Jay Som DJs an Anachronistic Get-Together

It's a Halloween party for springtime and the singer-songwriter drops in to spin a few familiar tunes by Death Cab for Cutie, Debra Laws, and more.

Photo Credit: Cara Robbins

Jay Som first gained attention with songs she wrote in her bedroom and posted online. Not long after, revered indie label Polyvinyl signed her and her debut album of smart lyrics and pop hooks called “Everybody Works,” comes out on March 10.

Here she is to spin music for a Halloween party in Spring… because why not?


Andy Shauf – “To You”

My first song that I’m playing at this dinner party is called “To You” by Andy Shauf. He writes all his own music. It’s kind of like Elliot Smith. Starts off with just a simple, old acoustic guitar and drums and his beautiful voice.

There’s this moment. I feel like I know the timestamp. It’s like, two minutes and 10 seconds, where there’s just this gorgeous, weird, dissonant chord with his voice that he does. It is one of my favorite musical moments that I’ve ever heard in a long time.

My dinner party, it’s Halloween themed. Everyone has costumes on. Maybe this is in a basement, and maybe we have a fog machine, too. As this song is playing, no one is talking. Absolute silence because we have to pay tribute to this wonderful artist [laughs]. Yeah, this is a weird dinner party.

Death Cab for Cutie – “Title Track”

My second song is “Title Track” by Death Cab for Cutie, and it’s from their album “We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes.”

So, I used to listen to this album and this song in my room, lying down on my bed, probably every day in middle school. And I didn’t completely understand the context of the album and what Ben Gibbard, the lead singer, was talking about.

This song is probably about a one-night stand. Sorry if that’s inappropriate, but it definitely is about a one-night stand. Oh, my gosh. My mom would open my door, and then she’d just look at me, and she’d say, “Why is this music so sad?” And then she’d close the door, but she was very supportive of my emo music.

Debra Laws – “Very Special”

So at this Halloween party, “Title Track” by Death Cab for Cutie just ended, and people are feeling a little antsy and they’re feeling a little depressed. And then I go over to the fog machine, I turn it up a bit, and then I also turn off the lights and put on the disco ball, and “Very Special” by Debra Laws turns on. And, at this point, everyone’s like, “Whoa, I love this song!”

The opening line, “All my life I look for you/And my dreams are very special,” it’s like, “I’m yearning for you.” It’s just very beautiful. There’s a saxophone in there. It gets pretty sexy.

The male vocalist on that is, actually, her brother, Ronnie Laws. Yeah, I don’t think I could do that with my brother, though, if I ever had a duet with him. Absolutely not. Maybe he was just there, and he was around, and she said, “Hey, Ronnie, want to sing on this song?” And, you know what, that actually makes so much sense, why they sound so good together. They have very similar voices.

Jay Som – “Baybee”

As the Debra Laws song, “Very Special,” ends, people are in the mood. You know, the disco ball is shining. The lights are going crazy. And my new track called “Baybee” turns on, and people start dancing because you have to shake the booty for this song.

Basically, at around 3:00 a.m., people are tired from dancing because my song, “Baybee,” has been on repeat, probably 30 times. And I am by the door high-fiving everyone as they leave. And maybe I walk them to their cars, or I walk them to public transportation and make sure that they’re safe.