Jay Pei on how learning film scoring helped him with his EP
Jay Pei's EP Squares is out now
For his third release, Jay Pei moves towards introspective sounds that are sonically different from dance music. The producer started work on his EP Squares back in 2016 but the extended play found its fulfilment during his quarantine, as the artiste chose to reflect upon his isolation. “The idea is to keep exploring and experimenting. I don't ever want to box myself in or take a unidirectional approach. I want to keep challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone,” shares Pei. We caught up with the artiste to learn more about this personal outing:
Tell us about the kind of sounds you've worked with for the EP
This EP isn't like my usual releases, 'Squares' is a lot more personal and introspective. I usually use synthesisers and drum machines to write my music but I took a different approach for this EP. It’s entirely written on piano and strings, there are subtle underlying synth textures and pads but nothing more. A lot of time was spent on the composition. The sound design was kept fairly simple, strings and piano just like the perfect instruments for this music.
You started working on the tracks in 2016...
I originally wrote these compositions in the summer of 2016. I was living alone in a studio apartment and had pretty much isolated myself with my synth. I wasn’t able to sonically translate what I had intended to so I ended up shelving the tracks. Last year, with the lockdown it was like being back to square one, locked within the four walls of my studio again. But this time I was more in touch with my inner self than I had been when I first wrote this EP. I decided to go back to the drawing board again and Squares was born
How did the slowdown/quarantine affect your creative process?
Initially, I was quite productive - I kept myself engaged and inspired. I was writing new ideas, posting snippets on Instagram but eventually, everything started feeling pretty pointless. The sound I was used to making wasn’t really speaking to me; trying to write the same stuff just seemed inorganic and I completely stopped making music for a few weeks. I even stopped listening to music for a while and everything became quite loopy, I was experiencing a huge creative block.
To break free from the stagnation I started learning composition for films. Film scores have always been a big source of inspiration for me, even with my prior releases, so that got my creative juices flowing again and helped me write Squares.
Squares is out now on all streaming platforms