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Daye Jack Talks ‘Soul Glitch’ and How He Gets Inspired

Daye Jack Talks ‘Soul Glitch’ and How He Gets Inspired

If you don’t know Daye Jack (pronounced Die-aye Jack) yet, you will soon. Just last year, the up-and-coming Atlanta rapper/singer was a rising sophomore at NYU when he dropped Hello World, his aptly titled debut project. Since then, he’s signed to Warner Brothers, decided to take a break from school, and moved to L.A. to focus on his budding music career.

Today, Daye released his new project, Soul Glitch. He’s been building up a lot of anticipation for the release, dropping singles “Trapped In Love,” “Save My Soul,” and the vivid visual for “Easy.” Last week, he came to New York to play the EP for a small group of fans and friends at Community 54. Mass Appeal caught up with him afterwards to talk about the new project, what inspires him, and how his life has changed in the recent months.

Daye Jack Interview

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Mass Appeal: How was the EP listening party?

Daye Jack: It was great. The rain kind of turned it from an outdoor to an indoor, grimy thing. But it was tight though; the vibe was very heavy.

Were people feeling the music?

Yeah, a lot of people were coming up to me and telling me they were feeling it. That’s the first time I’ve played it in public. It was a huge relief actually playing it for people, outside of the people I worked on it with.

Are you usually pretty private with your work?

I don’t play it for too many people, but it’s always a great feeling when I finally release it. Because it turns from something I keep to myself—private, into something that I want to be each and every person’s special thing.

Soul Glitch drops June 29. How you feeling about it?

Super excited. I’m very proud of it, just want to get it out.

Does it feel different putting it out with a major label behind you?

Doesn’t feel different, at least for me. This is the music that I’ve been working on. It’s very me, very personal. It feels natural. I think what the label did was add people to the team, but at the end of the day, everything is still the same. Everything is still family.

How long have you been working on Soul Glitch?

I spent three months writing, two months recording, then the rest just fine tuning things, tweaking.

That’s pretty fast.

Yeah, I feel like I was hit with the initial inspiration for what I wanted it to be. I had Soul Glitch in my mind, then I linked with the producers. A lot of the producers are actually European, and we linked over the Internet. Pulled the sound out, the electronic-driven feel. Once I got that, it was pretty quick. Pouring out the emotion, writing, and putting it all together.

How do you work with your producers? What’s the dynamic like between you guys?

I always have a sound in mind. I find someone who I think has it, or I hear something that shows that right feeling. That’s when I start working. A lot of things we did for Soul Glitch were via the Internet, since I was still working on my own. Some other things I’ve been doing have been about building on that first guitar riff, or whatever. But with Soul Glitch, it was more about finding something and linking with people via the Internet and building from there.

You’ve mentioned that the cohesiveness of a project is really important to you as a listener. How did that affect your work on Soul Glitch?

Before I even wrote anything, I knew the sound I needed it to have. Nothing I did was going to move away from that. I think whenever you’re working on a full thing, there has to be a start and a finish. It has to feel like a complete body. That was what I wanted to capture with Soul Glitch. A lot of the beats and the production and the feeling of it is all connected.

The name Soul Glitch kind of follows the pattern of the name Hello World (which was named after the computer program of the same name). Was that meant to be a kind of connection?

It’s definitely still me, so it’s still inspired by that world. But for this EP, I became more personal than I was on Hello World. I got more into electronic, harsh, dirty sounds than I was before. It has its own feel and sound, but it’s also progression from Hello World. Hello World is something I did as an intro to myself. There’s no real straying away from myself. I’m always going to be me. For sure they’re connected, but also disconnected.

Did you have artists that inspired that change in sound between the projects?

When I was working on Soul Glitch, I remember really digging James Blake’s self-titled album. It’s so harsh. And just living in New York, the experiences and how angsty New York is.

How is life in New York compared to Atlanta?

I grew up in Metro, Atlanta, which is even slower than inside the city. It’s like the suburbs. So, moving from there to New York was a big jump for me. New York was really overwhelming at first. Everyone had somewhere to go and everyone’s working. I kind of got caught up in that.

Where are you living now?

L.A.

That’s awesome. So, I noticed a sort of common theme in some of your lyrics, in terms of feeling trapped or feeling like you’re drowning. Could you talk a bit about that?

I’m always trying to tell a personal story. Each of those things was a different story. “Trapped In Love” was about feeling trapped in a relationship with someone. Knowing that you need to get out, but feeling so comfortable in it. That’s a very direct story and I think a lot of people could relate. Then you have something like “Poolside,” which talks about drowning. It feels like sitting in one spot, that’s what I wanted to capture in that song. Sitting still with nothing happening, and that’s a really heavy feeling. Each thing is just its own personal pocket for me. I just pull different stories and feelings from them.

