Byjayr is the alias of Jeena Ra, a producer and visual artist who makes music that ranges from cinematic, progressive house to evocative breaks and gritty industrial techno, with influences as diverse as Sevdaliza to grunge-era Nirvana. After Djing since 2016, she is now set to release her debut EP Siren.
Born in Canada to Palestinian parents and raised around the globe, Byjayr created a name for herself around Montreal’s art scene as a visual artist, displaying her bold art pieces and murals around the city, and that boldness of expression has carried through to her musical productions.
Out this month on Aquarius Records, Nahji is the second single to be released from her forthcoming debut EP Siren, and is another extraordinary record from Byjayr.
BYJAYR INTERVIEW WITH FRANKIE SALT
What is unique about the place you live, or is it famous for something?
I’m currently based in Montreal after jumping around over the past year. I have a bittersweet relationship with the city. It’s nightlife is extraordinary, personally nothing like it anywhere else. It’s definitely famous for that music culture. You can find a hub for any genre and that’s what makes the city so special.
Through lockdown, what has been your favourite thing to do at the weekend?
My ideal activity during the lockdown weekends is to do yoga, and play guitar in the sun. Helps me start my day, and allows me to escape my surroundings for a minute.
Any side hustles or skills you want to share with us?
I’m a visual artist as well as an animator. I’ve been an artist my whole life and now I get to take those skills and apply it to my music to create a unique world for my listeners.
You're about to release your debut EP - how much did your local environment inspire its production?
I would say plenty but not just my local environment alone, I’ve been travelling a lot between places like Los Angeles and Europe, and that alone has inspired me so much, especially Berlin. The people I met and the stories they’ve shared with me made a great impact on my upcoming EP, without those journeys the EP wouldn’t have formed.
Prior to making music you were a visual artist... How much does your art feed into what you're doing now as a musician?
I’d like to exhibit byjayr as an experience. Prior to the pandemic I was creating an installation for Burning Man and that’s when I realized I wanted to combine both realms of music and visual art into one. Experience is very important to me and I want my music to be felt rather than heard.
What cheeky banger has been playing through your speakers on repeat for the last 6 months?
Oh man, my taste in music is so versatile, it changes up every month. I would say lately it’s been Bind (Rampa Remix).
Favourite Friday night dinner at home or restaurant?
I’ll take any excuse to drag myself out of the house, so definitely a restaurant, a new one too.