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04.04.2017 | Words by: Tammo Hesselink.

Detroit has mostly been known for its rich history of techno producers. It was the place where three guys started it all and afterwards saw many new waves of techno producers coming up. That is not all, next to that the city has produced some of house's all-time greats in Theo Parrish, Moodymann and Omar S. Ever since the turn of the century there have not been many upcoming artists from Detroit as there were in the 90s, but Jay Daniel is one of them.

When Daniel's debut EP Scorpio Rising appeared in 2013, it caused a modest stir. It was released on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature, which is a highly regarded label to debut on and does not regularly release music from other people. It consisted of four strong tracks that did not give away any hint of the young producer’s age. Slightly distorted grooves with lush melodies made on just one synth and an MPC, recorded to tape that were not even mixed because Daniel did not even have a mixer yet. Gritty sounds have been trendy over the last years through virtual tape emulation, but for Daniel it was just a matter of what was available to him.

Since then, Daniel has released three more EPs and an album showcasing the evolution of his sound from four-to-the-flour club tracks to freer forms. Drums still seem the focal point, often played by Daniel himself, but warm keys and synth leads are prevalent, creating a whole that has as much ties to jazz as it has to house.

Though it cannot be denied that something special has been in Detroit's tap water, the amount of music coming from the city has been in decline over the years. Daniel mentions in an interview he thinks this comes from the fact that the music scene is more disbanded and has less community activism than it used to.  However, Jay Daniel is sober regarding people describing Detroit's socioeconomic circumstances as of large influence to the music. He mentions regarding his life experiences in general being of more influence to the DJ and producer Jay Daniel mentioning he does not think living in Detroit makes you objectify the city in a way that influences the way you think and live. 

Daniel had been a resident DJ at Kyle Hall's 'Fundamentals' party for a while before Scorpio Rising was released, but this showed to be the catalyst for his DJ career playing gigs all over the planet quickly after. Playing records, Jay Daniel shows his respects to older Detroit DJs in playing a wide-ranging mix of house, disco, soul and more which is as hard-hitting as it is warm. As most of his American peers, it seems he plays more in Europe than he does in the United States, where surprisingly many people regard house as European music. This seems to be reflected in his genre-blurring approach to both DJing and producing, to go beyond the stigmas attached.

Jay Daniel plays De School the 7th of April together with Mairo Nawaz and Vic Crezée.
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