Jess Bays interview: "Expect nothing but fun vibes with me"
The sought-after house DJ and newly appointed radio host reveals what it's like to perform in front of live audiences again, what to expect from her set at this year's Highest Point Festival and much more...
Date published: 31st Aug 2021
A fast-rising house music talent tipped by many reputable voices as a future superstar of the scene, now a trusted curator of the freshest and most exciting dance music - Jess Bays is a name we all ought to be paying a great deal of attention to.
Renowned for her proficiency both behind the decks and in the studio, she’s gained nods from electronic greats such as Derrick Carter, DVine Sounds label boss and mentor, Sam Divine, and BBC Radio One legend, Annie Mac, whom she now follows into a similar role.
In addition to recently taking a seat in the Global studio, presenting a brand new radio show on Capital Dance every Sunday evening, the popular DJ/producer has also begun making appearances at live events again following the easing of lockdown restrictions in July. With big plans to take her energetic show to dance floors and audiences across the UK throughout the remainder of 2021, Jess Bays looks set for big things in the years to follow.
We sat down with Jess to chat about her new role, how lockdown has affected her creativity, and her upcoming performance at this year’s Highest Point Festival - taking to the stage on Friday 3rd September. Continue reading to find out more...
(Click or tap on the artist, venue and event names below for tickets and more...)
Now that we're living restriction-free, you’ve been back to playing live recently. What has it felt like to get back behind the decks?
"EMOTIONAL! I've literally never felt so overwhelmed, in a good way! I'm so appreciative to be able to do what I love again. And the energy on the dance floors... Out of this world!"
You recently became a presenter on Capital Dance, what do you want people to take away from your broadcasts?
"Positivity. I also really want them to get a chance to discover new upfront house music! I’ve got some seriously special guests lined up to come in for a chat, so I hope the listeners get to know some juicy inside info on their favourite artists."
Has lockdown offered you the chance to reset and be more creative?
"Yes, 100%. I have lockdown to thank for getting me in the studio and allowing me to do nothing else but focus on music for a solid year. I’ve worked with so many vocalists, songwriters, co-producers that I probably wouldn't have been able to so easily due to everyone usual crazy schedules. I'm very grateful."
What can people expect from your set at Highest Point?
"Big energy and a tonne of unreleased Jess Bays tracks! I’m having so much fun playing records new and old at the moment. Expect nothing but fun vibes with me. I can guarantee that I’ll be dancing along with the crowd."
How do you go about diversifying and evolving your sound?
"I think in this game there’s always pressure to be better than the next person but for me, it’s always been about searching continuously for new music to inspire you. My sound is maturing so much as I tick off my years in the industry and I’m loving the direction it’s going in. I think getting to play regularly with the best DJs in the business also really helps, as I hear first-hand what inspires them which in turn then inspires me."
Are there any other artists that you're particularly looking forward to seeing live at Highest Point this year?
"Easy question - Rudimental and Becky Hill. I’m a Becky Hill super fan and I’m yet to see her perform live. And the Rudimental lads, I’ve been lucky enough to work on two official remixes for them this year, so it'll be really fun to get to hang out with them on stage."
Name three things you can't be without when performing live or out on the road:
"Lip balm. Ice. My manager."
How do you go about discovering new music? Has anything in particular been blowing your mind at the moment?
"Radio and streaming have really been the only place we can discover new music for the last 18 months due to no shows. So there’s been a real shift in sound and drive for artists. It hasn’t been so much about hearing a DJ play a track in the usual environment, it’s been more about discovering new music via these platforms! I’m super lucky at Capital Dance that the playlist is always so fire each week. I have filled my USB up with the many great new heaters I've been introduced to."
What has been the proudest moment of your career thus far?
"By far becoming a presenter on Capital Dance. I pinch myself every time I step into the Global building. Still doesn’t feel real, I don’t think it ever will!"
Looking forward to 2022, what are your aspirations, your goals? What do you want to achieve as things continue to return to normality?
"I’m launching a brand new record label towards the end of this year, so next year will really see me focus on getting that off the ground. I'm also planning to throw a few of my own parties too. Watch this space..."