Jay Denham

Real Name:
James Denham
Jay Denham is the second generation Detroit Techno pioneer - musician, dj artist and producer from Kalamazoo, Michigan - city right in the middle between Chicago and Detroit. His style is a unique blend of these two worlds - Chicago House and Detroit Techno, with a Kalamazoo touch. He stays true to the underground, makes the music for the art of it and always remembers where he comes from.

Denham's solid musical background takes its roots in 70s, when little Jay opted for a four-string bass guitar over a six-string electric. By age 17, Jay has been playing high school party gigs with his rock band. During these teenage years, he developed a taste for punk and New Wave, though still influenced by funk acts like Rick James, Parliament, Cameo, Zapp, and later Prince and The Time, as well as by electronic music of Kraftwerk.

With the arrival of the 80s, Jay Denham moved on to the early detroit techno and further on to the chicago house, when he came across "Chicago Hot Mix" tapes and the revolutionary Farley Jackmaster Funk and the deep Frankie Knuckles. Immediately blown away by these new sounds, Jay started his pilgrimages to the Cradle of House music in search of records, religiously tape-recording the local radio shows he couldn't receive in his home town, Kalamazoo. A chance encounter with the legendary early House producer, Chip E inspired Jay to try to make this new music himself, and eventually to create his own sound.

The next significant encounter marked another step in Jay's career. At the Western Michigan University he befriended a certain Anthony Shakir, aka DJ Shake, who now runs Frictional records. Shake had a keyboard, Jay had a drum machine and it wasn't long before they were jamming together. Finally a breakthrough - full dedication, hard working and sacrifices paid off - Denham's early works captured the attention of Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson who released Jay's first EPs on Transmat off shoot label, Fragile and KMS label. The track "Rituals" which Jay released as Vice on the Techno 2 Next Generation album was quickly followed by the classic track, "Insync" released as Fade II Black.

The fruitful collaboration came to an end when growing stack of tracks eventually hit against the labels' limitations on releasing and Jay decided to go back home to his roots in Kalamazoo, where he worked with local producers and DJs, and continued to develop his unique sound.

In 1992, Jay Denham struck out on his own. He founded Black Nation Records and launched it with his seminal "Birth of a Nation" E.P. (allusion to the infamous and subversive Ku Klux Klan propaganda film of the same title), featuring tracks by Denham himself and as well as his colleagues - Fanon Flowers, Tony Ollie, Brett Dancer, and Chance McDermott. Black Nation's philosophy: driving underground grooves for the funk-conscious record buyer.

With the success of Black Nation relentless releases of pure Detroit Techno, Jay was able to refine his sound to what he describes as the funky techno sound.

After a while Jay decided to set up shop in Munich, Germany, where he worked with a local label Disko B. The label gave him carte blanche to express his creativity beyond the sound he was know for at the time, which gave the world the classic album "Synthesized Society", #2 album of the year 2000 according to the Groove Magazine.

Moving on to the European scene Jay expanded his style as a DJ. Famous for his dj skills, he conquered the fans with his brand of hot mixing, rocking 3 decks back in the day.

Over 30 years of career, Jay has recorded under aliases Blackman, Constant Ritual, Defenders Of The Ghetto, Fade To Black, Formula, The, Psychic Warfare, Que Sera Sera, and Vice, and has releases on numerous labels such as - Transmat, Fragile Records, KMS records, 430 West, Cosmic Records, Disko B, Federation Of Drums, Virgin 10 Records, Tresor Records, Cosmic recordings, Drought records, Parasound records, Sessions recordings, as well as on his own labels - Black Nation Records, sector 616 and slavery 2000. and has performed at festivals and clubs around the world - Movement Detroit, DEMF, Awakenings NL, Time Warp, Sonar festivals, as well as at Tresor Berlin, Rote Sonne Munich, Lost London, Nature one, Fuse, among many others.

The last few years Jay has concentrated on his productions with the release of several projects under the names Jay Denham - "Illustrate" E.P, "Jackulate" E.P, Mlackban E.P, and Defenders of the ghetto - "Jump out boys" E.P, "Garden Of Eden" E.P.

Celebrating 20 years of the label, Black Nation Records is relaunched with D.G. Hubbard as its manager, promoting younger generation of artists like Billy Johnston & Gennaro Mastrantonio, Tony Kasper, Jody Molina, Ray Nicholes, DJ Nova, Means And Ends, Cisco Arias, Luis Rosario, to cite but a few. With this fresh start the label will focus on the development of this generation of techno artists to insure the future and forward progression of this great art form.

