From St. Matthews to Billboard Charts, Jonathan Hay of Louisville Reinvents Nirvana as House and Techno
Record producer Jonathan Hay has had a “colorful” career to say the least. This former Days of the New publicist began to take an interest in music in a basement in St. Matthews thanks to a friend, Dennis Martin.
âI met this guy, Dennis Martin,â Hay said. âHe has this recording studio with his father. It was like a real big studio.
Hay described analog equipment, including reel-to-reel recording tapes. It was perhaps the first time that something other than basketball really caught his interest. Hay attended Waggener High School but moved to Christian Academy in hopes of having more playing time on the field.
Hay still loves basketball, but he only focuses on music. After spending 20 years as a publicist, Hay’s career has been fraught with successes and scandals, according to his Wikipedia page. He was the publicist for Days of the New and worked with other artists and labels like Whitney Houston, Rihanna and the infamous Death Row Records created by Suge Knight.
After quitting his career as a publicist, Hay turned to record production, including working with Prince and Audio Stepchild on a cover of “When Will We Be Paid”, a song first performed by The Staple Singers. . He has also worked with Snoop Dogg, producing music for a TV show involving TI, DJ Khaled, RZA and others. To say he’s been busy is an understatement.
In 2018 and 2019, Hay produced three Billboard No.1 jazz albums, one of them being Follow the leader reinvented in jazz, a jazz production of Eric B and Rakim’s classic album. The album spent 11 weeks on the Billboard charts.
His recent project, Nirvana-Reinvented as House & Techno is part of a new journey into the house and techno worlds.
In December 2020, Hay was on his way to meet his then girlfriend in London. He sold his belongings and started the journey. His girlfriend asked him not to stop in New York but Hay stopped in New York and then the pandemic struck.
âI stopped in New York to see my friends and my lawyer and ended up staying in New York,â Hay said. “I never made it to London.”
While in New York, with everything closed, Hay discovered that there were underground parties and raves still going on. So he went.
âI hadn’t done house music. I was doing jazz. During the pandemic, everything in New York City was closed. But there were underground House parties and underground raves, âsaid Hay. âThen I met this guy and he told me to come to Dallas. So I went to Dallas.
Hay describes arriving in Dallas in a psychedelic fog and discovering the radically different city of New York.
âNew York was very sad,â said Hay. âNew York felt like a pandemic war zone and you could feel that all the people were suffering financially. You were walking around and all the stores were closed. Just the morale was very, very low and dismal. Then you come to Dallas and it’s like, ‘Fuck it.’ “
He started working on Nirvana’s remix album in Brooklyn, but found fertile ground in Dallas. Influenced by Cobain’s support for the LGBTQ community, Nirvana-Reinvented as House & Techno, he thought the house / techno remix would be the perfect combination.
âIn December 2020, I started working on Nirvana reinvented in House & Techno in a weathered but inspiring Brooklyn apartment, âsaid Hay. âThroughout this year Cain McKnight and I have been working on the Nirvana Reimagined project with a collective of eccentrics such as Grammy Award winner Maurice Brown, 41x, Don Klein and J Patt (of The Knocks)â¦ “
So far, the release is gaining a lot of attention after being featured by Grammy’s and several major music publications such as NME, GED and others.
The team behind Nirvana-Reinvented currently have a remix of the project, created with Suge Knight Jr., son of Marion “Suge” Knight, founder of Death Row Records. Thanks to their Technical line records they will also be working on a reimagined, jazzy house version of Tupac Shakur’s music.
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