Interview with iconic American-Korean techno producer Juheun

2 years ago
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Interview Juhean

Following slew of impressive career releases on the likes of Octopus Recordings and Set About over the past few years, iconic American-Korean techno producer Juheun now announces his long awaited debut on Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou Records, with the unveiling of his remarkable new extended player, Instant Communication.

Juheun – Instant Communication is out now via Kuukou Records 

Landing on the esteemed German imprint for his first full-length EP of 2022, the exquisite three-part package represents an incredible showcase in dark, driving techno from the in-form producer and comes complete with two diverse remixes from I AM BAM and Melody’s Enemy. 

Hey Juheun, great to chat! How has 2022 been for you so far? Are you feeling optimistic about the year ahead?

Hey guys! Thanks for linking up with me! Things are good considering. Just staying positive and hoping to see some resolution soon with what’s happening on the other side of the world. I’ve been lucky to be able to continue to stay focused on my music and things are progressing.

Tell us about your new release Instant Communication – how, why and when did you link with Simina and the Kuukou crew?

I’m super hyped for this next release! “Instant Communication” continues to play off of my sci-fi and cinematic techno vibes. The EP comes packed with remixes from my guys Melody’s Enemy and IAMBAM. I’m extra excited since it’s my first release of the year.

Simina actually did a killer remix for my last release on Set About for my tune “M87”. At the time she was working on it, we were going back and forth about the track. She was really digging my vibe and wanted to hear more. I ended up sending her a snippet of “Instant Communication” and the next week she asked if it had a home yet. The rest is history lol.

What inspired or influenced it, where and when and who was it written for?

The track originally didn’t have the vocal at the drop and I was searching for something to fill that gap early on in the process while I was in the lab working on it. It wasn’t until I was on my couch watching TV and I was watching some commercial that had a snippet from this old TV show called “Drag Net” that used to be on during the 60s and 70s. It was a tv series about two police detectives. Anyway, I heard the main character of the show say “push a few buttons and instant communication” and I instantly knew that’s what my song needed lol. I’m not exactly sure but I believe he was referring to some kind of walkie talkie or radio device. I ended up waiting for the commercial to come back on and recorded it into my iPhone.

We’re loving both the remixes from I AM BAM and Melody’s Enemy. How did you connect with each of them?

Originally linked up with both of them through the label (Octopus Recordings). Come to think of it, Melody’s Enemy I met while playing a game of Call Of Duty with Sian. At the time we were doing a lot of live twitch streaming stuff with the label. Playing COD live online was one of the things we started doing with other artists on the label. Was a great way to link up with our fans and kinda hang out with them in the virtual world. We were online playing a round and Sian mentions he’s got Melody’s Enemy joining in a few. We ended up crushing a few rounds, and that turned into more regular matches where we would chop it up and talk music and production while playing.

I’ve been a fan of IAMBAM through the music he was putting out on the label. We communicated a few times on email regarding some of his release stuff etc. It wasn’t until recently we linked up on this remix. I’ve always wanted to get his raw grungy take on my music, and this was the perfect track to do that.

What gear do you use currently to make music? Do you use lots of hardware to create your sound?

I use a bit of a hybrid setup for my production. My projects usually start on my laptop where I have a stripped down version of Ableton Live running. It’s the full suite, but I only have a few third party plugins that are mostly there for my Live Setup when I’m performing my own songs. When I’m in production mode on my laptop, I mostly use all stock plugins from Ableton, EQs, compressors, effects, and VSTs. I feel like it helps me just focus on the creative process since I’m not sitting here with a million knobs and faders and blinking lights that you might find on third party stuff. I’m usually posted up on my couch during this early part of the process, in between some gaming on the PS5. Usually once I get an idea down, I’ll reach a point where I feel like its time to take it into the studio and that’s where all my other toys are at.

I’m currently in the process of wiring up an analog summing setup, so I have all my analog synths and drum machines running into Ableton on their own dedicated channels through the Antelope Orion 32+ interface using Dsub. I’ve never been a fan of having to plug and unplug cables to use certain pieces of gear. It’s always such a wall and buzz kill during the creative process. So having a setup like this is perfect. I just want to be able to walk up, turn it on, start playing around and record without having to think about wiring, signal flow etc. I like analog gear cause it’s more hands on and it’s just a different vibe all together. Outside of the analog gear, everything else is in the box, at least until I finish setting up the summing setup soon. My main drums all come from the Native Instruments Maschine and my kicks come from either a kick synth or a kick sample. I like to layer kicks, so often times you’ll see me do a combo of both. Some of my favorite VSTs include Diva, Sylenth, Trilian and of course Maschine.

Where do you feeling your best environment as a DJ is? A small dark club or a big outdoor festival stage?

I don’t mind playing either, but if I had a choice I defiantly would go with the dark sweaty club or warehouse. As much as I love playing bigger events, sometimes I feel like the smaller ones have a more refined audience since its not a bunch of mixed genres on multiple stages. I also feed off of the energy of the dance-floor, so the closer I am, the more I’m vibing with the energy from everyone dancing and my sets have a bit more of a different feeling. The intimacy and the vibes of a packed nightclub just hit a bit different.

How do you work when creating music, do you have an idea in your head you work towards or do you just experiment and jam and see what happens?

Usually it’s just jamming and playing around with different synths and effects. One of my favorite things to do is actually taking my synths and analog gear out of the studio and setting them up in my living room, or taking a small piece of gear to the coffee shop. Just changing the environment I’m in and focusing on just one single piece of gear and recording interesting bits to use. When I’m in the DAW, I’ve got a basic idea and backbone I always start with and that’s usually kick and bass and then I go straight into the drums. Everything else just kinda finds it’s place from there.

Do you make the tunes you want to play in your own sets, is there a direct link like that?

This is a tough question to answer lol. Sometimes I feel like I do, but then sometimes I don’t. I guess it depends on the track itself. I’m never going into the studio with the idea that I’m about to make something that I’m gonna drop in my set, it’s more of trying to put myself in the listeners ear. Imagining when and where and what kind of mood and vibe instead of thinking of being behind the decks in front of a crowd. 

Are you concerned with your environmental impact as a DJ, and what can you do about it if so?

As a DJ I think being vocal and using your voice to help make change is important. Outside of this, I personally try and be mindful of this as much as possible wherever I can. I think its very important to do your part. Everyone is responsible for our own footprint and until people are more self aware of how their daily activities and routines can help or further hurt our environment we won’t see change. Just talking about the issues without action is only going to keep us running in circles . 

What else have you got coming up in 2022 that you can tell us about? 

I’m hoping to get back on the road again soon. I’d like to do more international gigs and also finish my new live set and tour with that as well. I’ve got a bunch of new music on the horizon, so be sure to keep your ears out for that. 

Instagram Juheun

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