Daye Jack Brings Classic Jazz to the Internet Age on “Soul Glitch”
After high school, Atlanta-bred Daye Jack said goodbye to middle America. As thousands have done before him, he relocated his belongings and his musical pursuits to New York City. A computer science major at NYU, his academic studies bled into his first musical project. Hello World, named after a programming software, is sprinkled with keyboard clicks and ’80s synth noises.
His next EP, By the Ocean, switched up his sound. With traditional piano and soft cymbals lingering throughout, the three-piece set offered a more leisurely mood, making us wonder if he’d traded in his laptop for a beach chair.
His latest effort, Soul Glitch, refurbishes his sonic identity yet again. This time, it carries similar pulses of sophisticated soul as traditional jazz, but thrives in the Internet age, with earthy bass and comping keys swirled around rap verses and glitchy synths. If Thelonious Monk ever got his hands on a MIDI keyboard, there’s Soul Glitch.
Having recently hopped on board with Warner Music and sharing a song with Tori Kelly, Daye Jack is now in LA, where music is his leading focus. We caught up with him after a Soul Glitch listening party to talk about his new sound, the importance of visuals in music, and being labeled an Internet rapper.
You’ve jumped around sonically over your past three projects. Were there a particular sources of influence that triggered those switch-ups?
Hello World was this big introduction. Everything I do is rooted in rap, so I wanted to rap on that as I was introducing myself to the world. By the Ocean was me in New York, trying to mellow out a bit, and trying to send myself somewhere else. That’s why I got into that jazzy side of things. Soul Glitch is an extension of Hello World. It’s rooted in rap, but it’s now pulling soul and electronic elements and it’s become harsher and more personal.
If someone’s never heard your music before, where would you suggest they start?
Listen to Soul Glitch first. It’s so me. I’d say it’s the perfect snapshot of me at 18 living in New York. I go into a lot of family, friends, and relationships on it, and I fully trust everything I was going through at the time. People will really get to know me through this project.
Where does your interest in computers stem from?
While I was making music, it was the one thing in school where I saw myself still being able to create. They connected with each other on that level. Visually, a lot of the pixelated, glitchy artwork that I make to go with the music comes from that digital side.
It’s interesting because computer science seems like the anti-creative academic field, but it seems like for you, it fosters your creativity.
Yeah, I think it’s super creative. With most things, you have to be at a certain level for you to start expressing yourself. I spent four years writing before I started working on Hello World. Everything I did was just to get better so I could get to the point of putting out something that I thought was me. That’s the same thing in any field. You spend time building that skill set, and when you’re there, you can express yourself.
Do you ever fear that in the future you’ll look back and wish you had gone a different direction with your music?
I’m always evolving. I think to stay stagnant would be super boring. It’s important to remember the feeling in the moment. I don’t think it matters what Daye ten years ago thinks about something, if it feels special right now.
How did you link up with Tori Kelly?
My publisher played me the song and I was really digging it, so I started writing to it. I got a call that Tori was in the studio, and I was introduced to her by the executive producer of her album, Max. I went through, worked on the verse, and it clicked. It was really awesome.
What’s next for you?
We’re putting out videos for Soul Glitch. I love making the music, but I also love working on the visual side of things. For me, it’s all one package.
So you’re really involved with the visual side of things?
Yeah, that’s a really big part of it for me. There’s so much to pull just from the cover of Soul Glitch, and I want people to pull from it whatever it is that makes sense for them. It’s using pixelation, which is usually used to censor things, in a completely different way. For me, it’s really jarring and gritty, and it feels electronic to me.
Would you consider yourself an Internet rapper?
Yeah, to a certain extent. I started on the Internet, but at the same time, I don’t want to end on the Internet.