EXCLUSIVE: Daye Jack Talks Collabing With Killer Mike & Creating A New Sound With Max Martin
(AllHipHop Features) On February 12th, Daye Jack returned to his hometown of Atlanta as part of Pells’ “The Only In Your Dreams” Tour. The 20-year-old rapper/singer was met with a friendly crowd at Center Stage’s Vinyl as Daye ran through songs from his 2015 Soul Glitch EP and a few new cuts.
The showcase also featured fellow ATLien J.I.D. with special guests EarthGang. The DMV’s Chaz French was part of the bill as well. Overall, the night served as a clear illustration of the next crop of Hip Hop talent on the verge of breaking out on a national level.
I got the chance to meet with Daye Jack backstage at Vinyl before his set. The Warner Bros Records artist discussed connecting with Killer Mike for the Black Lives Matter themed single “Hands Up.” In addition, Daye shared some information about his upcoming debut LP featuring production by Grammy-winner Max Martin (Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd).
What does it mean for you to be able to perform for your hometown?
It’s crazy. It’s like everything's coming full circle. I started making music in my bedroom not too far from this venue. Now I’m performing the music I’ve been making since then. It’s crazy how things start somewhere and keeps growing.
Your career has advanced a lot over the last year. What has that experience been like for you?
It’s dope. When I started making music, I wanted people to listen to it, but I wasn’t sure. I’ve gone through many phases - from this just being a hobby, to it being more serious, to it being the only thing I want to do for the rest of my life. At some of these shows, people come up to me saying, ‘We love your EP.” That’s dope to me. I’ve never experienced that before. I’m meeting so many people like that, and I never thought making my EP or tape that it would get that much traction.
How has the tour been so far?
Every single show has been dope in its own way. Right now the big stand out was Boston. That was the first sold out show. Everyone killed their sets at that show. I think I did really well. Chaz French killed it. Pell slayed. The crowd was really into it. But each city has had its own moment.
Being on tour with these guys, can we expect you to connect musically?
I’d love to. I’ve been homies with Pell for a minute now. I just met Chaz on this tour, but me and Pell have already been in the studio. I think it would be dope to do something with Chaz.
Speaking of collabs, you have “Hands Up” with Killer Mike. Communities have been dealing with [police brutality] for a long time, but it has really been heavily in the public eye the last few years. A lot of artists have stayed away from approaching that subject. What made you decide to address it in your music?
For me, it wasn’t premeditated. I saw the Mike Brown murder go down. I was going to the studio to write - the session had been booked a long time ago. The hook just kept playing in my head, so I laid that down. From there, that whole song became that topic. It's kind of your job if you want to make music or do any sort of art to paint a picture of what’s going on right now. That’s a real issue.
How did you get Killer Mike on the track?
I’d written the song. I had the demo with just me on it, and it had been sitting there for a while. Killer Mike heard it through Mass Appeal. We talked on the phone about where my head was at and what he thought about the song. He then sent his verse, and it was amazing.
That’s dope. He doesn’t work with just anybody.
It was the ultimate co-sign, because this is someone who’s a hero in Atlanta. I grew up in Atlanta, so it was crazy having an Atlanta OG give me a nod.
— Yohance (@HUEYmixwitRILEY) February 13, 2016
You’re working with Max Martin. Does that mean you’re moving toward a more Pop feel with your album?
It’s very different. I think this is literally the best music I’ve made to date. I guess you can call it moving more Pop, but I feel like it’s more layered. Maybe with some of the older songs - not to take anything away from them - I might try to do the most complex bars and be very direct. I feel like this new stuff is more Pop in the sense that it’s simple, but there are layers underneath.
What you’re describing to me kind of sounds like what The Weeknd did working with Max. His stuff before that was kind of heavy, and then when they got together Max smoothed it out a little bit.
I think that’s the same sort of transition [for me].
Have you thought about what quarter you want to drop the album?
I really want it to come out this year. I hope it comes out in third quarter.
Have you worked with anyone else as far as features?
Right now, the only person I’ve worked with is this Swedish artist Laleh. She’s a genius singer-songwriter and producer. We have something that she produced as well.
I saw a tweet you posted where you said “Beyoncé is queen.”
I was watching the Super Bowl. She came out, and I saw the girls versus boys routine with Bruno Mars. Beyoncé won that. She’s queen. Also, when she appeared on the screen I felt butterflies. Only a queen can get that reaction. [laughs]
For more information about “The Only In Your Dreams” Tour visit www.dayejack.com.
Stream Daye Jack’s Soul Glitch below. Purchase the EP on iTunes.
PHOTO CREDIT: Diane Abapo, Yohance Kyles