“Whether something good or bad happens to you, you get to win when you write a song about it.”
Don't take it from us. Take it from Justin Jay. He was doing well for himself producing funky tech house tunes, releasing EPs on Dirtybird and Fatboy Slim's Southern Fried Records, and that was before he even graduated college. He was touring all the time – too much, really, and when he wanted to take a break, his management told him he couldn't. He'd lose momentum, they said, but instead, he ditched the management and moved back in with his parents.
He took a deep look inward and did something truly scary. He started writing songs, and not just disco grooves or club bangers, real, honest to the bone, singer-songwriter songs.
“It was just such an awesome experience,” Jay says, an experience that resulted in his sophomore LP Home. “It's just a little time capsule for how you felt in a certain time.”
He toured the album with his band of musical college friends, the Fantastic Voyage. Then he returned home, a triumphant creative with at least a little bit more confidence, but with all the dust settled, he realized he was alone.
Everything Will Come Together, Pt. 1 is what poured out of Jay when he stopped wondering where his life was going and started wondering who he might spend it with. He calls it his little 500 Days of Summer.
“I'm an over-analyzer,” he says. “I spend a lot of time in my head worrying, and the spirit of Everything Will Come Together is to chill out. It doesn't matter. Everything's going to work out the way it's meant to… It's not a declarative statement. It's me poking at myself to try and believe it. I think I'm getting better at just letting go and believing it. I think it's working.”
It's touching, relatable and heartwarmingly vulnerable, and Jay got real open about the true-to-life experiences that inspired the album's lyrics.
“I Know Ur Out There”
Ya know that feeling when you start questioning whether or not, there's that special someone out there for ya? This song is a response to those insecurities, kind of this overture of, "I know the right person is out there. It's going to happen.” I wrote this song while on the floor of my bedroom, singing and playing guitar into my computer's build in microphone. You don't need fancy gear or a crazy studio to make cool stuff. I was listening to a ton of Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala and The Beatles and wanted to toss all of that in the blender with house music. My homies Benny Bridges and Nick Kennerly came in big with guitar and violin on this song as well. There's this beautiful, well-recorded acoustic guitar part and violin part juxtaposed with my laptop microphone.
I was performing on Holy Ship , and I met this girl. She was performing, too. It was the first time that I got to get to hang out with her, and I felt like I had this summer camp experience. We were hanging out the first two nights, and I was like, “Wow, she's so awesome,” and then I was like, “Oh my god, I have a crush on her. You're probably just another dude she's nice to because she's nice to everyone.” Then it was bedtime, and all our friends disappeared for a moment. We were just hanging out, looking at the water, and we kissed! It was just like one of those quick pop kisses, then we had to go to bed and I was like, "That was awesome.”
Then, the following night, I ran back into her, and I was so unbelievably awkward. I couldn't say anything, I was so shaken up. I spoke to her for maybe 30 seconds coherently, and I ended up just trying to kind of avoid her because I was so scared. When I got back to my room at the end of the night, I thought I blew it. I went to my computer and wrote the basis for this song.
“I'm Shy When I'm Around You”
This is the only song when I’m not singing, because I’m so shy. I made this song on an airplane. It was very inspired by Axel Boman and HNNY. I'd been learning a bit about counterpoint from a music theory teacher and tried employing those skills for the writing of the bass line and lead melody.
I was listening to a lot of Unknown Mortal Orchestra with my friends. This was a super collaborative song with my bandmates; Benny Bridges on guitar, Sam Von Horn on bass, Nick Kennerly on violin. Wrote this song after going out in L.A. one night. It was a very unmemorable evening. I felt empty and unfulfilled and wrote this song at the piano at like 4 a.m.
“When I Met U”
This is another song that I wrote after I got home from night out in LA. It was another situation where I met someone who I think is really cool and interesting, it's a girl, and she’s cute and stuff, so I end the conversation early to avoid an awkward moment. “Let's quit while were ahead, nice meeting you, I'm gonna go stand over here." The part about “you don't have to change” is me saying to myself, “It's okay to be a little awkward.” Benny bridges played guitar and sang on this one. Sam von Horn and Danny Goliger programmed the synth arpeggios on the Elektron Analogue Keys. Big jazz-funk vibes on this one.
