Hello Juheun! Happy New Year and thanks very much for your time to talk to us. How are you?
I’m good! Thanks for having me!
Starting from the beginning – who is Juheun?
Well, long story short I’ve been working on this project now for a few years. It started off more as a live set with all my original productions using Ableton live and MIDI controllers. I had been Djing for several years before this, but after signing a few releases to Octopus Recordings I started to develop a live show based around these first releases on the label. I toured with Sian with the live set for a few years doing shows and label parties while continuing to release on the label. I took a bit of a break from the live stuff to focus on the studio and more releases, but currently working on a new live show while continuing to DJ. My artist name comes from my Korean first name. When I was born my parents gave me my first name Steven, but kept my Korean name as my middle name. So I decided to use it as my artist name as kind of an homage to them migrating to America from South Korea right before I was born.
Where are you answering this interview from?
Currently sitting in my studio based out of Phoenix, Arizona USA.
How would you describe your particular brand of techno?
I would say it’s sitting somewhere between big room techno with hints of electro with a modern vibe. Depending on my mood I’ll crank out tracks with more of a raw warehouse feel like my record ‘Trajectory’ and other times I venture closer to more of a sci-fi / cosmic / futuristic vibe while keeping it Techno like my EP Spacetime which by the way has a killer remix from the legendary Black Asteroid.
We’re seriously digging your remix for Dusty Kid – Constant Rising on Octopus. Can you talk us through the record and how it came about?
It was such a pleasure to get the opportunity to do a remix for Dusty Kid. I’ve always been a big fan of all his tracks including his monster tracks that everyone knows like ‘Kollera’ and ‘Kore’ but remixing one of his other classics was even a bigger deal to me. I felt like I had to not only do justice in general remixing such a big artist, but also making sure that the remix itself lived up to the original.
I remember when I first got the stems I was excited and nervous at the same time. I really wanted to try and give my version that same nostalgic vibe I get every time I hear or play one of his tracks. I got to work right away and things just start started to come together. I think the hardest part was trying to take something that already had so much energy and try to give it some more without over doing it. I wanted to keep the originality of the build up from the original and just give it that extra boost while keeping certain parts of the track that really stuck out to me personally.
When I first heard the original record, what hooked me right away was the intro. The original record starts off with this nasty baseline with no kick drum. I knew I had to make that the main feature of my remix and that’s why you hear it at the main build up/drop in my remix. I’m also very fond of drums and drum patterns and there’s this particular snare pattern at the beginning of the original record that I always loved that I just had to pressure in my remix. You can hear that same pattern but with a clap/snare that I used that comes in after the second/main drop of the remix.
The rest of the track has more of a stripped back and driving feeling that’s more familiar to my sound than the funkier vibe of the original. I hope I did justice in everyone’s ears.
How does your creative process start when making a record?
Honestly, I’m usually not even in my studio during the creative process lol. Usually I’m finding myself sitting on my couch and I’ll get an idea, or something will just hit me and I’ll grab my laptop and open Ableton and literally just start drawing out a pattern or recording a melody using the keyboard.
When I’m purposely trying to be creative I like to bring my synths or drum machines out of the studio and just play around with them. Sometimes in my living room, sometimes in the backyard, sometimes sitting at a Coffee shop etc. I find this always leads to something fun and creative that I might have not normally created in the studio setting.
I also like to jump straight into the studio or DAW whenever I get inspired while in the club right after a gig. Soon as I get back to the hotel or get to the airport I jump right on my laptop so I can take advantage of that sudden creative spark.
How would you describe current situation on global electronic scene?
I feel like we are on another wave that is bigger than we have ever seen in the industry. You can literally feel the energy building in the scene no matter where you’re at. Not only are the fans getting really antsy and restless, but everyone including the DJs, Promoters, Venues, etc are all itching to get things swinging again. It’s exciting times. I’ve had the pleasure of playing my first live shows already since lockdown, it’s overwhelming with emotions and so much energy! It’s unreal when you step into the party for the first time since last year. I think global destination parties are going to blow up, everyone is ready to travel and get out there and with the rise of vaccinations it’s only a matter of time before the borders are fully open and tourism gets back to full swing.
I also feel like there’s a shift happening in the industry as the industry was hit hard with the Covid situation, it allowed for many changes to happen behind the scenes. Some good and some bad. I’ve already heard of some DJs and producers leaving the industry for other jobs, venues shutting down etc.. but I’ve also been seeing a rise in some new faces in the scene. This has given a chance for some of us to really focus on working hard during the lockdown not only to stay relevant but also to come out of the gates swinging. I’ve had numerous conversations throughout the lockdown with artists who just aren’t feeling inspired or motivated to do much, and this has allowed some of us to really step up to the plate and use this as an opportunity to step up to the line.
So with all these things happening at the same time, I think we are about to see an explosion of new artists, music, events, etc that will carry us on into the next decade and beyond.
