Jason van Wyk is a name that you might not have heard before; if so, it’s a pleasure to introduce him. Since he is a South African music producer, composer, DJ and live performer currently living in Cape Town, he doesn’t get over to Canada very often. However, this doesn’t stop him from working with a number of Canadian artists.
In the past, Jason has worked with Canadian producer Max Graham (once a Vancouver resident), singing a remix of his original works on Graham’s Cycles 2 compilation. Van Wyk then signed with ie:Morrison, Canadian producer/DJ Glenn Morrison’s production company, which seeded Jason’s debut album Days You Remember, set to be released November 7, 2013.
The album is collection of hauntingly beautiful, quiet melodies, conceived with detailed production, defined composition, and stunning atmospheric ambiance.
Whether it’s electronic music production work for legendary Dutch label Black Hole Recordings, or darkly beautiful ambient music for a notable Hollywood music agency, Jason’s career has become as diverse as he is stylistically.
Listening back to his earlier work and comparing where he is today, there’s always been a profound focus on melody. The musical side of his work has been front and centre, something that hasn’t changed at all since his humble beginnings.
Vancouver Weekly: Jason, thanks for joining me here today to get to know you a little better. How would you describe your style and genre of music? Why do you feel you’ve gravitated towards it?
Jason Van Wyk: No problem, thanks for having me! Well, I’ve always gravitated towards melodious music. Whether it’s electronic or acoustic, it’s music with a strong and moving melody that’s always drawn me in.
If someone hasn’t heard of you before, which track of yours would you want to point them towards, to start with?
Actually, I’d say give the new album [Days You Remember] a listen. It’s eight tracks ranging through a lot of the styles I’ve been writing over the past few years. It should give you a bit of a summary of what my music is all about.
Tell us about the inspiration for Days You Remember and why you chose this specific title?
My mind tends to wander while I’m writing music and often enough ends up thinking back to certain days… It can be recent or sometimes back ten years plus. Every track on the album brings up a certain memory of a past day for me. I used these thoughts as inspiration, and that’s where the title comes from too.
How long did it take you to put the album together?
It took just over two years. I started it back in 2011 and finished it towards the middle of 2013. It was something I’d work on when I didn’t have deadline-driven music work. I actually had a completed version of it early last year as I wanted it released during the middle of 2012, but I wasn’t entirely happy with what I had. So I spent another year working and I think the result I have now was 100% worth it!
Who was involved in this album. We heard there was a Canadian, Glenn Morrison. Tell us more about how you got involved with him.
Glenn mastered the record. We’ve been good friends for quite a few years now and his studio, Alpine Mastering, has done some fantastic work over the years for my music as well as others, so it made perfect sense to get him involved. Besides Glenn, I had a fellow Cape Town musician and friend of mine Dylan Fletcher perform all the main guitar parts.
That’s excellent! If these songs are a part of your memory discog, do you have a favourite track?
That’s a good question! I think I’d say though that I like to look at the entire album as one piece. I love every bit of it as much as the next so I really couldn’t name just one track.
That’s always a great sign! We hope this release brings you to the next level in your career. Where do you personally see your career heading. Do you have any goals?
I definitely see myself doing more music for visual media, I love writing music to picture and want to do as much of that as I can.
I really like the album format so I plan to keep making albums too. Now with my new label, White Notebook, I can create and release exactly what I want to without any restrictions. I plan to take full advantage of that!
What is the philosophy behind your new independent label White Notebook? What made you start it? Why the name “White Notebook”?
White Notebook is set up for my more experimental works and collaborations.
The whole thing came about while I was busy working on the album. I had in the back of my mind the idea of self-releasing it, but there were a few labels that I wanted to submit to first. Once the album was finished, I started looking for contact information but ended up finding out that pretty much all of these labels that I wanted to work with don’t accept unsolicited demos. So instead of shopping it around or sending it off to a smaller label, I decided to just start my own and put it out myself.
The name “White Notebook” is just that – a white notebook, a blank page. It can consist of anything. It’s my own creative space.
What’s next up on the horizon for you?
I’ve started work on my next solo album which is progressing quite nicely, but I also have a new collaborative album coming out early next year with Swedish producer Joni Ljungqvist a.k.a. JPL.
We’ve been working on this record for over a year now and it’s really started to shape up over the last few months. It’s a bit more abstract than Days You Remember but really beautiful-sounding tracks.
That’s excellent. I can’t wait for that release as well. Before I let you go, I do have one more question. Do you hope to travel to Canada, British Columbia some time? The scenery could hold more inspiration for your next album…
Absolutely, if not for a performance, then a vacation would be great. I’m not a big traveler, I only go abroad once or maybe twice a year, but I do enjoy new places, and Canada, I’d love to visit!