“She's Afraid To Choose” (feat. The California Honeydrips)
So this is where the storm clouds approach. I'll be super honest. I was talking to this girl I had a huge crush on. She had this really close guy friend, and we became good friends, too. I thought they were just friends. I took her to a rock show to see my friends' band Thumpasaurus, and it was awesome. I dropped her off and I was like, “What a great great date.” While I'm driving home, she texted me a long communicative paragraph being like, “I had a great night, so much fun. I just want to let you know I'm in an open relationship with another guy. Didn't want you to be blindsided by that.” I found out it was the friend that I was becoming friends with. I was like, “I feel bad, am I doing something wrong?” It wasn't an emotional thing as much as it ended up inspiring a really funny song.
“Who's To Blame”
This was the first song I ever wrote on the guitar. I wanted to make another Mac DeMarco, Tame Impala house song. It follows “She's Afraid To Choose” where it pits my own insecurities against like her — not indecision but, you know, whatever. It grapples with who's fault it is that things won't work out. The answer: it's hard to say.
“Make Everything (Okay)”
I wrote that song during the time of the first album, but it wasn't totally done. I didn't know what I was singing about, but every word felt really correct. It's me grappling with things coming together or not. It speaks to a time where I was lost and really trying to figure things out. Benny Bridges played guitar, and Danny Goliger played drums. The song began when Ben recorded his vocals through his Electro-Harmonix vocoder pedal. He did a free form improvised take. I chopped it up in Ableton, and the weird vocal chops inspired the rest of the song.
I had a really inspiring night out in LA where I saw Danny Goliger play in his other band, Ferbus. They're an amazing DIY/art-rock band. I wrote most of the song standing at my sink in my bathroom. I think I brought my computer with me when I went to brush my teeth. Once I started the song, I couldn't stop. I had some trouble finalizing the lyrics though. I left the song on the back burner for a couple months.
One weekend, the homies and I went to Santa Barbara and stayed at my parents spot up there. It's in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. The rest of the lyrics poured out of me when I got out of the city. Ben played guitar on this song, and Danny played live drums. I wanted to have a shoe gaze-inspired moment on the album, hence the bridge of this song. This song is about me wanting to make things work even though it feels like things aren't working out. It's almost a plea like, “Maybe we can work things out.” It's me being like, “You're not alone. I'm here.”
I wrote this on the airplane to Friendship. i wanted to have a banging club track that was arranged for a live band. I had just seen Vinyl Williams perform for the first time a week prior and was super inspired. I was next to a guy who was passed out, trying not to wake him, singing into my headphones. When I got to Friendship, I checked them out, and they had a cool texture, but they sound horrible. I layered them with phone vocals, but the airplane vocals are on the song. I ended up playing that song back to back with DJ Tennis, like an impromptu thing. He was playing the coolest song, and when I played this one was he was like, “What is this?” I died. This song is the cliffhanger ending with the lyrics “tell me what you want before you go.” She's going, but this is part one, so we'll see what happens.
Everything Will Come Together, Pt. 2 is well on its way, but the ending has yet to be written. It's an adventure in the making, and you can be a part of the experience by catching Jay and his band of buds at select live dates across the United States. His band buddies are DJs in their own right, and all the shows will include DJ sets before the live performances, and maybe some after parties, too. Check the full list of tour dates below, and listen to Everything Will Come Together, Pt. 1 below.
Everything Will Come Together, Pt. 1 Tour Dates
May 17 – 19 – Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Fest
May 23 – Santa Barbara, CA @ The Barn (tour pre-party)
May 26 – Tempe, AZ @ Shady Park
June 2 – San Francisco, CA @ Hotel VIA
June 8 – Chicago, IL @ Estate Rooftop
June 15 – NYC, NY @ Circle Line Cruises
June 22 – Genius Fest @ Baja Norte MX
June 29 – Denver, CO @ Club Vinyl
Aug. 16 – Taos, NM @ Meow Wolf Taos Vortex
Sept. 20 – Atlanta, GA @ Imagine Festival