Jayda G will release her debut album “Significant Changes” via Ninja Tune on 22 March 2019, having risen steadily through the dance music underground thanks to her infectious energy, vitality, rhythm and boundless enthusiasm. Musically it’s a blend of vintage drum machine funk drawing heavily on Chicago’s house blueprint – a natural progression from a string of EPs both solo and alongside her friend and mentor DJ Fett Burger (Sex Tags Mania), often appearing on the Freakout Cult label the two ran jointly until 2018 and most recently her newly minted JMG Recordings imprint. She has also recently remixed Little Dragon. Renowned for her high-energy performances as a DJ, the past 12 months have seen her play London’s formidable Printworks venue alongside the likes of Marcellus Pittman, Moodymann and Omar-S, be invited by The Black Madonna to play at her Warehouse Project takeover, and Berlin’s iconic Panorama Bar, as well as festival appearances at Field Day, Kala, Melt!, AVA and the xx’s Night And Day to name a few.
“I’ve gone through some significant changes personally, in terms of growing up into the person that I am, my career just morphing to a place I never dreamed or imagined possible,” explains Jayda. “It’s about me understanding myself as an artist, understanding who that person is, and who I want that person to be, and taking more responsibility for the platform that I’ve been given.”
Born and raised in the small town of Grand Forks, British Columbia – some 6 hours outside Vancouver – Jayda Guy grew up surrounded by an abundance of nature on the mountains and in the forests, rivers and lakes. It was this that sparked an early interest in biology and the natural world, a passion that has endured and intensified to this day and is inextricably intertwined with her musical output. In 2018 she completed her Masters in Resource and Environmental Management specialising in environmental toxicology, wherein she investigated the effects of human activity on the Salish Sea killer whales (orcas) of Vancouver, in her native British Columbia. It was also the year that she finished recording her debut album as Jayda G: “Significant Changes”. The title of the album was the most used phrase in her final thesis and exemplifies how intertwined her work in science is with her work in music. “I’m trying to bring my two worlds together… to bridge the communication gap, engage people in a new way”, she explains. “I don’t know if people in the electronic music world will want to talk about the environment but I think I should try! I think it’s our duty to use a platform like this in a positive way, that’s our social responsibility.”
Moving from Vancouver to Berlin in 2016 to be closer to a growing abundance of European gigs, she shunned the city’s fabled clubbing scene, shutting herself away to work simultaneously on finishing the thesis and album. Musically she draws inspiration from a childhood spent devouring her parents record collection of Soul, Jazz, R&B, Funk and Blues; the roller discos her sister used to drag her to; and the CDs from artists like TLC and D’Angelo that arrived in the post for her older brother. Unsurprisingly though, references to her research are intertwined throughout the record – from the track titles to the field recordings. The intro and outro become the ‘Abstract’ and ‘Conclusion’, as on a scientific paper. The melancholic mood of ‘Orca’s Reprise’ is a direct response to the depressing findings of her thesis and features actual recordings of the orcas. Elsewhere, the track ‘Missy Knows What’s Up’ samples the voice of Misty MacDuffee, a biologist with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, referencing a landmark Canadian court case about the protection of the whales that ultimately led to funding Jayda’s own research and degree. “The track is supposed to be ominous,” she explains. “We need to be holding our governments accountable for things that we believe in”.
Not all of the album’s reference points are so sombre. ‘Stanley’s Get Down (No Parking on the DF)’ is a light-hearted message to all the people who stand motionless in the front row at her gigs: “I see
you, with your phone, looking at Instagram” drawls Jayda in a scathing tone over the intro. “It’s mind blowing to me” she says. “People come to the club to engage, to get outside of your life, so it seems really counterintuitive to me to be stood on your phone!” Continuing that theme is ‘Move to the Front (Disco Mix)’, which draws directly on her experiences as a DJ. “Sometimes I’ll be playing and I’ll have a row of guys just standing there, not dancing, just staring, and in the distance I can see all the women who are dancing their asses off, and I wish I could just telepathically tell them ‘Move to the front’! Those are the people I’m playing for.” Elsewhere on the album ‘Renewal (Hyla Mix)’ is “my ode to R&B”, and the anthemic ‘Leave Room 2 Breathe’ features the vocals of life-long friend and frequent collaborator Alexa Dash.
Jayda will be playing a 4-week residency at London’s Phonox through February, as well as embarking on a tour throughout 2019 that takes in dates across 12 countries including stops at Panorama Bar in Berlin, Primavera Sound in Barcelona and shows across India, China and Japan.
Additionally she will be hosting a series of intimate talks in London on the 5th and 19th of February aimed at offering young scientists a platform to discuss their recent academic work as well as their personal journeys. The primary objective of “JMG Talks” – www.jaydag.com – is to attempt to bridge the communication gap between critical work in contemporary science and the wider public to promote a better understanding of science. All proceeds will be donated to Free to Be Kids – a volunteer led charity that uses outdoor experiences to help disadvantaged children in London.
“I just want people to feel not so hopeless… there’s a lot of really depressing things going on, but people are doing good work out there and finding out really interesting stuff, so I just want people to be informed of those things, so that they feel inspired in whatever work that they do.”
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