Justin Jay has been on a spiritual journey — a Fantastic Voyage, you might say. That’s the name of his live band, a gang of high school and college friends with whom he just wrapped a monthlong van tour across the United States. It was the DJ and producer’s first time taking such a road trip, embarked upon in support of his 14-track, band-oriented album Home.
Performing and singing self-penned songs was an emotional moment of intense growth and vulnerability for a man more used to spinning funky house grooves behind a DJ booth, but it was an experience he’ll never forget. Now, of course, it’s time to take those lessons, turn them out, and shake some f—in’ ass.
“Music can be scary when you’re putting something out that means a lot to you,” Jay says, “and I feel like that fear is so bad for the creative process; thinking about is it good enough, will people like it. All those fears ruin the process. You’ve got to get in that zone where things are pouring out, you’re not really judging ’em, and you’re just letting things happen. That’s the state I am always trying to get to, and on ‘Cash Money,’ it happened.”
Jay is proud to present his gloriously goofy, fabulously funky two-track EP Cash Money. It’s a double-sided dose of dance floor dankness and a strong return to his Dirtybird booty-tech roots. Side-A is the title track original, and the flip is a techno dub of the musical mastermind’s own creation. it was inspired by a joke among friends when Jay and his buds couldn’t stop listening and relistening to Estonian rapper Tommy Cash’s song “Pussy Money Weed.” Jay finished the EP while in the cramped confines of the tour van, surrounded by the pile of instruments, stage production and close friends.
“I’d never heard the finished versions of the songs on real speakers, only on my headphones,” he laughs. “It was pretty funny, because I was able to get all this really helpful feedback from my bandmates, waking them up at like 2 a.m. while we’re driving through the middle of nowhere like, ‘Yo, how does the clap sound?’ and they’re like, ‘Dude, it’s fine.'”
That was an important part of the process, because where writing Home was a lesson in digging deep, “Cash Money” was in experiment in letting go and trusting his instincts.
“[The first draft] felt like something was missing when I was playing it,” he says. “It just needed a little bit more energy during the buildup. One morning, I recorded like a bajillion takes of me going “aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhaaaahhhh” as loud as I could into my iPhone, and my whole band was just like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’ I went into a bathroom, because everyone was just getting mad. Everyone was so skeptical about my idea, and then it worked out, and they were like, ‘Dude, you did it.'”
The techno dub was maybe even more fun to create, the result of a few failed ideas come to final fruition.
“I was hanging out with Kill Frenzy and we weren’t working on music,” Jay says. “He was feeling really tired, but I wanted to work, so I busted up my laptop speakers and made like the bass beat. I was like ‘dude, do you want to work on this? This could be cool,’ because I was kinda into it, and he was like ‘No, I don’t like it,'” he laughs.
He didn’t touch that beat for about a month, but it came back to him when “Cash Money” was in the works. He smashed it up against the bass layer for giggles, and it sounded pretty good. The final touch was a third half-finished beat, and suddenly, the techno dub was born.
“At Electric Forest, I played it at one of the afterparties,” Jay says. “It was at one of those renegade RV sets. There was like five people on the dance floor and just as many DJs behind the decks. Me, Louis the Child, Hotel Garuda, Manilla Killa and Jauz. I just rolled up to the party, and they’re all playing music. I played that and they all freaked out like, ‘Dude, what is this?’ I was like, ‘This one’s done. This one’s ready.'”
Done, ready and finally released for your listening and mixing pleasure. “Cash Money” started as a strange inside joke and turned into his big return to the DJ world. You can catch him performing it on a “Cash Money” tour around the U.S., dates listed below. It leads up to his set at Dirtybird Campout West on Oct. 5, in Modesto, California. The Fantastic Voyage will also be on hand for a Campout takeover.
His label by the same name will soon release a remix EP for Home, featuring a really cool track from Walker & Royce that’s currently making the rounds in all of Claude VonStroke’s DJ sets. Jay also wants you to look out for his remix of Walker & Royce’s “Take Me to Your Leader” coming soon, but for now, just get down and dirty with Cash Money below.
Cash Money Tour
July 28 — Albuquerque, NM @ Effex Nightclub
July 29 — Houston, TX @ Stereo Live Houston Terrace
Aug. 03 — San Francisco, CA @ The Great Northern
Aug. 05 — Dallas, TX @ Sisu?
Aug. 06 — Orlando, FL @ Gilt Nightclub
Aug. 11 — Bronx, NY @ Elements NYC Music and Arts Fest
Aug. 12 — Baltimore, MD @ Moonrise Festival
Aug. 18 — Denver, CO @ Jackson’s Rooftop
Aug. 24 — Portland, OR @ No Vacancy
Aug. 25 — Chicago, IL @ Spybar?
Sept. 1 — Los Angeles, CA @ Skybar?
Sept. 6 — Seattle, WA @ Q Nightclub
Sept. 14 — Milwaukee, WI @ SITE1A?
Sept. 15 — Minneapolis, MN @ Union Rooftop
Sept. 22 — Austin, TX @ Carson Creek
Sept. 23 — Santa Barbara, CA @ Outside in Fest
Oct. 3 — Costa Mesa, CA @ La Cave
Oct. 5 — Modesto, CA @ Dirtybird Campout