Jay Denham is currently working on his new album and about to take off to spread his art and love of performing all over the world - to commemorate 25 years of his epic "Insync" release he is preparing a special tour.
In Groups:


db64cd, db 64cd Jay Denham - Escape To The Black Planet album art Jay Denham Escape To The Black Planet (Album) Disko B, Disko B db64cd, db 64cd Germany 1998 Sell This Version
db 84 Jay Denham - Synthesized Society album art Jay Denham Synthesized Society (Album) Disko B db 84 Germany 1999 Sell This Version
db 143 Jay Denham - The Truth album art Jay Denham The Truth (Album) Disko B db 143 Germany 2008 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

001 Jay Denham - Life Force EP album art Jay Denham Life Force EP (EP) Drought Records 001 UK 1996 Sell This Version
BNR130 Jay Denham - Global Infunkuation EP album art Chance McDermott / Jay Denham Chance McDermott / Jay Denham - Global Infunkuation EP(12", EP, RE) Black Nation Records BNR130 US 1996 Sell This Version
BNR200 Jay Denham - Anomie album art Jay Denham Anomie(12") Black Nation Records BNR200 US 1996 Sell This Version
BNR250 Jay Denham - People's Revolution album art Jay Denham People's Revolution Black Nation Records BNR250 US 1997 Sell This Version
M1975 Jay Denham - Tune-Up / Muffler Man 2 album art Reality Feedback / Jay Denham Reality Feedback / Jay Denham - Tune-Up / Muffler Man 2(12") Mechanisms Industries M1975 US 1997 Sell This Version
BNR270 Jay Denham - Carjacker E.P. album art Jay Denham Carjacker E.P. (EP) Black Nation Records BNR270 US 1998 Sell This Version
CLONE 04 Jay Denham - The Rise Up E.P. album art Jay Denham The Rise Up E.P. (EP) Cloned Vinyl CLONE 04 UK 1998 Sell This Version
COS018 Jay Denham - 1964 EP album art Jay Denham 1964 EP (EP) Cosmic Records COS018 UK 1998 Sell This Version
Choice 05 Jay Denham - After Thought album art Jay Denham After Thought (EP) Choice Choice 05 France 1999 Sell This Version
PARAS004 Jay Denham - Sleepless EP album art Jay Denham Sleepless EP (EP) Parasound PARAS004 Germany 1999 Sell This Version
HOLZ 39 Jay Denham - Lights Out album art Jay Denham Lights Out Holzplatten HOLZ 39 Germany 1999 Sell This Version
BNR300 Jay Denham - Black Project EP album art Cowles* vs Denham* Cowles* vs Denham* - Black Project EP (EP) Black Nation Records BNR300 US 1999 Sell This Version
SM-015 Jay Denham - Tracks album art Jay Denham / D-Knox Jay Denham / D-Knox - Tracks(12") Sonic Mind SM-015 US 1999 Sell This Version
SESS 004006 Jay Denham - Action 36 album art Jay Denham Action 36 Session Recordings, Session Recordings SESS 004006 Belgium 2000 Sell This Version
BNR410 Jay Denham - Revenge Of A Madman Part II album art Jay Denham Revenge Of A Madman Part II Black Nation Records BNR410 US 2000 Sell This Version
BNR350 Jay Denham - The System album art Jay Denham The System Black Nation Records BNR350 US 2000 Sell This Version
M1980 Jay Denham - Revenge Of A Mad Man album art Jay Denham Revenge Of A Mad Man Mechanisms Industries M1980 US 2000 Sell This Version
10, KSQ-010 Jay Denham - Duel EP album art Jay Denham Vs. Fanon Flowers Jay Denham Vs. Fanon Flowers - Duel EP (EP) Konsequent, Konsequent 10, KSQ-010 Germany 2000 Sell This Version
16, KSQ-016 Jay Denham - Techno Fugitive EP album art Jay Denham Techno Fugitive EP (EP) Konsequent, Konsequent 16, KSQ-016 Germany 2000 Sell This Version
DB93 Jay Denham - Smoke And Mirrors EP album art Jay Denham Smoke And Mirrors EP (EP) Disko B DB93 Germany 2000 Sell This Version
SEC616001 Jay Denham - Dreamworld EP album art Jay Denham Dreamworld EP(12", EP) Sector 616 SEC616001 US 2000 Sell This Version
KSQ019 Jay Denham - Techno Fugitive - Remixes album art Jay Denham Techno Fugitive - Remixes (Single) Konsequent KSQ019 Germany 2001 Sell This Version

Add Review



June 2, 2022
Let's hope new releases from Denham, one of the most interesting names in techno.


January 15, 2022
Deserves so much respect.... 1964 EP, Blaze It Up and Praline Horse remix on Tresor, but his own label tracks are just sublime killers.
Tensions is an all time fave, and sits beautifully with the best of H&M at that time too.

Big Jay. What a diamond


April 14, 2020
Jay is one of the sickest true techno pioneers. No nonsense, in your face, kitchen sink with soul techno. His sound is classy, harsh, smooth and humorous all at once. Not every track is for everyone, but when he hits, it's genius.


May 31, 2017
Jay Denham's signature is a very deep, bassy kick drum with a long release. Sometimes it sounds like all the air is sucked out of the room. I don't mean it like a it's a bad thing. He really hit his stride in the late 90's, in my opinion, found his sound. He started to put his voice on his tracks. It was a good decision.


October 8, 2016
LEGEND! People in the know respect his productions; soo many gems!


April 1, 2003
See, the United States has someone to be proud of for Hard Techno! Actualy, we have a few and Jay is definitly one of them. His style is usualy very pounding and minimal with an element of surprise with the addition of inovative sounds. You a Hard Techno fan??? Check out Jay Denham!

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