Exclusive Interview: Jauz talks ‘Dangerous Waters’, plans for 2020 and more
Known as one of the leaders of the modern electronic scene, Sam Vogel has built a colossal fanbase based on years of top level productions. Jauz, as he is more commonly referred to, sits on a discography full of bangers built over numerous years, since he erupted onto the scene in 2013. A true bass music connoisseur, Jauz has had monumental achievements which have helped to boost his career over the years, and has lead him to collaborating with the likes of Skrillex, Marshmello, Tiësto with countless more who he can call his friends. To kickstart the year, Jauz released his ‘Dangerous Waters‘ EP and has already proven that 2020 is his year. To get more insight into his plans for the year and more, We Rave You caught up with Jauz amidst his hectic tour schedule.
So you’ve just released your new EP Dangerous Waters, what was the creation process like and how did all the collaborations happen?
Honestly, it was really like a lot of songs that I just had kinda been working on for a while and, you know, we knew that we had the tour coming up and I always try to put together a package before a big tour like this, and I just saw that there were five songs that were really cohesive and felt right together and it felt like the right songs for the tour and felt like the right way to start off the year. It all just kinda fell into place really quick, it wasn’t one of those things where like it took me a long time to complete any of the songs, they were all kinda already happening and I was just like “oh! why don’t we just put all these together?” and it was just like boom. It was almost like the artists picked me I guess. It was just artists that i’m a fan of, that i’ve wanted to work on songs with for a while and we just ended up trading projects back and forth or being in the studio and we had an idea started anyway, and I just went back and was like you know what this one is almost ready to go, and obviously i’m working on a million projects at a time but it was more just going through all of those and figuring out how to curate the specific vibe and energy to the EP I wanted, and all of those songs happen to just fit the bill. Frankie Nuts, Nonsens, Tynan and Jump System are all artists – Jump System are obviously newer than the rest – that i’ve either wanted to work with on the label, or have already put out music on the label, or that I’ve been a fan of that i’ve wanted to work on music with. So yeah i’m super stoked on it and i’m really happy that I got to work with all those guys.
Ahead of your ‘Dangerous Waters’ tour, you held a virtual concert. What was that experience like and how different did it feel to a regular show?
Very, very different. I mean my dog got to sit in the room whilst I did the virtual concert. Yeah, it was really close to when I left for tour so my wife came with. We realised that it was going to be in an office and not at a concert venue and I think there was like ten people there. I was like you know what? I’m bringing the dog, never seen me perform and my wife was sitting there dancing with my dog the whole time which was pretty cute. It was definitely weird, I mean first off I had to have a motion capture suit on which is not as uncomfortable as it used to be, it’s not like those green suits with those giant white balls on it anymore. It’s advanced since then but it’s really really tight so that’s different, and then instead of looking to the crowd i’m looking at a wall and a TV, and the TV shows me the virtual fans but it was definitely not like, you don’t get that same energy from the room and you don’t hear the music slapping back at you. It took some getting used to but it was a really fun experience and I think everyone was really stoked on it. I think there was definitely something there. I would always rather be on the cutting edge of things and i’d always rather do something new than the same old sh*t that everyone’s been doing and I think we’ll definitely do more with the Wave guys for sure.
You’re playing back to back sets with artists like NGHTMRE and Oliver Heldens at some of the biggest festivals this year, what can fans expect from those sets and how do you plan them with the artists?
My goal when I do back to back sets like that is, I try my best to make it stuff that you couldn’t get from just a normal Jauz set but then also I obviously try to play enough of my songs so that it doesn’t just feel like it’s not a Jauz set if that makes sense. I think it’s a cool experience when you do a back to back like to do be able to branch out and do things that you wouldn’t normally do. I mean, me and NGHTMRE jump up there or me and Oliver Heldens jump up there and I just play a bunch of my songs and they just play their songs like, what’s the point you know? Then we’re basically just splitting a set down the middle and it should be more of a collaborative thing instead of like “here, i’m going to try to play my music and get people excited and then you play your music and get people excited”, you know who’s music are they most excited about? I’d rather be like, we come together and make something that feels really cool. I think a great example of that is whenever i’ve done back to back sets with Holy Goof and the Zeds Dead guys actually. We go pretty far off what our normal bread and butter is and try to do stuff that’s really cool and different, so yeah.
What is your typical creation process like when starting to create a new track?
Your guess is good as mine. I don’t even know. I don’t have a structure at all, I’m quite the opposite. I could wake up one day and it’s like there’s a song that I want to remix a vocal sample of that I have that inspired me, or I could just have an idea lying around that’s in my head, or maybe I don’t have any ideas at all. I’ll have a million little loops or song ideas that I created that are like five seconds long then I’ll just go through one of those and be like “oh I forgot about that thing, that’s actually a really cool idea” but no, I definitely try not to have a structure or regimen that I follow because I feel like that’s how you make the music feel regimented you know?
So you have a streaming series called Demo Roulette, how did you come up with the idea to start it and can you tell us a bit more about it?
