Jay Van Dyke is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and technologist whose enlightening projects bring people together, forge new paths of understanding between divergent perspectives and celebrate the thrill of collaborative music.His love of working with other people shines in his acclaimed work as a co-writer and arranger, and he seeks out artists who challenge his in order to evolve his compositions and regularly reinvent his artistry. A classically-trained percussionist, Van Dyke calls upon his fine-tuned ear to wrap up lush orchestral elements and rhythms from traditional music inside contemporary genres, mixing the colors of rock, pop, jazz, folk, blues and Americana to create a fresh, playful and complex sound.
Van Dyke has studied and played percussion for a majority of his life. His passion for rhythm was first ignited while listening to classic rock by Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix on long family road trips. Blown away by the power of hard-hitting drummers like John Bonham, he convinced his parents to buy him a drum set. As he developed his skills, he drew inspiration from ‘90s alternative bands like Blind Melon and found joy in songs with catchy melodies and contagious beats. Though focused on drums, he explored other instruments, learning guitar and piano in order to round out his understanding of how melodies and harmonies fit together. He began playing in bands in the New York City area with other musicians who wanted to push the boundaries of rock, folk rock and the blues. After earning a degree in music performance at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, he continued to play in local bands, starting with the Jersey City-based group Copesetic. He also found success as a member of the Grammy-nominated folk/Americana band The Lumineers, co-writing songs including “Scotland,” which was the theme song for the TV show Reign and “Gun Song” from the band’s certified gold album Cleopatra. His drumming also appears on the Japanese release of The Lumineers’ 2012 self-titled album.
In 2013, driven by his fascination with technology and its influence on music production, Van Dyke moved to California to pursue a graduate degree that would combine his skills in both technology and music at California State University. It was in this environment that he found a team of other talented technologists and found a way to blend music with computer science and bleeding-edge technology. Together, they created the Sand Noise Device (SND), which they described as “a complex generative music system as well as a novel and intuitive interface for influencing and interacting with this system.” Van Dyke and his team designed the SND in order to make a musical experience that was fun and inviting for anyone, especially those who are not musically inclined. The SND was a featured art installation at Moogfest and other events and was featured in the New York Times, Billboard, Engadget and on CNet, Vice and others.
Now based in New York’s Hudson County, Van Dyke continues to collaborate with other local musicians, producers and songwriters on projects that span multiple genres and styles, such as Head Cheerleader, 1&9s and Adam and the Plants. He is also in the process of building his own music studio and continues to pursue his love of designing apps, several of which are available in the App Store. Van Dyke will be releasing a new album with his band Head Cheerleader in September.