Israel’s Guy J is one of the pioneers who helped bring the classic sounds of progressive house together with the cutting-edge aesthetics of modern techno. Handpicked by John Digweed as one of the next-generation stars to be showcased on his Bedrock label, Guy has been extraordinarily prolific in the studio; a fact that’s reflected in how he approached his entry into the Balance series.
Instead of preparing a traditional DJ mix for the regular series, Guy was instead chosen to curate the next entry into the ‘Presents’ offshoot, following its launch with jozif earlier this year. And what he’s unveiled for his fans is definitely a treat – a sumptuously programmed mix that’s comprised entirely of his own productions, remixes and edits. It blurs the line between artist album and mix compilation in the same fashion as Sasha’s Involver series.
It’s a luxurious experience indeed; 80 minutes of his trademark lush, textured, deep and melodic sounds, all programmed to perfection with a beautifully flowing mix. I Voice finds out more.
The 'Balance' brand has quite a heritage behind it, and it's one of the strongest compilation series out there. How did this impact how you approached your mix?
The fact that Balance is a such a respected series is what made me want to create something that was a bit more timeless, so it’d be on the same level as their previous releases. I would have given my best regardless of the label, but knowing that it’s Balance meant I had a goal to reach for, and I believe it worked out for me.
At what point was it decided you were going to be part of the ‘Presents’ offshoot, rather than a normal installment?
Balance came with to me with idea to make a ‘Presents’ and not the normal double-disc mix they usually did. It’s a new series, and I'm happy that it’s the one CD. I wanted to put my personal touch to all of the music on the compilation, and so I ended up working on all the tracks across the disc, which I wouldn’t have been able to do across a double mix.
I'm just making house music, and I’m very influenced by progressive sounds, by trance at some points, so I like I mix all that together... The approach you’ve taken seems very much in line with Sasha’s ‘Involver’ series, in terms of being a fusion of an artist album with a more traditional mix compilation.
I love the idea of the Involver albums. These days I'm uploading a mix set almost every month to my official Soundcloud page, and so just putting out another mix on a CD can seem less special than it once did. I have the tools I need to create music, and as it was my first compilation, I needed to make it special. I wanted to fuse my art with the beautiful music of the artists who are featured on the mix, so I allowed myself to go down that direction. Maybe for my next compilation I’ll go for the traditional way.
The mix is entirely made up of your own work, in terms of either being originals, remixes or edits. Where does the line between ‘artist album’ and ‘compilation’ begin and end?
I think there is big different between a remix and original. A remix wouldn't be possible without the original track from the artist, and they’ve all been very supportive in that process. When you make an album of original music, the music is coming from your heart and it’s totally personal.
What inspired your choice of tracks to remix? There’s an interesting mix of new tracks from the likes of Henry Saiz, and older classics from Echomen and Way Out West.
I know most of the artists who were remixed, so it was a smooth process to get it done. With the more classic ones though, it also felt good to have something from the past. I've been lucky to be able to remix those beautiful classics from Echomen and Way out West, I grew up with these tracks so it’s like closing the circle by putting them out there again with my own touch.
You’ve talked about how Sasha & Digweed’s classic ‘Northern Exposure’ mixes inspired you as an artist, and you can definitely see it in terms of how you crafted your mix. What were you aiming for in terms of programming and flow?
Northern Exposure is an amazing compilation, and John Digweed is and was a very big inspiration for me. What still amazes me every time I see him perform is how he builds up a set. When I first discovered his radio show I became addicted, because you could hear a story, a journey, in an hour. I think it’s very hard thing to do, but this is what I tried to deliver with my Balance mix. It’s a musical journey that builds up and up, until there is kind of climax. So the 80 minutes feels like 10 minutes, which all makes sense together. Hopefully a timeless experience.
Your sound really is a distinct one, in terms of how you’ve found a new creative space between progressive house and techno. How has your sound evolved over the years?
I think today all the genres are mixed, and there’s not much point in putting yourself under any one sound. I'm just making house music, and I’m very influenced by progressive sounds, by trance at some points, so I like I mix all that together. I’ve played some warmup sets for John Digweed, and that’s what inspired me to produce house music at a lower BPM, and it really opened my mind and my sound. Some melodies won’t sound good with elements of techno, so I find a way to do it with other elements. I like to be free and ready to try new styles and ideas.
Is there still room for a commercial DJ mix in a crowded marketplace and free podcasts?
I think there is room, as long as it’s executed well. I want to believe people will appreciate the work behind the mix, not just in terms of the DJs who compile them, but also the labels, the PRs and all the different details around them.
Title: Balance presents Guy J
Label: Balance Music
01. DJ Yellow & Flowers and Sea Creatures - No One Gets Left Behind (Guy J Remix)
02. Roger Martinez & Secret Cinema - Menthol Raga (Guy J remix)
03. Henry Saiz featuring Fab Morvan - Santa Fe (Guy J Remix)
04. APM 001 - Migrants (Radio Slave Accapella) (Guy J Edit)
05. Juan Deminicis - Once upon a time (Guy J remix)
06. Navar - Phases Of Grief (Guy J remix)
07. Pavel Petrov - Fever (Pezzner mix)/DJ T Ft. Cari Golden - City Life (Accapella) (Guy J Edit)
08. Lanoiraude - Waitin’ (Charles Webster mix) (Guy J Edit)
09. Dactilar - Day one (Guy J remix)
10. Echomen - Perpetual (Guy J remix)
11. Guy Mantzur - I'm your country (Guy J remix)
12. WOW - Killa (Guy J Remix)
13. Robert Babicz - Duba (Guy J Remix)
Format: Digital /CD
Australian release date: July 12th, 2013
UK/Europe release date: July 15th, 2013
Nth American release date: August 6th, 2013
|Guy J Online|