What’s your opinion on the current livestreaming trend among DJs?
I think it’s amazing! I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by innovators like Sian who have been pushing us all to embrace it. This past year of streaming in lockdown has really helped me open my eyes to this whole new world. I mean yeah everyones been streaming here and there on platforms like Facebook, and Instagram etc. leading up to this. However, lately we’ve really been focusing on the community aspect of it and with platforms like Twitch where you have 140 Million monthly viewers/users, you quickly learn that its not just a place to watch live streams at, its a literal community of users like Facebook and other social media platforms. At the start of the pandemic we felt like things were going towards an extended break and we knew we had to move things online sooner than later. We spent a couple months testing the waters with Twitch and experimenting on other platforms etc… but nowhere else did we see such a strong community vibe like Twitch had. So we decided to go all in and focus most of our attention to creating the new Octopus Twitch channel with a weekly/daily rotation of music and DJs. Now we are streaming 6 nights a week with a solid community of viewers that keeps growing each day. It’s pretty mind blowing to see it all come together. We see it as the future, maybe not to the point where real life in person events stop and streaming takes over, but it’s definitely going to become another avenue and resource to expose our music to new fans and listeners. I think it’s starting to become more than just a trend and the sooner you can get on the train, the better. It’s only going to become more and more important to have such a strong online presence and support community as technology gets better and better.
What does the term ‘underground’ mean to you?
For me it’s always been a vibe. I think the word “underground” is commonly misused to describe mainstream vs independent artists, music, and labels. “Oh he’s or she’s not underground enough cause they play or makes this certain type of music or plays those parties” etc. I think you can totally still be “Underground” and be able to speak to the masses. At one point this was all “underground” music. When I hear a record its gonna make me feel a certain way, when I’m at a warehouse party its gonna make me feel a certain way, so if that vibe feels “underground” to me then it’s Underground. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this other than when its being used to describe the lack there of, certain level of exposure or success which I feel is very toxic and counter productive. “Oh he sold out, he’s not underground anymore”. Like yo, stop being so elitist and just enjoy the music!
Are you planning some other new music and projects soon?
Yes! Ive been working on a few projects that I originally started at the beginning of 2020. At the time the pandemic wasn’t even a thought and I usually take a few weeks off right after the new year to focus completely on the studio so I have loads of material to work on through out the upcoming year. When the lockdown hit, it was kinda good timing for me in the sense that I had all these projects I had started that just needed time to finish. A couple of them have already been scheduled for release later this year with some killer remixes as well. Can’t wait to announce them soon!
As I mentioned earlier I’m also currently working on a revamped version of my live setup/show. I’ve been working on it and tweaking it during the lockdown with all the extra time. Things are coming together nicely and I hope to be ready to take it on the road soon!
What are your top 3 techno tracks at the moment?
- We Could Be (Ghost Dance Remix) Sian
- Race For Space (Original Mix) Indira Paganotto, Heerhorst
- Ecstasy Hoes Feat. Christian Leonardi (Original Mix) Ezekiel (DE)
How do you like to relax when you’re not making music?
Whenever I get the chance to disconnect from the music, I like to paint and draw. I’ve always had a passion for drawing and painting first before music. Even though in my mind they are both just different forms of Art. My parents used to say I was born with a pencil in my hand. I originally had intentions to attend art and film school before the DJ bug took a bite lol. All through grade school my main focus was in drawing and painting that eventually lead to my love of graffiti. Growing up, hip hop was a big thing so it was natural to get into graffiti and break dancing and the likes. So now I kinda use painting as a way to step away from the music and the digital/electronic aspects of that specific form of art, and literally go analog with a pencil, paint brush, and spray can. You’re really forcing yourself to use different parts of your brain while still being creative and free to do what you want. Sometimes I feel like my paintings allow me to be even more free with it than my music, which I guess is a good thing to let me have an outlet like that. Sometimes you can get really caught up in the music side of things, so its perfect way to disconnect.
I’m also really into Japanese import cars. Yeah the fast and furious kind lol. I remember once saying that If DJing could take me to Japan one day, I can die a happy man lol. I grew up in a city where street racing was a big part of growing up. We had a major street that everyone knew was designated as the “cruising strip” so every weekend you would be out washing your car and burning gas going up and down this long stretch of road waiting for the next race. We were living the “Fast and Furious” life before it was a movie lol. My love for cars has stayed with me all these years and I just cant shake it. I’ve had a couple really nice Honda civics that were fast as shit, sold them both and regret doing that so much that Im currently collecting parts for a 3rd Honda Civic build. It’s an obsession just like my DJing.
Do you have any final words for our Only Techno readers?
Just want to say thanks for helping to support the culture and community around Techno, everyone! I wouldn’t be here doing this interview if it wasn’t for you guys! Thank you all and a happy New Year!
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