It’s one of the most exhilarating, terrifying human experiences: a friendship suddenly accelerating into an all-consuming passion. Maybe you’ve secretly fantasized about it, or maybe it hits you out of nowhere. Either way, sparks fly, hormones surge, and you give yourself over completely to this burgeoning obsession. You feel loopy and elated all the time. More »
King Princess really is royalty of a sort. Mikaela Mullaney Straus, the 20-year-old upstart who’ll release her debut album Cheap Queen tomorrow, is the daughter of Oliver H. Straus Jr., owner of Brooklyn’s Mission Sound Recording. Like many artists who find their way to fame before exiting their teenage years, she was born … More »
Because my car is not new or fancy enough to display song titles and artist names when I listen to the radio, I sometimes find myself Shazam-ing while driving. Most recently, while blaring my local Top 40 station, I encountered a minimalist electronic pop song accented with finger snaps, sighing background harmonies, occasional outbursts of … More »
One of the best Onion articles ever is headlined like so: “Marilyn Manson Now Going Door-To-Door Trying To Shock People.” This was early 2001, more than a year after Manson became a scapegoat for the Columbine massacre and still several months ahead of 9/11. Despite a disputed election that introduced everyone to the … More »
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A widely publicized study this year confirmed what anyone paying attention to the industry has long known: Country music is a boys’ club. Back in April, USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative published its study No Country For Female Artists: Artist & Songwriter Gender On Popular Country Charts From 2014 To 2018, which found that … More »
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Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
23-year-old Jay Pryor has one of the most quintessential stories there is when it comes to his foray into dance music. A night out with friends at a Calvin Harris show inspired him to ‘become’ a music producer. To this day, he notes that Eric Prydz‘s “Everyday” is his favorite song because when Harris played the track, that’s when he knew that music production was what he had to do. So, he dropped out of college and did it. Pryor notes, “He (Harris) played this song, and it was a moment of clarity for me when I heard it.” He continued, “The place, the song, and Calvin as a figure was just so incredibly inspiring. When I got home from that trip I started teaching myself how to create dance music.”
A few years into this decision, Pryor has gone platinum thanks to his co-production credits with Steve Aoki on “Just Hold On” featuring Louis Tomlinson, and the rest is recent history. Many people who have produced music for decades will not hit platinum, and even fewer who drop out of college to chase this glamorous dream will be able to sustain themselves financially through music production. Pryor has seemingly defied the odds, and he is a true testament to the idea that nature can beat out nurture. He is innately wired to be a producer, drawing sonic inspiration from everything from an Ikea store to the Marina outside of his home in Ireland. In fact, a recent track of his titled “All This” was created after he heard a boat passing by and he captured the sound.
While he has successfully navigated the entry into being a successful DJ and Producer in terms of achieving high streaming numbers on his productions and booking club sets, he is the first to admit there is work to be done. Pryor has spoken about how, with every success, his goals have only gotten bigger. This is especially the case when it comes to live performance, and he says he will not stop until he fulfills his dream of headlining the 3arena in Dublin. Pryor mentions, “I used to go there as a kid, and it’s always been a dream of mine to headline it and play to 13,000 people in my homeland.” A big 2019 will be instrumental for Pryor when it comes to achieving this feat.
Anyone who does get the chance to see Pryor perform live may notice the DJ wearing war paint on his face. No, the paint is not a fashion gimmick, but rather a sentiment to give him the courage to go on stage and perform in front of thousands of people. He explains, “when I was younger I used to be a really anxious kid.” Pryor continues, “My mam used to tell me that I wasn’t a ‘worrier,’but a ‘warrior.’ When I started playing shows, I would get nervous and anxious. I decided to apply the war paint to remind me that I’m not a worrier, but a warrior.” The war paint has now become a trademark of sorts for the producer, who is usually seen sporting the paint during his live shows.