Let’s talk about the By The Ocean project. That came out of nowhere. Were you working on Soul Glitch when you made that?

Yeah, I was working on Soul Glitch, getting into this really heavy, electronic, synth-heavy feeling. As I was doing that, there was like two weeks when I needed a relief. So, I went and got into By The Ocean. They’re like polar opposites from each other, and I love it. When I listen to it, I’ll listen to them together. They’re kind of like a resolution to each other.

You did that in two weeks?

Yeah, By The Ocean took me like three weeks to write and when I was done with that, I recorded it. For me, it was literally a burst of inspiration. I literally just sat down and started writing it. I was getting over the hump and I just needed a break. I wouldn’t say it was a hump, but By The Ocean was just a different feeling I wanted to capture. It was quick.

A lot of people call your music experimental. Do you view yourself as someone experimenting, or do you feel like you have it all planned out?

I think people can think whatever they want to, but every time I get into something, I have a clear idea of what I want it to be. From the music and sonic aspect to the visuals—I really wanted that pixelated cover for Soul Glitch that captures that electronic feeling, that dirtiness that goes along with the sound of the music; that goes with the feeling of the video. I have a clear vision of what I want; it’s not experimenting in that sense. But, it is playing around with the genre of rap, so I get it.

How was shooting the video for “Easy”?

It was tight. Went out to the desert with director Peter Campbell. We just went out with some people in a van and shot it. It was a great experience.

I noticed that there was painting in the video and in the artwork for By The Ocean. Do you have any history in painting or anything like that?

That was kind of a coincidence. When I was writing By The Ocean, I was looking at a bunch of things as I was writing. ‘Cause I was in New York and it was cold and it sucked and I wanted a summer, other feelings. So, I was looking at paintings of like ponds, rivers, different things. I actually never looked at the Mona Lisa, even though I had that song titled “Mona Lisa” [Laughs], but that was a cool little thing. But yeah, the connections I guess are a coincidence.

In the video, you show the contrast between the freedom in the first half and the office job at the end. You ever had a 9–5 job?

I never have.

What’s your stance on them?

I think anyone who’s trying to do something should do what they love. If that’s what you want to do, do it. My comment on it with “Easy” was more about, “Is it easy to do something that you don’t love and spend a lot of time doing that? Or do you want to go do something that you’re passionate about?” It was still a question. I don’t have the answer to it. It might be a lot easier just to go out and do a 9–5 job and not have to struggle and work. And not saying you’re not working, but opposed to the stress of trying to pursue something you’re not sure about.

How do you feel like your rise as an artist has affected your personal life?

You go to a song like “Save My Soul,” where I touch on that struggle. When I get into the zone of writing, getting really into something, I tend to alienate myself from a lot of the homies. I was working on Soul Glitch and I realized that was happening. That’s when I wrote “Save My Soul” to capture that whole feeling.

Walking that lonely road.

Exactly.

Do you have go-to people that you show your music to for advice?

Yeah, I play it for my friends in Atlanta. They dig my stuff. Whenever I’m down there, I play them what I’m working on.

You keep in touch with them a lot?

For sure.

So you wrote for over four years before you dropped Hello World. How did you find the patience for that?

When I started writing, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to make. I didn’t put out something that wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. At that point, I didn’t even have the skills to write a complete body of work. To me, it would have been a waste of time to try.

Dumb question: How did you find your signature ad-lib? The “BAH!”

[Laughs] My cousin produces. It was two and a half, three years ago. We were working on a song and I was doing a bunch of weird drum sounds with my voice on it. Kind of an ad-libby thing. That was one of the sounds I made.

Like a snare drum?

Not even a drum, just like a noise I made when I was trying to do that. From there, I really dug it, so I kept it.

So there are no features on Soul Glitch.

Yup.

Was that an intentional choice?

Yes and no. Yes, I did want it to be really personal, very me. No, because when I was working on it, I really didn’t have the access to get the people that I would have wanted to be on it. There are a lot of people that I look up to that I think would be tight on the EP. But I didn’t really have access.

What’s your dream collab?

Kanye. I really dug Yeezus and the things he did there, and the choices he made on that album were just genius.

He picked up Allan Kingdom. Maybe you could be next.

[Laughs]

What are your plans after Soul Glitch drops?

Videos for Soul Glitch; working on them now. I’m really excited for people to see. I really want people to hear Soul Glitch live and feel the visuals when it’s live. I have Lollapalooza at the end of July, so I’m really stoked about that. And yeah, working on new music as well.

Last question: New York vs. Atlanta vs. L.A—gun to your head—which is your favorite?

Atlanta, ’cause it’s home. That’s where my family’s at, where I have a lot of homies at, where I started writing at. There’s just a lot of things. Everything started from Atlanta. No matter how much I dig New York or L.A. or anywhere else I live, Atlanta is always home.

Aaron’s on Twitter.