Pennsylvania native Jay Haze has been churning out top notch house and techno for close to two decades now, under a variety of guises (and on a myriad of labels), but it’s arguably his Fuckpony alias that has earned the Berlin-based artist the most acclaim.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of Fuckpony’s debut long player, Children Of Love, on Get Physical, and following the release of singles Talk To Me and Keep Techno Sexy in recent months, Haze’s latest Fuckpony release lands this week.
Crystal Lake, which features vocals by Tanya Nikich, is released on Contexterrior on 12 February. You can purchase it here.
909originals caught up with him.
Hi Jay, thanks for talking to us. The year 2020 was not short of challenges, but also offered opportunities – how was it for you?
Yes it’s true. 2020 was not short of challenges for most people. For me, it’s offered mostly opportunity, where I can really get into my zone and explore my musical feelings and emotions in a very very very visceral way. It gave me an opportunity to explore my musical ideas in a pure way, one that makes me feel happy about why I do this and about who it’s for.
Your forthcoming single, Crystal Lake, features a SH-101 analog synthesiser quite prominently. Does analog equipment feature strongly in your productions?
Yes the new single features an old analog synth. What stands out for me about analog is how I can manipulate to match exactly what I am trying to express, and how it can make others feel. It’s a feeling of electricity in your body and your mind… sounds you only feel in your mind.
How did you come to work with Tanya Nikich on the track?
I came to work with Tanya because she visited my studio while she was in Berlin for work. In Moscow she has a TV show and is an art dealer. We have many things in common and when I heard her voice and when I read her poem – it was translated to me from Russian into English – it resonated with me. The song was created in one night – never edited – and so I wanted to present it as is.
Your Fuckpony project is 15 years old this year, and over the years has showed a more playful side to your musical personality. How has the Fuckpony sound evolved over the years in your eyes?
Fuckpony is my more playful, creative side. The evolution of that sound is just natural depending on my sense of humour and my creativity at the moment. That’s what the project is really about, expressing that ‘of the moment’ feeling and at the same time allowing laughing and humour to come into very serious music.
Your first breakthrough releases were in the minimal techno scene of the early to mid 2000s. What was it about this era that was particularly special, and how did it influence your later productions?
I feel that that period was a very very explorative time for electronic music and the people were much more abstract and avant-garde, which I feel created very very interesting moments and experiences for people on the dance floor.
Over the years you’ve dabbled in dubstep, hip hop and a myriad of other genres, as well as house and techno. How important is it to you to keep challenging yourself, and bringing new sounds into the mix?
Over the years I have just fallen in love with music over and over again and anytime something inspires me I try my best to incorporate it into a new structure in which I can express myself.
This month marks ten years since the release of Love=Evolution (in February 2011); an album which at the time was feted as your last. What led you back into making music again?
Love=Evolution was meant to be my last album. It was my last album under the name Jay Haze but it never meant that I would stop music. I have in fact made music since then and always had through my whole life.
What happened afterwards was I refocused and thought about what I’m trying to accomplish with music and I think that I’ve done a good job.
Your label Contexterrior was also put on hiatus a decade ago, before being revived in the mid part of the last decade. Has the label’s approached changed since it was founded close to 20 years ago?
Contrary to popular belief, my record label was never on hiatus and was never revived. People just started paying attention to it and it’s that time I feel we released some of our best and most complex releases.
What sort of dance music/clubbing industry will emerge once the coronavirus pandemic passes? What will have changed?
I think the pandemic is going to weed out a lot of the fake artists or a lot of the personality artists, who have a different agenda when it comes to this beautiful thing has been created. I think it’s going to bring us a lot of new talents and a lot less noise, especially noise from artists who are not artists. I think it’s going to become more apparent where talent really is.
In the spirit of one of your recent releases, what needs to be done to ‘Keep Techno Sexy’?
What needs to be done to keep techno sexy is it needs to be real again. There’s only one way forward for me and that’s more love and more sexy dancing to music, and this is something you can’t fake.
Keep techno sexy is a mantra for me – one that has led to many smiles and new experiences and I wish to share that with everyone.
Crystal Lake, by Fuckpony feat. Tanya Nikich, is released on Contexterrior on 12 February. You can purchase it here.