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Jay Haze Likes To Think Far, Far Outside the Box

With a new album about to drop, Haze talks analog gear, visual art and social awareness.

by Robert Perry
Nov 3 2014, 9:40pm

Jay Haze is one of the more interesting figures in the global dance music community. He has a noteworthy resume that includes releases under various aliases for the likes of Get Physical and Cocoon, all while running his own labels, TuningSpork and Contexterrior. Jay is set to release his next album, Finding Oriya, on November 10 on Matt Tolfrey's imprint, Leftroom.  

The album is a collaborative effort with Elan Benaroch, a.k.a. ESB, and was written in Benaroch's analog studio in Vancouver. Jay describes the album as most notably being warm and melodic.

"When he and I get together we usually start on the Rhodes or Wurly then add some vintage analog synths, both monophonic and polyphonic. For drums we used a lot of Linndrum, Roland 808 and CR-78," he says. "We had just about every classic sound source you could ever want and we knew how to use them—it was like going back in time!"

This melodic and analog sound Haze speaks of is apparent in one of the highlights tracks off the album, "Founded in You." The focal point of the piece is the intricately sequenced, acid-esque melody, accompanied with lush pads and a distant, whispering vocal sample.  

Haze has put out electronic music of consistent quality for a long period of time, but he's also a multi-faceted individual who doesn't limit himself to production time in the studio. He's well read and educated in realms outside of dance music.

"Lately I have been on different trips with music, but I find myself coming back to classical music and listening to compositions with more interest. I have been trying to learn as much music as I possibly can over the last two decades, and find myself coming back to where I started."

As an artist, he's also delved into the visual arena.

"I am currently working hard on developing my visual skills, and have found myself composing music in conjunction with the visuals I've been filming," he says. "I really feel this is the future of how I will express myself to the public. I have spent the last four years working on filming and photography and now is the time to melt them together."

Haze thinks outside of the box not only with his art but in many aspects of his life; he isn't shy to share his opinion on topics ranging from dance music to topics as heavy as nuclear proliferation. In regards to the current state and face of dance music, Haze is muddled about its future. "Dance music has grown legs and is running in the opposite direction I had hoped it would." Despite this, Haze says he isn't going to change dance music with his words and simply enjoys to "try and make people dance."

Aside from his personal art, the other hot topic of discussion was simple: people. Jay grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania where many of his friends and family had health concerns from the pollution in and around the city. He attributes this as being a large factor in his personal interest in the well being of others.

"It was such a shock for me that I got out of that situation and turned things around for the better. When that happens, you really want nothing more than to share that feeling and hopefully help others to do the same, however you can."

Haze has founded organizations like Red Dot Relief and also Toys and Needs—a charity project focused on improving the lives of children and communities in need in South America.  

"At the moment, the only thing we continue to run in South America is Toys and Needs—it continues to grow and gives us something positive to do in communities we are interested in," he says.

Haze aspires to a time where the needs of the less fortunate will be met before the needs of those in power. This is the foundation behind his concept of Music 2.0. It dreams of a day when "social awareness, culture, love, and dancing" will revolutionize the music industry, and where the needs of the people will take precedent over the goal of money making.

"Music 2.0 is an idea that is still in the works and I imagine it will be on my mind for a long time to come. It will not be called Music 2.0 because that was a term I used only for the interview where I spoke of it. But I do see many big changes coming, and want to be a positive part of them."

Jay sees widespread change as a necessity for the future of the human race, and this goes beyond the capabilities of the music industry. His passion on the power struggles within the US government and the people of the country is unadulterated. A man of wisdom and of musical forte, Jay Haze is a force to reckon with.

Follow Jay Haze on Twitter, Facebook and at his blog.