I was always a music listener, but I never thought about playing an instrument. Some 18 years ago, my cousin started playing drums and left me a Metallica cassette tape after a summer visit. The album was Re-Load and it sounded horrific when I listened to it the first time. However, after a few months, I started digging it more and more to a point where I convinced my mom to buy me the Cunning Stunts VHS tape. Watching that video sparked a flame in me that is still alive today. I played air guitar and learned all the words – badly, I might add – by watching the tape every single day after school. It was just something so cool and different it made me want to make music somehow. I wanted to play something, guitar, bass, drums or just sing. Long story short, singing didn’t work out (lol), so I ended up playing the guitar. I was the worst guitarist and wanted to give up several times, but somehow I ground through all that and here I am today.
My name is Jovan Kosta Vučetić, or Jay Kay for short. I am a musician and an IT professional – in that exact order. Currently, I am working for a leading fleet management and telematics company as a technical support analyst. I’ve always loved computers, games, and technology. I decided to do something where I would both feel challenged and comfortable at the same time which led me to start a career in the IT industry. I am originally from Zagreb, Croatia, but I moved to Galway in Ireland 2 years ago. My girlfriend, our cat Ponyo, and I are now a happy little family in Galway.
I’ve been in situations where I was able to play guitar and create music day and night. This was, of course, before I got a full-time job. I still really miss those times, even though this has been almost ten years ago. Now it’s much harder to balance my music with every day “grown-up” responsibilities. But I try to adjust to every situation as best as possible. I really love playing drums, but I have no place to practice so I suck compared to a real drummer. However, my knowledge of drum beats and drums is vast, so I can program the hell out of the drums on my PC. That being said, I stick to guitar and bass mostly since I can practice at home anytime. Music has always been fun, but I am trying to make it a part of my working life as well. I hope one day it can turn into my full-time job – be it a songwriter, producer, or just a session musician. I try to use any chance I get to work on and listen to music.
I love playing metal, but I enjoy anything and everything – from hip-hop and rap to electronic music and blues. So I will jam to a hip-hop track with a guitar or program some drums and keys for an electronic track often as well. In the last few years, I started listening to movie scores and paying attention to the composition and dynamics. Hans Zimmer is in my top 5 and I love all of his work. The musician I look up to the most is the late and great Dimebag Darrell Abbott of Pantera and Damage Plan. When I saw him play the first time (on video), I had the same reaction as with the Metallica tape. I just thought it sounded gritty and too raw and I didn’t like it. In the end though, I loved it so much I still listen to the Pantera records every week.
I’ve played bass in a band called The Ralph. This band was such an amazing bedroom project and it took off in an instant. I had a blast playing with them! I’ve co-founded two bands – Machine Insufficiency and Subscale. The latter is still active as a project, but Machine Insufficiency has been disbanded since 2008. Machine was my first band and a very intense experience. We toured a lot around Croatia and our neighbouring countries, and we have opened for several big names in the metal scene. At that point, I also played in Mass Hypnosis as a session guitarist. Due to personal reasons, the band (Machine Insufficiency) had to part ways with the drummer and we never found an adequate replacement, so we decided to call it quits. That was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. What followed was a very difficult time period for me and was in a very volatile and depressive state. I missed the rehearsals and the energy I felt playing with them – it left a massive hole in my heart. My creativity had no outlet and I felt completely lost and empty. I just started recording short ideas and riffs at home in my free time. At that point, I had no idea what I was doing and had to learn everything on my own – how to record and use Cubase, and how to program drums and mix everything together to get something somewhat listenable. Soon after, I teamed up with two of my friends to make these ideas into whole songs. We were just having fun and had no real plans with the music we created. We posted some of the song ideas online and got a tremendous response. The community reacted in a very positive way, and that’s how Subscale came to be. We spent every day and every free minute working on the material. We released an EP and two full-length albums within 6 years, and I am very proud of them to this day. Although we don’t play live anymore, we plan to start writing the new record in the next 2-3 years. I can’t wait!
In Subscale and Machine Insufficiency, I’ve written all the songs. Although Machine was my first band, Subscale has been my pet project so to speak. I was very focused on making it as good as possible. From arrangements and production to lyrics – I had creative control over everything. This was possible due to it being a project where I could do whatever I wanted. Mario (co-founder of Subscale) and I spent every free minute on recording and mixing all three releases. I am proud of every note and every word that we put on those records.
My music composition usually just starts with an interesting drum pattern or melody. Most of the songs start with a beat because that’s what makes it interesting to me. Then I compose the melody, chords and other arrangements around it. I write down some lyrics from time to time, but I never create a song from lyrics. I arrange most of the song first and care about lyrics after the basic structure is in place, or even when the song is completely finished. I create a rhythmic pattern for the vocals first and then work out the lyrics. It also depends on the song itself. Some changes might come in after the lyrics and vocals are recorded to fit the song better and vice versa.
My goals with my music have changed over the years a lot, and I guess that’s what happens when life starts kicking you in the ass and you start working. My goal is to create as much music as possible and hope that one day I can turn music into my full-time job. When I was younger, that meant being in a band and touring, but now I am more interested in being in the studio and producing, writing, and collaborating with other people. Currently, I am working on a project called ‘Distance’ with a friend of mine from Croatia, Igor Čeranić. We collaborated on several songs and records in the past, and it’s been fun trying to combine different genres so we teamed up for something new. We just released our first single named ‘Hush’ on 5 October 2018, which you can check out on YouTube (Distance – Hush). I am also working on a YouTube channel where I upload covers and other musical ideas from time to time. I hope it takes off in the future.
Without a doubt, my music has been a benefit to my technological career. I’ve gained a large amount of technical knowledge just by recording and mixing music on my PC. Making music is so interconnected with the tech industry and it constantly evolves and feeds off of it. It is also a great stress reliever. It can take a horrible moment and make it into a precious memory.
My advice to aspiring musicians is to just hang in there don’t give up. It’s so hard to keep at it with all other things happening in life but it’s always rewarding in the end. Even if you are not technically skilled or the best of the best, it’s still so much fun to just jam, create, record, and write – never give up!
To listen to some more of Jovan’s music, check out the following links:
The Ralph – Next in Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBk4wHHS4Rw
Subscale – Metafiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6UEAuMq49A
Machine Insufficiency – The Cutting Edge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzWaYK88AIo