Saturday Night Session 007: Jay Pryor gets quirky and crafts the perfect mix for house lovers [Q+A]
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
23-year-old Jay Pryor has one of the most quintessential stories there is when it comes to his foray into dance music. A night out with friends at a Calvin Harris show inspired him to ‘become’ a music producer. To this day, he notes that Eric Prydz‘s “Everyday” is his favorite song because when Harris played the track, that’s when he knew that music production was what he had to do. So, he dropped out of college and did it. Pryor notes, “He (Harris) played this song, and it was a moment of clarity for me when I heard it.” He continued, “The place, the song, and Calvin as a figure was just so incredibly inspiring. When I got home from that trip I started teaching myself how to create dance music.”
A few years into this decision, Pryor has gone platinum thanks to his co-production credits with Steve Aoki on “Just Hold On” featuring Louis Tomlinson, and the rest is recent history. Many people who have produced music for decades will not hit platinum, and even fewer who drop out of college to chase this glamorous dream will be able to sustain themselves financially through music production. Pryor has seemingly defied the odds, and he is a true testament to the idea that nature can beat out nurture. He is innately wired to be a producer, drawing sonic inspiration from everything from an Ikea store to the Marina outside of his home in Ireland. In fact, a recent track of his titled “All This” was created after he heard a boat passing by and he captured the sound.
While he has successfully navigated the entry into being a successful DJ and Producer in terms of achieving high streaming numbers on his productions and booking club sets, he is the first to admit there is work to be done. Pryor has spoken about how, with every success, his goals have only gotten bigger. This is especially the case when it comes to live performance, and he says he will not stop until he fulfills his dream of headlining the 3arena in Dublin. Pryor mentions, “I used to go there as a kid, and it’s always been a dream of mine to headline it and play to 13,000 people in my homeland.” A big 2019 will be instrumental for Pryor when it comes to achieving this feat.
Anyone who does get the chance to see Pryor perform live may notice the DJ wearing war paint on his face. No, the paint is not a fashion gimmick, but rather a sentiment to give him the courage to go on stage and perform in front of thousands of people. He explains, “when I was younger I used to be a really anxious kid.” Pryor continues, “My mam used to tell me that I wasn’t a ‘worrier,’but a ‘warrior.’ When I started playing shows, I would get nervous and anxious. I decided to apply the war paint to remind me that I’m not a worrier, but a warrior.” The war paint has now become a trademark of sorts for the producer, who is usually seen sporting the paint during his live shows.
Another location the producer draws inspiration from when it comes to live performance is house parties. He lives in a community in London that houses many DJs and Producers who all get together to play for each other when they don’t go out to clubs. Pryor’s Saturday Night Session mix is an example of what he would play for one of their nights in with each other, and he dubs the hour long Saturday Night Session as the perfect backdrop for a low-key pre-drinks before the night gets too crazy.
For those who are curious to hear more of Pryor’s productions, he has just released a brand new remix pack for his track “Make Luv” featuring remixes by Redfield, Crush Club, Illyus & Barrientos in addition to his own VIP mix of the track.
You have said that with every success you have, your goals get bigger and bigger. What are your goals right now for 2019?
Yeah that’s true! In 2019 I want to release as much music as I possibly can. I have so much content ready to go as I’ve been in the studio 12-16 hours a day since this past summer. I also have a lot of collaborations lined up for this year, which is something I haven’t really thought about doing until now. A big goal for me this year is to get out there and tour as much as possible. I really love throwing parties and playing to people, aside from working in the studio, it’s my favourite thing.
What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night that you are not performing?
As much as I love working in the studio all day, an important lesson my brother taught me was to create balance between work and social life. I live in London in a sort of campus of apartments where a lot of my DJ and producer friends also live. Most weekends we’ll go to clubs, parties, or host parties ourselves. I love DJ’ing at house parties because there’s a certain vibe that you can’t match at a club or festival. An intimate vibe. I tried to capture that with the majority of this mix.
Do you have any venues you dream of playing in?
One of my biggest goals is to headline the 3arena in Dublin. I used to go there as a kid, and it’s always been a dream of mine to headline it and play to 13,000 people in my homeland. Another venue I’ve dreamed of headlining recently is Printworks in London. That venue is next level. I’ve played Ministry of Sound a couple of times, but headlining Ministry is also on the bucket list.
Can you tell us about your nacho disappointment and how you find sounds from stores, like IKEA?
Haha, sometimes on my Instagram I vent my frustrations. And particularly on a certain day, a restaurant I had been ordering from had forgotten nachos from my order 3 times in a row. It was frustrating because I feel quite passionate about the burrito bowl/nacho combo, it’s unmatched. I called them and complained and they gave me some free meals so we’re even now. Regarding IKEA, I decided to drive to my local IKEA recently, sample sounds from the store and make a song out of it. You can check it out on my instagram, jaypryormusic. Shameless plug.
What is the weirdest place you have taken sonic inspiration from?
Back in Dublin I live in a marina, so there’s lots of boats around. I remember one day I was going for a run, and I heard a series of boat noises that somehow became the main melody line for my release ‘All This,’ that would have to be one of the most interesting forms of inspiration I’ve ever taken sonically.
Tell us about the new stripes on your face!
When I was younger I used to be a really anxious kid. My mam used to tell me that I wasn’t a ‘worrier,’but a ‘warrior.’ When I started playing shows, I would get nervous and anxious. I decided to apply the war paint to remind me that I’m not a worrier, but a warrior. I also want to use it as a way to connect people who feel the same way. I want my music to connect people and help them strive for their goals and best lives, despite that inevitable fear at the back of our mind.
What is your all time favorite dance music song?
It would have to be ‘Everyday’ by Eric Prydz. The reason I wanted to create dance music is because I saw Calvin Harris perform in Spain a couple of years back. He played this song, and it was a moment of clarity for me when I heard it. The place, the song, and Calvin as a figure was just so incredibly inspiring. When I got home from that trip I started teaching myself how to create dance music.
What do you think the biggest dance music trend to come out of 2019 is going to be?
I’m not entirely sure. Obviously in the pop space, urban music is still killing the game. Personally, my music has shifted back to my housier roots. I naturally fell back into love with this type of music, and coincidentally I feel like it will make somewhat of a comeback this year. I hope to help bring it to the masses once again.
What kind of a Saturday night is your mix going to get us ready for?
I recorded my mix as if I was playing at a house party. So I think it’s a good mix to stick on at a party, or something more lowkey like pre-drinks (I think you call it pregaming in the US). I really hope people like it and can party hard to it!