Palms Trax is the stage moniker of English producer and DJ Jay Donaldson. Now based in Berlin, Germany, Donaldson always had an inclination for music. He cites his parents as “creative people” who always inflated his inspirations. Born in Saltford, UK in the early 90’s, he initially played jazz piano and had a stint in a Metallica cover band. He went on to pursue sound engineering in university. But as his interest in dance music and production grew, his coursework didn’t resonate as much. “I just wanted to make a dubstep wobble base, and they were trying to show me how I would mic up a drum kit for Nickelback,” he told Beatportal.
Already a musical aficionado, he had previously developed skills in Logic Pro (macOS’s MIDI sequencer and audio workstation) during his lunch hours at school. During an internship at the iconic London vinyl shop Phonica, Donaldson discovered classic house and Detroit techno. The simple elegance and punk nature of classic house caught his ear. He eventually relocated to Berlin and began pursuing his DJ career full time.
His first official release, the Equation EP, was distributed by London’s label Lobster Theremin in 2013. The title track gained massive traction. With an old-school house feel, “Equation” began to dominate underground dance floors throughout the UK. The album was enough to catch the attention of Dekmantel, the Amsterdam-based events company and record label. Palms Trax joined their roster of artists and released three EPs with them.
Nowadays, thanks to his timeless sound, he’s gained a global following and a busy performance schedule. His monthly radio show, ‘Cooking with Palms Trax’, has been broadcast since 2015. The quarterly showcase was still running strong on NTS Radio at the end of 2021. The show is an insightful look into Donaldson’s influences: from dub and reggae, to West African funk, house and techno: the Palms Trax sound is uniquely funky and full of soul.