released your first EP on the brstl label. How does your own output differ to or lead on from your work with FallingUp?

It’s just an extention, really. FallingUp is a kind of base; a musical home, if you will. So the music I make is of course influenced and inspired by what we do – and what Andy and Luke are up to – but it’s also very personal.

I’m a DJ, first and foremost. That’s where I’m coming from.

Your FallingUp UFO shows on Passion Radio are vinyl only affairs, as is your Brstl EP. A hard question I know, but what is it you love about vinyl?

… meaning, memories, love, effort, commitment, care, investment, quality, history, knowledge, feeling, digging, collecting, tangibility, fragility, art, warmth, dust, crackles, paper cuts and an empty wallet!

It was never a conscious thing to have the radio shows vinyl only – it’s just the way we consume music. Most of the music I own is on wax and so it makes sense that the majority of what I play is vinyl. I’m not a ludite or anything, but for me, vinyl feels right. Each to their own.

On the radio front, shouts to the Kelly Twins and Sell By, with whom we share the slot.

Your house is burning down and you can only save three records from your collection. What would they be and why? 

Maaan, I can’t call it. Like any good captain, I’m gonna have to go down with that ship!

Where’s your favourite place to buy records in Bristol? 

Idle Hands of course! Chris is flying the flag. There’s a few other little shops where you can occasionally find some gems. There’s a couple of dealers at the record fair held (occasionally) at Colston Hall that have always got some good shit.

A lot of your selections on your FallingUp show are older joints, but what are your three favourite tracks from 2013?

Yeah, we take it everywhere. It’d be pretty boring (for us, at least) to just play the latest deep house bangers. But we do always have a mix of old and new on the radio. The last show contained lots of upfront unreleased goodies. But for all the great new music that’s out there, there’s so many amazing records – looking back – that have informed what we have (musically) today. Once you start opening up those pathways, it’s never-ending.

As for favourite releases, there’s been some brilliant music that’s come out this year. Again, it’s very hard to narrow down to three so I might have to get back to you on that! One that would be in there is Seven Davis Jr’s forthcoming EP. Really fresh. The tracks One and All Kinds are instant classics. Raw, lo-fi funk with a ruff, soulful edge.

Funkineven is consistently killing it. Also Kyle Hall, GB (Gifted and Blessed), Greg Beato, Delroy and the LIES crew. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Jay Daniel too. He’s got some solid debut tracks on the way. Also, look out for Adjowa. The list goes on and on.

Are there any lesser-known Bristol producers you’re feeling at the moment? 

Well Luke (Typesun) is a genius, but then you knew that already. It’s so good to see him getting some well deserved recognition and props from all sorts of different places. Andy Mac of course. Watch out. Our friends Shanti & Grmrcy have been hard at work. Shanti (Celeste) has just had her first release drop on brstl too, with more in the pipeline. There’s also rumours of a certain ginger ninja getting on some beats! Bristol’s full of people with ideas. I’m sure there’s a load of producers out there with projects waiting to reach our ears.

And finally, beyond the night on the 31st, is there anything in store for Jay L and FallingUp we should look out for?

I’ve got something coming out on Don’t Be Afraid, hopefully before the end of the year – waiting on a remix for that, which is exciting. Andy’s got a bumper double pack EP dropping on Idle Hands at the end of October, which is all sounding super strong and Luke’s planning a series of 12s which may include a collaborative effort from the three of us on remix duties.

Party-wise, we’re set for a collaboration with Donuts before the year’s out, and also a birthday party in December. More in the works, but we’ll leave it at that for now :]


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