Resonant Frequencies Vol. 7 – Jay glass dubs
I’m interested in knowing how and when you were first introduced to dub music. For me, having grown up in Miami and the Florida Keys, very close to the Caribbean, it was through osmosis—it rolled like waves out of stereos everywhere. In that way, dub brings back a nostalgia for my seaside hometown. I’m curious what state dub evokes in you.
Soundsystem music was fairly big in Athens when I was in my late teens/early twenties (so in the late 90's/early 00s) but I never was part of that culture. My background was mostly rooted on punk rock, indie music and electronic music. I went to dub through stuff like Drexciya and Rhythm & Sound and through bands like Fugazi and Bauhaus. As a listener it took me some time to understand the huge influence that dub had in these forms of music until I started immersing myself in the history and properties of the genre that I found fascinating. I remember getting really hooked by dub when I was serving in the Greek army (it's mandatory) and started dosing in a semi-regular basis (that was mandatory as well, at least for us) with my friend there on our days off-service. To me dub has this otherworldly quality, this ''elevation'' factor where nothing is premeditated and surprise is always lurking, there is always space for pure improvisation and experimentation, plus knowing that it comes from such an original and raw need, makes it probably the most important cultural asset that has emerged in the last 40 years of our civilization. It always brings to me in a state of emergency, clarity and warmness with an ever-glowing sense of the future.
You mentioned the mix you recorded for us came from an emotional place, with each track having a particular meaning. What are you able to express differently through mixes than through your own recordings? Do you find it’s easier or more challenging to express an emotional narrative through a mix?
I have always enjoyed making mixtapes for my loved ones. Some of my oldest friends still have the cassette & cdr mixes I use to make for them. I was in my high school friend's car the other night and she dropped a CD I had made for her back in 1997. It was so bizarre and nice to reflect on who I was when I compiled it so yes, definitely there is a momentum that I wanna maintain when I am putting a mix together, whether this would be historically referential, music trivia oriented or even allowing something as personal as an emotion being addressed by using other musician's experiences and expressions.
I make mixes as I would orchestrate a live performance, their similarities in longevity help in that matter. I always allow space for contemplation, I like tempo drifts and I am always prominent to the odd interlude wedge. This particular mix I had my partner in mind, it is addressed to her.
I know that part of your recording process involves sampling—be it yourself or various other recordings—and then atomizing the sound source, reassembling it into something wholly unrecognizable. What is it about beginning with a sample versus tracking or synthesizing sound from scratch that is special to you?
I begin having a sound or an idea in my head that I can create and a handful of options on how to create it. These ideas hardly ever come from music itself, it's life that creates them. The sound of my life I mean.
I am now working close to the seaside and this has allowed me to be able to have a walk to open my head; the water helps me get the big picture. For example, the sound of the sailboat's masts in a windy morning at the marina close to my studio is way more inspiring to me than the most beautifully constructed dub-out. In the same terms I treat a sample, more like a sound construction than a vital factor for the recording. I will ''distill'' a sample, most of the times my aural scopes differ to the original creation's purpose 100%. This creates a very thin filament between the original and the copy (if we can refer to a sample as such) that might lead to a sudden familiarity that is very hard to grasp.
It's always moving me to hear how a sound can transform as well, this is always fascinating to me. I recognize patterns in music a lot—the sonic loops on the subway, the clicking of walls—things like that. Also, I use a lot of public transportation as I am not a driver so I guess the commodity of urban noise could apply in my case as well.
If you had one piece of advice you could give to young and aspiring artists today on living sustainably, what would it be?
Please when you find out make sure to tell me! Jokes aside it is really hard for everyone at the moment not only artists. Especially in Greece it's practically impossible to make a living through what I do. Life has becom so expensive, the wonderful dream of a European Union has been exaggeratedly put aside for now, I would not even think or talk about America at the moment, there are huge corporations in control of the whole world, there is war, hatred, discrimination, violence and most importantly the planet is dying.
Since artists are now the ''survivor speculative species'' and may turn to a possible weapon for the system to infiltrate more acquired space, all artists be they aspiring or established, old or young. need to keep promoting values like solidarity, love, respect, beauty, hard work, thought and positive action and not allow this crucible of death to devour everything.
As part of our mix series, we ask our contributors to choose one charitable organization they’d like to shine a light on. Do you have a cause you’d like to let others know of? What feels most urgent to you on a social/political level?
If I have to pick one I will do with the amazing people of Fantasmata Aspropyrgou who help the stray dogs in a very maltreated/industrial area outside of Athens called Aspropyrgos. They have done an amazing work up to now that can be found on their page and they need support for neutering, therapy for strays that suffer from growths, lodging and promotion of the animals for adoption. I also believe that animals are the silent victims of all this evil that man has created and by showing them support and love we take back something that is priceless and irreplaceable if lost, the ability to feel that we are part of a living system rather than its tyrannic usurpers, what we have sadly become.