Another location the producer draws inspiration from when it comes to live performance is house parties. He lives in a community in London that houses many DJs and Producers who all get together to play for each other when they don’t go out to clubs. Pryor’s Saturday Night Session mix is an example of what he would play for one of their nights in with each other, and he dubs the hour long Saturday Night Session as the perfect backdrop for a low-key pre-drinks before the night gets too crazy.
For those who are curious to hear more of Pryor’s productions, he has just released a brand new remix pack for his track “Make Luv” featuring remixes by Redfield, Crush Club, Illyus & Barrientos in addition to his own VIP mix of the track.
You have said that with every success you have, your goals get bigger and bigger. What are your goals right now for 2019?
Yeah that’s true! In 2019 I want to release as much music as I possibly can. I have so much content ready to go as I’ve been in the studio 12-16 hours a day since this past summer. I also have a lot of collaborations lined up for this year, which is something I haven’t really thought about doing until now. A big goal for me this year is to get out there and tour as much as possible. I really love throwing parties and playing to people, aside from working in the studio, it’s my favourite thing.
What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night that you are not performing?
As much as I love working in the studio all day, an important lesson my brother taught me was to create balance between work and social life. I live in London in a sort of campus of apartments where a lot of my DJ and producer friends also live. Most weekends we’ll go to clubs, parties, or host parties ourselves. I love DJ’ing at house parties because there’s a certain vibe that you can’t match at a club or festival. An intimate vibe. I tried to capture that with the majority of this mix.
Do you have any venues you dream of playing in?
One of my biggest goals is to headline the 3arena in Dublin. I used to go there as a kid, and it’s always been a dream of mine to headline it and play to 13,000 people in my homeland. Another venue I’ve dreamed of headlining recently is Printworks in London. That venue is next level. I’ve played Ministry of Sound a couple of times, but headlining Ministry is also on the bucket list.
Can you tell us about your nacho disappointment and how you find sounds from stores, like IKEA?
Haha, sometimes on my Instagram I vent my frustrations. And particularly on a certain day, a restaurant I had been ordering from had forgotten nachos from my order 3 times in a row. It was frustrating because I feel quite passionate about the burrito bowl/nacho combo, it’s unmatched. I called them and complained and they gave me some free meals so we’re even now. Regarding IKEA, I decided to drive to my local IKEA recently, sample sounds from the store and make a song out of it. You can check it out on my instagram, jaypryormusic. Shameless plug.
What is the weirdest place you have taken sonic inspiration from?
Back in Dublin I live in a marina, so there’s lots of boats around. I remember one day I was going for a run, and I heard a series of boat noises that somehow became the main melody line for my release ‘All This,’ that would have to be one of the most interesting forms of inspiration I’ve ever taken sonically.
Tell us about the new stripes on your face!
When I was younger I used to be a really anxious kid. My mam used to tell me that I wasn’t a ‘worrier,’but a ‘warrior.’ When I started playing shows, I would get nervous and anxious. I decided to apply the war paint to remind me that I’m not a worrier, but a warrior. I also want to use it as a way to connect people who feel the same way. I want my music to connect people and help them strive for their goals and best lives, despite that inevitable fear at the back of our mind.
What is your all time favorite dance music song?
It would have to be ‘Everyday’ by Eric Prydz. The reason I wanted to create dance music is because I saw Calvin Harris perform in Spain a couple of years back. He played this song, and it was a moment of clarity for me when I heard it. The place, the song, and Calvin as a figure was just so incredibly inspiring. When I got home from that trip I started teaching myself how to create dance music.
What do you think the biggest dance music trend to come out of 2019 is going to be?
I’m not entirely sure. Obviously in the pop space, urban music is still killing the game. Personally, my music has shifted back to my housier roots. I naturally fell back into love with this type of music, and coincidentally I feel like it will make somewhat of a comeback this year. I hope to help bring it to the masses once again.
What kind of a Saturday night is your mix going to get us ready for?
I recorded my mix as if I was playing at a house party. So I think it’s a good mix to stick on at a party, or something more lowkey like pre-drinks (I think you call it pregaming in the US). I really hope people like it and can party hard to it!
