Meet Daye Jack, the Coding Whiz Making Music for a Technological World: PopCrush Presents
Every week at PopCrush, we’re putting the spotlight on one up-and-coming act you need to know about. Why? So you can get on board early before everyone else and their mother jumps on the bandwagon…and so you can be that one friend in the group who’s always like, “Um, actually, I prefer their earlier work.”
Daye Jack loves making music as much as he loves coding. And from the moment you press play on No Data, you immediately hear how the 21-year-old artist from Atlanta fuses his two passions together on the 12-track debut album. Opening with the robotic-meets-80s hip-hop on the title track, Daye, pronounced "dah-yay," shows that there's a seamless way to blend the digital world with hip-hop and dance beats while still keeping the pop melodies intact. But who really inspired him to bring these two worlds together? OutKast and Steve Jobs.
"Just like the Outkast album inspired me," he tells PopCrush, "the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson really inspired me. And both mediums are ways to really express your ideas and contribute to the world and impact people.
We had the chance to get to know Daye Jack a little better. Learn more about this artist on the rise below.
You're approach on this album as fun yet '80s dance and hip-hop vibe. What inspired that?
I was heavily inspired by Outkast. Right when I 13, I listened to Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. And just seeing how they expressed themselves on that album and how much singing Andre 3000 was doing on the album and how he'd use rap as an instrument, you just never knew what to expect from each song. All you could expect was his personality. He didn't have to be the hard gangster type dude. He was just being his weird self, and I just looked at that as a beautiful art form. And I wanted to be part of that in some way.
You actually studied computer science at New York University. So how did you go from majoring in computer science and now making music?
I've been writing code since I've been writing music. I'm very into both. Just like the Outkast album inspired me, the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson really inspired me. And both mediums are ways to really express your ideas and contribute to the world and impact people. And I was like, "Man, I want to be go to be a musician. But if I go to school and really hone down on my coding, I could still be a creative some way or somehow. I could be like a Steve Jobs or walk in the same shows as the greats like Mark Zuckerberg or something. But once the music thing clicked [Laughs.], I decided to go that route. But I'm always in love with tech, and I'm always making music that speaks to the tech world.
No Data does have a lot of electronic sounds on it. Was that what you meant by putting the two worlds together?
Exactly. I'm super into where the future of tech is going, like the next 30 years. And I love new sci-fi movies like Her and Ex Machina. And I love looking at that and also using it to talk about right now. I think we're in a place where [we have] technology and so much access to information that you almost think the basic questions as to who you are, how to dress, how to act, there should be answers. You think you can Google and find yourself. But there are things that are beyond technology and are innate to being a human. I just wanted to make something that's almost [looks at] being afraid of where we're going.
When people think of Atlanta music, it can lend itself to harder sounds. But you fall more into the Outkast, Janelle Monae and Wonderland crew. What inspired you to go down that path?
That's just what I really connected with when I was little. I love the early 2000s hit songs like Justin Timberlake's Justified, everything Outkast, 50 Cent's radio hits back then. I just love that vibe and that feeling, and that's what I gravitated to.
From No Data, what was the most memorable song to work on?
I'd say "Lady Villain" was a memorable one because it was the first song from the album, and No Data is executive produced by Mike Elizondo. He's the one who got me to leave NYU, leave school and move to LA and pursue music. And that's the very first song we made in the studio. So, to me, that was my beginning into this journey as musician.
One of the tracks that stood out to me was "Bully Bully." There's clearly a message there. Can you talk a little bit about that?
That song kind of goes in line with the whole album -- anti-bullying. Kind of standing up for the "nerds." It's for people who are misunderstood. Greatness comes from those people who didn't fit in and found a way to make something happen for themselves. So "Bully Bully" is just an anti-society holding you back, anti actually bullies actually trying to bring you down, anti any box people decide to put you in.
Outkast. Big Boi and Andre 3000, that would be crazy. Kanye. That would be insane. And Justin Timberlake. His vocals are crazy. I would sing no hooks. I would say, "You got this, man. I'm not going to embarrass myself."
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