Jay Americana Speaks Ins and Outs of 555 EP [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

Picture courtesy of Nick Khan

Jay Americana, the Atlanta born-and-bred rapper whose music crosses drum n’ bass and alternative pop had just released their new EP, ‘555’, across streaming services this past March. Focused on the pulse of NYC nightlife, the ‘555 EP’ embraces freedom of expression, queerness, and somber reflection.

We had the chance to speak with Jay about the ins-and-outs of their new project, and the message they want to get across to fans. Read the full interview below.

Can you give us insight into the production process of the album? Which part was the most rewarding?

I started writing and conceptualizing the EP last summer, and the recording process started not long after. Throughout that process, some ideas changed, songs being scrapped or added, etc. We tracked vocals and bounced ideas for about 4 months, and I’m so proud of how everything turned out. I think the instant I heard the demo version “Sweat” was the most cathartic and fulfilling moment of the process. Things started to feel real and tangible in that moment.

555 explores the feeling of nightlife and the energy that comes from a night out. What inspired you to share this experience with your audience?

A little over a year ago, I was visiting New York City again. While I was there, my friends and I were all into the club scene there. I made a lot of memories there, and the music I was hearing impacted me tremendously. Something about those nights out with friends and strangers  felt almost spiritual. I wanted to bring that connectivity and bonding into my music.

The theme of mortality reveals itself in tracks like “Lucky Strike” and “Actress”. What inspired you to share this theme and story on the EP?

I think that, especially with the context of the pandemic, we are all hyperaware of how short our time on Earth could be. Death is and always has been a constant, but the circumstances of the past few years made it even more apparent. I would say those songs came about organically, but the meaning of “One life and I might not make it.” wasn’t lost on me.

What was it like to get to work with actor Connor Jones on the record?

Connor’s so talented and a real treat to work with. We recorded the whole project at his studio, Pendulum, and he really helped me bring these ideas to life. Even beyond his technical skills, his backing vocals on Actress were like the missing link for the track.

You often like to blend genres and musical influences. What was that creative process like when crafting 555?

Musically, I have this belief that I’ll try anything once. I’ve flirted with house and dance music before, but I wanted to fully send into that arena for this project. I curated a few playlists that centered that sound and immersed myself in artists like Heatace, TOKYOPILL, and some more classic acts like Soichi Terada. At the same time, I wanted to create something that was authentic to me and my experiences. So, when it came to writing, I took direct inspiration from the things I had dealt with over the past year and weaved them into the narrative.

“Sweat” is the explosive opening track to the EP. How did you choose which track would be the leading single?

I knew Sweat would be the lead single as soon as I wrote it. I would like to think my instincts were right. From the beat to the way the first verse comes in, that track just thrusts you into the EP.

What message would you want listeners to take away from 555?

Life can be chaotic, messy and too short. While you’re here, you might as well dance a bit.

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