‘Saved By The Belle’ is a platform for artists to speak up. Tour announcements, chart toppers, sold-out shows… all we read about as fans is success, winning, and the picture-perfect life that artists supposedly live. The ‘Saved By The Belle’ interview series is about authenticity and transparency – It offers artists an opportunity to share their story, speak up about causes they’re passionate about, talk about interests outside of music, etc. There are no restrictions and the only requirement is being genuine.
For the debut edition of ‘Saved By The Belle,’ we’re so excited to feature NYC-based producer and all-around nice guy, Jay xero. With a new single titled “Doyouwannabemine?” set for release on October 28th, xero joined us to speak about what being in NYC means to him, the creative process behind his new song, and how he’s trying to challenge the status quo, one song at a time.
1. Hey Jay, we’ve been friends for a while so it means a lot that you’re joining me for the debut edition of ‘Saved By the Belle.’ For those who might not know who you are, can you please introduce yourself?
Thanks for having me, I’m excited to be your first * wink *.
I’m a music producer based in NYC. I write dance music in the broadest sense — if it makes me groove, I go with it. Nothing’s more exciting than making people feel something from music.
2. You’re a staple within the NYC music scene, performing everywhere from The Meadows this past weekend to curating your own invite-only parties. What do you think it is about NYC that makes being an artist in this city so special for you?
I always say that every city has something, but NYC has everything. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by so many cultures, so many types of art, so many driven people who came here to do one thing: live out their dreams. Also, NYC doesn’t care about you, which is humbling. It’ll spit you out if you can’t handle it. Some people run away from the pressure, but I think people who love NYC see it as a challenge.
3. Your music is very eclectic, almost as if you’re purposefully testing different sounds and styles to not be pigeonholed into one particular genre. What would you say is the driving creative force behind all your music?
My gut. If I really feel something when I’m writing a song… something that really strikes me (good or bad), then I know I’m doing the right thing. That’s the driver for almost all of my creative decisions. It’s scary sometimes, to really trust your instincts, but I think when a song can make even me, the creator, get emotional, that’ll translate to another listener.
4. Some artists make music to make people dance. Others make music to make people feel – Why do you make music?
I write to make people feel. Sometimes that makes people feel like dancing, sometimes it might make them feel like crying, sometimes it might make them want to have sex. That’s the most exciting part about writing music; it’s almost like a “feelings commander”. You can’t listen to “Billie Jean” and not want to groove. You can’t listen to “Ain’t No Sunshine” and ignore Bill Withers’ sorrow. You can’t listen to The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” and not want to have sex. It’s impossible.
5. How do you challenge/change the status quo (interpret as you would like)?
I’m not trying to change the world, but if my music, however strange or sad or energetic, can make someone experience real emotion, then I’ve succeeded. The artists who did that for me changed my life. Their music helped me through breakups, gave me energy before trying something scary, reminded me of love lost. It’s the greatest honor to think that my music might have that effect on others.
6. Tell me about your song – what’s being said here and how?
“Doyouwannabemine?” is about rekindling love; the elation of reliving old feelings of mutual understanding and lust, coupled with the crippling fright of being hurt again. It’s exciting for all the best and worst reasons. It’s like sexual and emotional purgatory.
7. It’s refreshing to see how open you are about emotions and “feeling” in general. Tell me something about how it is for you to be an artist and open yourself up to being vulnerable.
It’s cathartic to put my deepest thoughts into music. There’s a bullshit machismo expectation that’s pervasive in male culture, and I truly believe it’s to blame for a lot of the misery in the world. It’s “weak” to show you’re scared or hurt. It’s “strong” to say you’re fine and never talk about it. I refuse to subscribe to that. I think we’d all be way better off if we stopped stigmatizing emotion (and especially mental health issues in general, but that’s a whole other discussion).
Photocredit: GoldenRAYE Photography
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