Getting To Know… Jay B McCauley
f: How did you first get into making music?
Jay B McCauley: I have always been into making music since a young boy. Nothing special. I was a lyric writer and dabbled on the keyboards a bit, played in some bands and sang a lot, but it was always more of a hobby. Then about 5 years ago I dug into Ableton and here we are now. House Music has been my passion for over 30 years. From writing about it, DJing and just loving the culture, it was a natural progression from the Motown, Northern Soul and Blues I grew up with to the Soulful House I adore now.
f: What was the first dance record you bought?
Jay B McCauley: Now this is a question. Depends on what we mean by dance. If we are honest, I am super old and go way back, lol. I grew up in the time of very cheesy disco in a very suburban household. If we are talking about when I first broke out from that, I would say the Hip Hop classic, ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. I still have it on vinyl.
f: How would you describe your sound?
Jay B McCauley: Soulful with occasional flourishes of four on the floor and Gospel House. I did most of my DJ apprenticeship in Portugal in the early 90s so have a big love for Latin and Afro too.
Good music is good music and House is a feeling. I don’t like to be tied down to any particular genre
f: Who were your musical influences and did they have an impact on your sound today?
Jay B McCauley: Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Eric Kupper, Louie Vega, Terry Hunter, DJ Spen, Josh Milan – the list is endless. Vocalists would be Barbara Tucker, Inaya Day, Terri B!, Kathy Brown, Donna Summer, Peyton. There are so many and as you can see, it’s all about vocal house.
f: What was your first release?
Jay B McCauley: ‘Good For Nothing’ with Rebecca Burgin and Romy Black on Souluxe.
f: Which of your own tracks was the biggest labour of love to create?
Jay B McCauley: ‘African Woman (Mfazi WomAfrika)’ with Thembeka Zungu and my partner in crime Tony Garcia on Merecumbe Recordings. Thembeka had to record in the middle of the harshest lockdowns in South Africa. It was a mighty challenge. Producing a remix for Jesse Saunders for Quantize with Rubber People and getting the outstanding vocals from Tasha LaRae, Carla Prather, Kathy Brown, Cassandra Lucas in the pocket was one of the hardest things ever. Big love to Jesse The Originator who is going through a tough time at the moment.
f: You’ve just released your lovely single, ‘I Am More Than Just Your Queen’ featuring Leeny Pearls on vocals, what can we expect to hear?
Jay B McCauley: Lots of luscious soul. Some proper melodies and harmonies. It was the track I have always wanted to release. I asked Leeny to unleash her inner Tracy Thorn and Sade. She was more than up for the challenge. If you love Everything But The Girl and Fish Go Deep, this is perfect for you. The ‘Bare To The Bones Reprise’ is simply something else.
f: How did you approach putting the song together?
Jay B McCauley: Like anything. You put the basics down and build from there.
f: The release also features remixes from MicFreak and Col Lawton What did they bring to the table?
Jay B McCauley: Both are amazing producers and DJs. I interviewed both of them a while ago and we have remained friends. MicFreak brings that Quantize vibe and Col is one of my go-to men for a remix. They have both beefed it up for the dancefloor. In my opinion two of the best around at the moment.
f: You’re based in Australia, how is the dance music scene there now and who else should we be on the look-out for?
Jay B McCauley: The scene is not massive, but it is dedicated and the passion is obvious to see. Events like Klubhouse are well worth the money. I love Random Soul, Hutcher, Rubber People, labels like Tinted, Safari and Motive.
f: You also run Vagrant Soundz label with Tony Garcia, how’s that all going and who is on the label?
Jay B McCauley: Both myself and Tony have been friends for many years. We both have that same vision where we try not to use sample-based packs and sign music that is built from the ground up.
Our ambition is just to release good quality music that people enjoy, which harks back to the good old days when it was all about the music. People who we have worked with are Terri B!, Jerry Ropero, Eric Kupper, Rubber People, Kylie Auldist, and so many more.
f: Who are you 3 favourite House producers?
Jay B McCauley: Louie Vega, DJ Spen and Terry Hunter. I’m also loving Revival Records at the moment, they are next level.
f: What else are you working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Jay B McCauley: I have a collaboration with Terri B! coming out, which is just a glorious slice of Soulful House. And I have discovered a great artist from Nigeria called Emiola Sunday. We have locked in a release for January with remixes by Mijangos and Ron Carroll. It’s a pure slice of Afro so watch out for that. Also working on a Gospel/Afro Dub EP. That is going to be very special.