On the road called life, we never know which way it will point us, but in the case of Israeli DJ/producer Guy J, it has pointed to leading his quixotic record label "Lost & Found." Completing two years this July, Lost & Found has maintained a steady output of beautifully produced progressive techno and house, with its latest release due to be distributed on vinyl for the first time.
Despite having been entrenched in different genres of electronic music lately, I personally find myself constantly returning to Guy J's work and taking delight in his ruminative work that is dance floor driven. His productions and sets has been consistent in their high quality throughout the past, and continue to do so now. As he prepares for his upcoming label showcase at The Shore Club in Miami for WMC, Guy J takes a moment to delve into a few details on running imprints, changing trends, and new releases.
Trance and progressive are making a comeback with the help of major players, like Dixon and others. Do you see this as an opportunity to push the definition and popularity of progressive house, which has been somewhat lost over the last couple years?
I think every few years there's a genre that comes in and takes all the attention; Minimal, Techno, Deep House, etc., whatever it is, after each of these genres has had its moment of hype in the spotlight, it all gets mixed up again. Great progressive has always been out there, but it just hasn’t seen that surge of hype over the past few years. Good music is always around to find, but like fashion, it changes and people are looking for something different.
It's rather unusual for a major label head to approach someone and help them start their own. If John hadn't approached you, would you have started Lost & Found? Why is it you think, that he came to you as opposed to anyone else?
Honestly, I don't know if I would have started my own label at that time without John's push to do so. I write an awful lot of my own music and John thought it would be good idea for me to have a label that I can release more of my music on. I’m so glad he gave me that push because I now love the challenges and rewards of running a label. I think the key to running a successful one however, is having the utmost confidence in your taste in music and really believing in the records you are releasing and the artists you’re backing - that’s definitely something that John’s taught me. I’m very lucky to know many great producers and to be able to release their music on Lost & Found. Running the label is another great challenge for me in my career and it feels good to be supporting other producers as well.
When you moved away from Bedrock and started Lost & Found, what are some of the things that you learned that you didn't expect about running your own label?
It’s more responsibility, of course. I guess one of the biggest things I've learned is that there really isn’t much money in this business, and that people who invest in it do it for the love of music, not the money.
Finding new artists is a lot of work, but do you also provide A&R for your current ones?
I find all the music for the label, at the moment, it's all run by me.
Your next release will be distributed on vinyl, why did you choose to start with this release? Overall what's your stance on the whole vinyl debate? And while you're at it, tell us a great vinyl story of your own if you have one…
The next release is 2 tracks I wrote last year, one of them called "Dizzy Moments”. I actually think it's the most honest track I've ever written - in fact, every time I play it I feel disconnected from the club I'm playing at, and it and takes me back to the exact feeling when writing this track. I'm doing 250 vinyl copies of this particular release as I really strongly believe in this record.
As for the next question, I think people buy vinyl nowadays only if it's a track they love - something to have as a souvenir rather than something necessarily to play in their DJ sets. Music is very powerful and can touch very deep in people, so for me it’s special to have this music in tangible physical form.
For the story, it would have to be when I went to Love parade in Tel Aviv around the age of 15. I heard so much amazing music out there, but there was one song that really stuck with me. I had no idea what it was, and there was no Shazam, or anything like that at the time, but eventually I managed to find it out - it felt like ‘mission accomplished’! Anyway, as soon as I knew what it was, I tracked it down on Vinyl. It was the end of 1999 and the track was Evolution - Phoenix. It was the first vinyl I ever bought.
A lot of the tracks you make or remix, you have given them a dreamy touch. Do you believe electronic music should always be an escape?
What initially got me into electronic music was the 'soul' inherent in so much of the music I was listening to at the time. I think soul and emotion in electronic music was actually much more common 15 years ago when I discovered it - this is definitely something I’ve wanted to retain throughout my career as a producer. I like to write music from the heart that actually makes you feel something. In my opinion, music that makes you feel something is great music - regardless as to whether it's electronic or not.
Is there a book or movie that has influenced you or shaped you into who you are today?
I really like the movie Scream. I’m not sure if it’s shaped who I am though. Well I’d hope not, haha!
Gathered from your previous interviews, it seems that the clubs you play are the driving force of inspiration behind your music, which is filled with emotion and depth. After all these years, are club nights still inspiring or has that changed?
Club nights will always be inspiring for me. There are a lot of clubs or cities that I go back to, having experienced some sort of magic in previous visits, making the return really very special. You see a face you know, you see how the music influences people, you hear stories - some of them are very personal. I don't know how it is in other genres but in electronic music this is something that will always stay special.
On the lighter side, do you have any new toys in the studio that you would like to show off to us?
Yes! my DSI Prophet 12, so proud to have it, I'm in love.
You've been traveling a lot, pushing your new label's sound - what is your summer ahead looking like?
Besides the vinyl release on "Lost & Found", I’m actually thinking about another artist album this year, I think it's a good timing. There’s also another "Found" Release due on the label. For those that don’t know, the idea behind "Found” releases is to offer producers - some of them less known, some of them more known - the chance to release their own ‘mini-albums’. These mini-albums are essentially 5-track releases on which the producer can do what ever he or she wants. The next one up is from Juan Deminicis.
In the past, you've released on Funk D'Void's label "Outpost" and now he's releasing on your label. Would you say your life has come full circle?
I've known Lars for a while now. I love the guy. I was very happy to release on his label so I asked if he would be up for doing a release on my label and he agreed. I’m incredibly happy to have him on the label actually - he is an amazing producer and he’s a long-standing inspiration to a lot of other producers. I'm very grateful to have him in the "Lost” family :)
After the Funk D'Void release, is there anyone new on the horizon coming up?
Pedro Aguiar is making something special, Sahar Z is returning with Israeli crazy man "Chico" for a beautiful release, Cid inc with Nick Muir doing something too. I can't wait for all the music to come out! It’s going to be a happy year for “Lost."
The Lost & Found WMC showcase is Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at the Shore Club in Miami. You can purchase tickets on Wantickets.