Electronic music is many things, but being short on stereotypes is not one of them. From the stigma that electronic music producers don’t make ‘real music’ to bros wearing the ultimate wannabe DJ uniform, there is always something to make fun of. While many reject that these stereotypes are laced with reality, Jay Pryor is a living embodiment of the electronic dance music era and all of its stereotypes — in the best possible way.
Jay Pryor is the bedroom producer who dropped out of college to become a famous musician after going to a Calvin Harris show on New Years Eve. Yes this really happened, and yes this worked out for him. Do not try this at home.
While Jay Pryor may not be a name electronic music fans recognize at first mention, it is a name that they likely will hear down the road. Think this promise is overstated? Pryor’s first major collaboration was one that he was not listed in the title for, but it has since gone Platinum. He was one of the masterminds behind hit single “Just Hold On” by Steve Aoki and Louis Tomlinson. Another mentor of his includes Nick Gale of Digital Farm Animals. To go from being a teen in Dublin at the skatepark on Saturdays to working with some of the biggest names in the electronic music industry, after deciding one day that electronic music was his calling, is an unusual story.
When considering where his future may take him, Pryor notes that he thinks the music industry is in a really inspirational place. He believes that now is the time for ‘fresh-faced’ producers like himself to come in with a new outlook and a unique style. While he picked up producing later on in his teens, Pryor has never been short on creativity. He even started his own graphic design firm when he was 15, and moving forward, he plans on designing his own music videos so that his tracks will be visually representative of his artistry.
Pryor is the exception, not the rule, when it comes to dropping out of college and becoming the next up and comer. He has defied all odds, and will be a producer to watch moving forward. He also is a featured artist for Dancing Astronaut’s The Radar series, where he has produced an energetic hour long mix showcasing past releasing and upcoming originals.
When did you become interested in music and start producing?
I started producing music 3 and a half years ago when I got back from a holiday with my friends after seeing Calvin Harris perform. I never really thought I had the confidence to create music and have an artist project, but once I started, my confidence quickly began to build. I realized this was the thing that people talk about, so I dropped out of college and started focusing on it full time!
Who are your musical inspirations?
Oh gosh, I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, but really I could go on and on about this. I really love where music is right now. There are a lot of fresh faced artists in the game that are bringing their own unique sound, look, and feel. Right now I’m really into Lil Skies, Bazzi, and also Tory Lanez – all those guys kill it. I also really have to mention Charli XCX too. She’s been crushing it for a minute, and her latest album is epic.
In terms of dance music, I love what DROELOE are doing. Brooks is someone I’ve looked up to for a while it. I’m also really excited by Virtual Self, which is Porter Robinson’s new moniker, and someone I used to constantly listen to when I started, and it’s dope to hear what he’s progressed to now.
Being 22 and co-producing “Just Hold On,” a track that has hit 400 million streams, must be pretty surreal. How does that feel?
Yeah, that was pretty sick. It didn’t really feel real until I saw it being premiered live on the X-Factor Final in Wembley Stadium. I’m forever thankful to Louis, Steve and their teams for that opportunity, and I just hope one day I can say I utilized that opportunity in the best way possible.
How would you characterize your style?
It’s hard to say right now. I’m writing a lot of music that is closer to my heart. I’m actually singing on a lot of my newer song ideas, and it feels really good. Of course, my music will always have dance influences and energy. But I want to portray an empowering message with my lyrics and a new sound. It’s epic, empowering, and makes you want to disrupt shit up. It makes you want to pave your own way, and do what feels right to you and only you. I can’t wait for you all to hear it.
Outside of producing music, what do you like to do?
Outside of producing music… I like writing music! But for real- I’m obsessed with art. I always have been. I actually started a graphic design company when I was 15, and I wouldn’t have gotten into creating music without it. I love everything visual as much as I love everything audible. I feel like a good brand represents your sound and message as much as the music does. I also helped write the treatment for my first music video, which I’m excited for you to see!