June 18, 2019 | 65° F

ЧAYU’s music creates tranquil feel with unique sound

Photo by Mitch Lacsamana |

Listening to ЧAYU's music is like arriving at a place you can stay and hang out with your friends surrounded by comfy pillows, good conversation and grooves that make everything feel as light as the smoke in the air. 

After spending 15 years in California, multi-instrumentalist, producer and mastermind behind ЧAYU, Danny Boutoussov, has come to make that space in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Spoken in Boutoussov’s native tongue, his moniker originates from the Russian word meaning tea. His name uses the character Ч, pronounced “ch,” in conjunction with English lettering following it, all together pronounced like “chai-you.” The tranquility experienced when sitting and enjoying tea is not only heard in Boutoussov’s music, but it is felt like the warm steam coming off a fresh cup and onto your face as you take a sip.

With his first release “Ribbon Faced,” Boutoussov brews up a distinct style of reggae, hip-hop and jazz-influenced beats adorned with elements of electronica and dubbed instrumentation.

The five-track EP unravels deep sonic textures through samples gathered during his 2016 travels. Shuffling dance floor rhythms, layered guitars and distant melodic tones tell a story of Boutoussov traversing coasts and taking inspiration from looking out of many different windows and at many different skies.

However, Boutoussov has found himself calling New Brunswick home, making music from his bedroom that houses proper recording equipment, a variety of instruments and creative minds willing to hang out and listen to music that is organic and groove-able.

His willingness and openness to share company as easily as he shares music has been a catalyst for Boutoussov’s production and immersive collaborative work with local musicians and friends.

“New Brunswick has given me a comfortable space to collaborate with an open-mind and passionate collection of artists,” Boutoussov commented.

The advantage of being submersed in New Jersey’s vibrant music community has allowed Boutoussov to play live DJ sets at house venues and coffee shops and later opening for Vic Mensa at the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) event Beats on the Banks.

The reggae and jazz leanings of his work tunnel through the twists and bends of synth and wobbling sub-bass lines that move easily under bright drum hits, adding his sound to the growing electronic scene in New Brunswick.

Living his simple, supple lifestyle Boutoussov gathers sounds of samples of instruments from the Navajo flute to deep classical piano to add to his compositions, experimenting and always expanding his musical pallette. And like the hot tea he will prepare and pour before kicking back, ЧAYU music is all about the process and being immersed in it.

Deanna DiLandro

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