Hailing from the stark and unyielding deserts of the southwestern United States, Arizona-based techno artist, Juheun, has emerged from the dust as one of the most exciting talents to break onto the American techno circuit over the past few years.
Following the huge international success of his immense four-part Acceleration EP on Octopus Recordings back in 2016, the hotly-tipped producer has become a regular fixture on the esteemed LA-based ever since, consistently pushing boundaries with his unique brand of mind-bending techno and unrelenting, avant-garde soundscapes.
A permanent resident for Octopus’ hugely successful on-going Twitch livestreaming programme, and with numerous critically-acclaimed releases clocked on the label since signing five years ago, Juheun recently unveiled one of the biggest releases of his career to date, dropping a huge official remix for Dusty Kid’s iconic 2007 hit-record, Constant Rising. We caught up with the man himself during a recent trip to NYC to find out more.
Hello Juheun, and a very warm welcome to We Own The Nite!
Great to be here, thanks for having me!
Please can you introduce yourself quickly to our WOTN readers?
I’m a U.S. based Techno producer and DJ signed to Octopus Recordings.
How has 2021 been treating you so far? Any particular highlights?
2021 has been a pretty busy year for me considering everything going on. We managed to jump in the streaming game during the lockdown last year and have been focused on that as well as the usual schedule of releases and spending time in the studio.
It’s great timing we were able link up while I’m out here in NY for some much needed time off. I had the pleasure of enjoying the city all week, just had dinner with Black Asteroid and joined him for his show in Brooklyn last night. He recently did a killer remix for my track ‘Spacetime’.
After this I’m headed back to the studio for a couple weeks before getting ready to play our first Octopus warehouse party with the 6AM/Synthetik Mind crew in Los Angeles, then off to Public Works in San Francisco the day after. It’s nice to get back on the road since being cooped up so long.
We see from your socials that you’ve played a few shows over the past couple of months. What’s it like being back behind the decks (and in front of a crowd) after such a long hiatus?
I was recently invited to play a show with Dubfire at Shady Park in Tempe, Arizona. Was my first real show back after being mainly online for the past year streaming live on Twitch. It’s definitely been an interesting shift going back in front of a live in person audience. I think actually going from a live audience to an online virtual audience at the start of the pandemic was even more of an interesting switch. After playing in live venues and clubs for so long and having to shift to basically playing in front of a bunch of cameras with no real immediate feedback was strange at first. It wasn’t until we really decided to dive deep into the Twitch culture trying to get as close to instant feedback & reaction by doing things like dedicating a monitor screen so we could read the chat in real time and using a microphone to chat back to the viewers that I really felt more of a closer connection to the fans/viewers. To be completely honest, at the start… I was really anti-microphone and having to do so much interaction, I felt that I need to just let the music speak for itself. I quickly realized this wasn’t gonna fly and communities like Twitch really rely on live interaction. I’ve always been about staying off the microphone and just letting the music play especially in a live situation like a club. We had to switch our whole thought process and outlook on things and realized these things we disliked in real life were actually critical parts of the Twitch culture. People love being able to interact live with you, whether that’s asking what the track ID is, or just random questions all add to the vibe of your channel. It’s what makes you unique for people to want to return and support your channel.
Moving on to your recent releases — we’re loving your remix for Dusty Kid – Constant Rising on Octopus Recordings. Can you talk to us about the record and the creative process behind it?
This remix is a special one for me as I’ve been a big fan of Dusty Kid for many years and always just assumed that one day I’ll check that off the bucket list. It was kinda surreal when I was originally asked if I was interested in doing the remix. I still don’t think it’s fully set in yet lol. The remix came together really fast. I jumped into it as soon as I got the stems. I knew I had to keep the integrity of the original while still giving my take and delivering a thumping version. The best tracks come together quick, and with this one it was no exception. The original record starts off with this really dope electro bass synth that I knew instantly had to be the feature on my take. So I basically built the whole remix around that small bit. If you have been following my music then you know I had to get live with the drums, so I took a percussive snare/clap pattern in the original and kept that same rhythm with one of my samples and used it as another throw-back element to the original. I’m really satisfied at how it turned out and I hope your readers feel the same.
Was it intimidating reworking such a legendary record?
At first when I was asked I had a little bit of anxiety especially when I went back to listen to the original before even getting the stems and parts knowing I was about to remix it. I remember sitting in my car one night listening to the original on Spotify and thinking “damn…”
We hear you’re super into your studio gear. What are your favourite pieces of tech kit right now?
My all time favorite piece of gear I can’t live without is the Native Instruments Maschine drum machine. When I first started producing in the box, I made everything including the drums within the DAW. It wasn’t until I got my hands on the original Maschine that I truly felt like I was actually physically making music rather than just clicking on a mouse. It’s come a long way since that OG version, and with all the new developments and additions you almost don’t even need anything else, even for elements other than drums. Being able to load up one of the NI VSTs like Massive or Monark and adding all the NI plugins and FX turns this thing into so much more than just a drum machine. Being able to trigger synth stabs and hits using the drum pads and sequencer really helps keep things fresh and inspiring.
Top 5 favourite non-dance music records you love to listen to at home right now?
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Nas – Affirmative Action
Tribe Called Quest – Stressed Out (Feat. Faith Evans)
Da Baby – BOP
Wu-Tang – Triumph (Feat. Cappadonna)
What do you have coming up over the rest of the year that you can tell us about (gigs, releases, other projects etc)?
Outside of the usual studio sessions, gigs are starting to pick back up again. I’ve also got a couple more releases lined up before the end of the year with some killer remixers on deck. Can’t wait to announce more info about those soon. I’m also making plans to get behind the controls of my live setup again after this nice break I’ve had from it. I’ve got a bunch of new material to add to it and been playing around with some new bits of gear I’ll be adding and swapping out.
Do you have any final words for our WOTN readers?
Shouts to everyone who took the time to check out this interview and hope you enjoy my music if you haven’t already been blasting it. Hope to see you at the next show!