What I wanted to do is I wanted to get myself involved in the streaming world because i’ve been a big gamer, almost as big as a gamer and gaming nerd than I have been a music nerd my whole life and so i’ve always really loved the live streaming world and that aspect and wanted to be involved in it, but i realised that it would make more sense for me to get involved with something like Twitch but the music side because why would people want to come see me, a musician, play video games that i’m not that good at when I could just do something that I guess people think i’m good at? I wouldn’t necessarily say that I think i’m good at it, but you know. So then when I realised okay, i’ll get into it with music, I tried to think about when I grew up, it was all about YouTube tutorials, that’s how i learned a lot of stuff about music production, so I tried to figure out what I would have wanted to see when I was 14-15 years old starting to learn how to make music on a computer. Also, in that what hasn’t already been done, and I’ve never really seen anything like Demo Roulette, and just to give you a brief synopsis on it, it’s basically where fans of mine can submit their Ableton projects that they’ve been working on, – it doesn’t matter if they’ve just started producing or if they’ve been producing forever – and they’ll submit it to this link and I go on live stream and I just put a random number generator up and whatever number it lands on, whatever number submission that is, I just open that up – the project for that day – and i’ve never heard it before, I don’t know the person and I just completely randomly go into it and just try to make the song better. Then I send it back to them, no questions asked I’ve got a lot of questions like “oh, does anyone who submits it who puts the song out, does it have to come out through your label where you can get a percentage?”, that’s not the point of it. The point of it is jut a purely educational thing and just because I like doing it.
It’s definitely a unique concept!
Yeah! It’s an easy enough concept, it was a little bit harder to to figure out than I thought it was going to be but it’s been really cool, it’s a been a lot of fun.
Bringing it back to the sets, how does it feel to be playing circuitGROUNDS at EDC Las Vegas this year?
I am very excited. It’s always been one of my favourite stages every single year, and i’ve never gotten to play it and I always get to see all my friends play it and i’ve always been so jealous so i’m really really really excited. I mean, we did circuitGROUNDS at EDC Orlando this year which was cool don’t get me wrong, but it’s not exactly the same and the EDC circuitGROUNDS is a really spectacular stage and the coolest part about it is that is the stage where they really let you do your thing as an artist as far as the production goes. You’re able to really be creative and you’re able to really like, kinda like I have a team on this tour and we really get to curate it like a super super detailed show that has so much thought put into it, we can do the same thing at EDC on circuitGROUNDS so I’m really excited about that.
What goals do you want to achieve within your career during 2020?
Oh god, I don’t know. It already feels like 2020 is over, we should probably talk about my goals for 2025, time moves so fast. Yeah, I don’t even know. I mean, I don’t know we have a ton of music planned for the rest of the year. I’m always writing new stuff and the goal is always to just kind of continue breaking the mold and doing stuff that people probably wouldn’t expect me to do, it’s always been the goal with Jauz and the mantra has always been ‘music has no boundaries’. I feel like it fluctuates sometimes where like there are like moments in time where i’ll put out a lot of music that kinda feels like quote on quote ‘standard Jauz’, and then there’s times like ‘The Wise and the Wicked’ where I put out a million different kind of things and it’s all over the place. That’s really where I feel where the project shines, is when i’m constantly doing stuff that people are trying to guess what I am, they can’t put me in a box. If they try to put me under one genre, they can’t. That’s always where i’ve felt the most comfortable is being uncomfortable.
What sort of plans do you have for your label Bite This?
So the way that my plans for the label is that it’s kinda the same way that I ran the Jauz project at the beginning which is that I just want to organically put out music that I believe in, that I like, that I think is cool, and artists that I believe in that I think are cool, it doesn’t matter if they’re huge or if they’re small. We already have releases for 2020 for the label into August I think, so we’re moving ahead at full speed now. My goal, you know, I don’t want the label to move faster than it needs to, I don’t have extra lofty goals for the label that I don’t think we can attain. That was my whole thing with the Jauz project, I just want to put out cool music that I believed in and if anything worked out, it worked out, and not if didn’t. We didn’t try to make ‘Feel the Volume’ or ‘Rock the Party’ blow up overnight, that stuff was for lack of a better word a mistake if that makes sense. It didn’t mean to happen, but i’m very glad it did! My goal wasn’t, you know, “I’m going to put out some X Y Z song and it’s going to make me blow up a million times faster”, I’ve always been more of the mindset which is taking small steps forward continually and gradually because i’m here for the longevity.
Can you give us any hints towards new music or new projects that you’re working on right now?
We’re actually working on the release plan for my first single of the year which should be out, I mean I don’t know probably pretty soon, is still February? Hahaha. I don’t know anything anymore. I would think that our first single of the year will be out in a couple of weeks, it’s really up to me honestly just to get everything done you know, being on tour you know. We have a lot of music planned for this year and it’s really all over the place, and also to be fair I did put out a five-track EP this year which I literally thought was last year so i’ve been freaking out like I haven’t put out any new music this year but I have. So, there’s stuff like that that kinda feels like quote on quote ‘Jauz’ and then i’m definitely going to be developing the ‘off the deep end’ kinda brand more this year. I’ll be developing I guess what I would like to call the opposite of the ‘off the deep end’ brand as far as Jauz is concerned like the wicked sets that i’ve done and will do in the future and also that side of the label as well. Also there’s actually quite a bit of other music that doesn’t really fit in any of those categories that i’ve talked about before that’ll really feel like new territory for me that i’m really excited about.