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Jay Hardway Pursues “Operation Unicorn” [Interview]



When it comes to genuine presences in the electronic sphere, Jay Hardway stands strong atop the roster of such people. Originally from the mecca city of dance music, Amsterdam, Jay has morphed together with the highly esteemed Dutch label of Spinnin’ Records and has delivered an extensive catalogue of songs since joining. The master behind one of 2020’s most flavorful tracks thus far, Jay just released “Operation Unicorn” via Spinnin’ and the track is one of both imaginative and savvy proportions. 

Weaving his classic dance floor pleasing energy and music throughout the world’s top music festivals and most respected nightclubs, it’s no surprise his fans have spread to every corner of the globe and gather by the thousands to experience his live sets. A charismatic heart both in and outside of the studio, Jay’s innate ability to craft adventurous experiences continues to surprise us time and time again. From hosting his very own ‘Demo Ride’ during ADE 2019, to continuously posting influential and positive lifestyle social media posts, and to collaborating with many leading electronic artists, it seems as though the world of Jay Hardway is limitless in possibilities and creativity. 

“Operation Unicorn” is another testament to the sort of buzzful tracks within Jay’s long-standing discography. Among other eclectic titles are “Counting Sheep,” “Coffee Please,” “Dinosaur,” “Golden Pineapple,” and “Electric Elephants” just to name a few. Fusing his admirable persona into beautiful melodies and freshly minted records, 2020 is shaping up to be home to a plethora of glowing music and high-powered live performances from Jay. 

We were psyched to chat with Jay just as the new year is getting started – read on in our interview to see what sort of musical escapades Jay is up to 🙂

Nocturnal Times: Really great to catch up with you Jay! Where in the world are you right now?

Jay Hardway: Thanks for the interview, always a pleasure! I’m in my studio in Amsterdam right now, just got back from a holiday of 3 weeks in Namibia, Africa. Beautiful country and a great way to switch off for a couple weeks! 

Nocturnal Times: We last had an interview at ADE 2018…time flies. At ADE 2019 you had a stand out “Demo Ride” where you asked fans to submit demos and score a passenger seat with you to ride around and listen. The YouTube video is awesome! Tell us about the whole experience?

Jay Hardway: It was the first time we tried something like this, so we had to get used to it. Luckily the winners were very easy going and also very talented! Which really made the whole experience extra special. One thing we didn’t really plan that well was the time of day, because there was a LOT of traffic that afternoon haha, so next year we’ll maybe do a night drive! 

Nocturnal Times: In 2019 you released 6 more originals on your home label Spinnin’ Records. As a top player on the label, what would you like to share with fans about what it’s like being part of the Spinnin’ family? What are your favorite parts about being part of their team?

Jay Hardway: I work closely with a small group of people within Spinnin’ and they are always available for advice and chats about music and the scene. I’ve been working with them for almost 7 or 8 years, and we know each other quite well, that makes it more like a friendship. 

Nocturnal Times: You recently wrapped up the “Wild Mind” Remix Competition and chose MLSTRM as the winner! What was it about his mix in particular that caught your eye over his competitors? 

Jay Hardway: There were a lot of good entries, so it was hard to choose. I chose MLSTRM because he clearly made the remix with the original melodies of the vocal in mind, but with his own unique twist to it. So he didn’t just throw the vocal on an existing track, but started from scratch! And overall it gave me a good feeling, which matters most. 

Nocturnal Times: Do you think you’ll host another remix contest this year?

Jay Hardway: I might! 

Nocturnal Times: Let’s move into the new year. One of your recent Instagram posts stuck with us, in part of it you said “In 2020 I want to inspire, help and teach people, make people laugh, make people think. I want to create and release music that makes people feel happy, makes people dance, makes people forget time.” In an industry (and world) that can make people feel so pressured about time and moving quickly, what insights do you have for artists and other industry members to help remember the meaning behind why we all do this?

Jay Hardway: I’m glad this post stuck with you. I really felt like I had to tell this to my followers, but also to fellow DJs. It’s important we remember WHY we started making music and playing at shows. And I wanted to tell everyone why I do this and what I want to achieve with my music and posts, as it is easy to follow the money or follow the “fame.” For me it’s important to always stick to what I wrote, you can see it as my mission for 2020 and beyond. 

Nocturnal Times: 2020 is more than the start to a new year, it’s the start of a new decade that closed out a decade in which you’ve gone through many of the most important chapters from beginning to produce, to journeying all the way to where you are now. Have you given thought to the next ten years at a glance? If you have, talk to us about what sort of things you hope for (can be in music, outside, or both) that this new decade could bring?

Jay Hardway: All I know is that I LOVE making music and I want to keep doing that, hopefully for the rest of my life. I don’t look to the future that much,  I try to live in the moment. 

Nocturnal Times: Diving into new 2020 music – “Operation Unicorn” has got to be the best song title we’ve heard in a while haha. Why “Operation Unicorn” for this tune and walk us through the process of producing this one? 

Jay Hardway: I always come up with weird names for my tracks, sometimes the names just come to me for no reason. It just sounds cool, and has a little funny twist to it. To me, it’s better than a title like ‘hands up’ or ‘get down’ or something like that. Producing it was a lot of fun as the melody has a kind of classical style to it, which I love. The melody is already years old, but I ran into it on my computer and decided to make something new out of it! 

Nocturnal Times: Have fans been loving it if you’ve teased it around at shows??

Jay Hardway: YES! It works really well at live shows. I didn’t always say it was a new track and just let it play, and it still would work really well, so I was already really happy with it! 

Nocturnal Times: Are you going for a certain kind of vibe in your releases this year, or, might they be more of a mix of styles that could be a surprise to both you and your fans that you find yourself leaning towards?

Jay Hardway: I don’t really plan what I make, but I do think Operation Unicorn is a bit “harder” than the stuff I released last year, and that’s what I really still like. Because of this it’s easy to play at festivals as well as in clubs. So expect more “harder melodic” tracks this year. 

Nocturnal Times: Which shows/events do you have coming up that you’re most looking forward to?

Jay Hardway: Currently I’m focusing on my studio time, we’re still planning events for the summer, so I’m enjoying my normal sleep routine at the moment haha.

From her first concert at 10 years old, Ariana's number one thing in life has always been music. Now, at age 27, she's found her passion within the EDM industry. Ariana grew up in the Boston area and moved to Florida where she graduated from Rollins College in Orlando. Inspired by DJ/Producers making their dreams come true and by sensational performances at EDM festivals around the world, Ariana is thrilled to be on the road to living out her dreams.


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