This was the first of three podcasts that I captured while in NYC in early of July and this one happened within the span of about three hours. Matt Keene who was Episode 10 of the podcast texted me when I arrived in the city saying that his friend Jay was going to be there only for a day or so before he flew back to Europe to finish his tour with Steve Aoki and that if I was interested he’d be willing to sit down for a podcast. I always say you never know when an opportunity might pop up so always be ready for it because I sure was.
With a 30 minute Uber ride from Brooklyn back to our hotel in Manhattan I was able to research and outline what I needed for this podcast.
We’re who we’re today because of the way we were raised and for good or bad it most definitely plays a role in the person we become and how we see the world. Having to deal with a family death when he was just eight years old changed his perspective on life and he became to appreciate things that he might’ve taken for granted previously.
As he grew up and went from middle school to high school and finally college, he changed his mind about what he wanted to do with his life but never got stressed on not having a perfect plan. It seems he just followed his heart and listened to what his gut was telling him to do.
What started as just an opportunity to do the lights for a local club in Massachusetts led to him becoming the in house visual jockey right when the music scene was getting into EDM and changing the experience for clubs. He tried pitching his service to local promoters and spots and although they didn’t bite that moment, they came back to him down the road. With being in the right place at the right time, he was given an opportunity to work for Steve Aoki and has been traveling with him since 2015 doing over 250+ shows in 30+ countries a year. Even while traveling abroad, he still is able to manage his 13 person team for his production company NightRide Visuals.
One of the main takeaways from this episode is live now how others won’t so you can live later how others can’t. Nobody enjoys making sacrifices but it is necessary if you want to live the life you dream of living. Whether it's a big or small leap of faith, follow through and do whatever is needed in order to get the best outcome. Just know that anyone you’ve ever aspired to be like has had to make their own sacrifices at some point. We all start at 0 and the only way we’ll ever get to where we want to be is by making short term changes for a long term lifestyle.
Podcast Outline (Time Markers For Audio Version)
Who is Jay Nightride today and how young is he?
30 years young, runs visuals for Steve Aoki and runs a production company NightRide visuals
Grew up in Haverhill, MA and lived in Groveland, MA for a bit
Childhood was a variety of things that have helped shape him to who he is today
Mother and father were never married (5:10)
Jay could only remember one moment of them being in the same room together
Single mother was working 3 jobs just to provide for Jay and his brother
Older brother passed away from a car accident when Jay was 8 (6:10)
Changed the dynamic of how he looked at life and didn’t take things for granted
Knew leaving high school he had to go to college and went to Salem State University
Not sure of what he wanted to do, music was the only degree he was interested in
Turned 21 and went to a club called ‘Throde’ to check out the scene
Was getting in free of cover because he was a regular and e-mailed them to offer to do lighting for the club since he had the gear/experience from working with his band
Jay then stepped in as the Visual Jockey when their in house VJ was moving to California (12:50)
Nightclubs didn’t have a lot of production (video walls) and slowly developed over time
Sent hundreds of emails to clubs and promoters to night spots across Boston offering his service
Nobody responded at first but when it became the standard and you needed to have it, they followed up with Jay. He was willing to take meetings with anyone that was willing to listen to him
Wanted to be the best, most professional, did the most research in order to differentiate from any competitor's
DJ’s are what get people in the doors but the VJ is still just as important (17:50)
If the production isn’t an experience then people might not come back a second time
When being contacted by a new client the goal is to take what they’re imaging and make it a reality
Doesn’t matter the size of the event or who it is for, NightRide Visuals approaches it professionally
If there is a budget to create content they will otherwise they’ll make best of the resources they have
Jay approaches his business as a team and not as “the boss” of the company (21:10)
13 person team and if anyone falls they’re there to pick them back up
Open line of communication ensures that all problems are resolved appropriately
On the road for 250 shows of the year in over 30 countries with Steve Aoki (22:40)
Owner of NV Concepts, Tim Banito, introduced Jay to Steve’s Tour manager Dylan
Took Jay on a Mexico trial run, became the VJ for all U.S. shows and then took over European ones as well
Working with Steve Aoki is inspiring
Anytime he thinks someone might underestimate him he surpasses and is a work horse
Runs his record label, fashion line and his own business as himself
“Live Now How Others Won't So You Can Live Later How Others Can’t” (28:10)
Do everything that you can to become the best version of yourself
Nobody likes sacrifices but you need to be willing to give up something if you want more in life
On the road it is all business
Sometimes will manage to do 2-3 shows in a day flying from festival to festival (35:30)
The team works out everyday for “Aoki Boot camp” and has to do 125 reps per day which helps them get through these long days/nights
When it is showtime, everyone is in the zone (37:20)
Blink-182 was the first band that Jay stuck with and learned some of their songs when he picked up guitar
They’re a band that is all about not taking things seriously
Of all the DJ’s in the world, the one Jay works for ended up collabing with them and he eventually created visuals for Travis Barker the drummer of Blink (42:40)
True happiness is an ongoing process
No one achieves true happiness, it comes in waves that you gain overtime
If you become content you give up. The goal is to keep making progress
Jay’s team inspires him to grow because as he moves forward so too does his team
His younger brothers and people that are in his life on a daily basis help keep him going
The important people that stay in your life even when you’re gone 250 days of the year (47:40)
Always keeps a to-do list on his phone
Update it with big and small things that is always ongoing
Helps make sure that he makes the most of the time that he has
There is always something to do and always a dream to chase
Used to run visuals then DJ’d for Groove Boston
The owner Bobby was a huge mentor for him that always told him “whatever you’re doing… put your all into it”
Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 Question
What music are you listening to right now?
Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?
The goal is to have created something that is self sustaining and at some point to step back and let it live its life
Where to find Jay
2-3 pieces of advice for someone trying to find their passion/purpose
Explore every opportunity that you find the most minimal interest in because you never know what will come out of it