DJ, producer and musician Juls just played his Boiler Room set in London’s Burgess Park last week and if you weren’t there, you missed out big time. But don’t worry, he’s got a few more in the pipeline. Owner of a Producer of the Year award from the Ghana Music Awards UK and a pioneer and icon in the Afrobeats circle, Juls has been on a roll since his 2012 hit Feel Alright. Since then, we’ve seen collabs with the likes of Mr Eazi and Burna Boy, as well as a rollout this year of singles like Terrified and Nanny Riddim. Today, we chatted with Juls about his Boiler Room set, his creative process and what he’s currently working on.
Hey Juls ! How’s it going man? What have you been up to today?
All is well, feeling blessed. Hay fever is killing me right now but all is good.
You’re practically a Boiler Room artist in residence at this point, having done a session during lockdown, one in Amsterdam and most recently, taken the stage in London. What about Boiler Room keeps you going back to them?
I think maybe it’s them coming back to me lol. But they shown me a lot of love from the beginning. It’s an offer I can’t refuse. I have a few more in me that I’d love to curate.
Tell us about your open-air main stage London experience. Was it as sick as it looked like on videos?
I haven’t seen any videos of my set from Boiler Room but my memories lie with the crowd reaction and the feeling that day. Every single DJ there went crazy. I had to channel in a different energy that I usually do and have fun.
How do you prepare for a Boiler room set? Do you know which tracks you’re going to be playing beforehand or do you just freestyle it in the moment?
I never prepare for a set. I just pree the crowd and make a decision probably 10 minutes before I go on. I like to come an hour early before my sets to check the vibes. But mostly I just freestyle.
What does a typical day of music making look like for you? Are you the type to hit up the studio first thing in the morning or the type to get struck with inspiration at 3AM and open up your laptop?
I use Logic, FL and record a lot of stuff live. My studio is 15 minutes away from me so as soon as an idea hits me, I record voice notes and run to the studio to lay ideas down before I forget.
Speaking of inspirations, what are some of your musical inspirations?
J Dilla and Kanye West. They are the reason I started making beats and music.
You once compared your music to a “United Nations Conference” for its international inspirations that span from Ghana to Nigeria, America to Indonesia. How do you explain this multi-cultural interest in music?
I think it’s what I’ve been exposed to growing up and reading up on different cultures and sounds. My findings have taught me that a lot of music is connected culturally. Strong ties with Jamaica and Ghana , Brazil and Nigeria. And I love to blend. It brings unity in diversity.
I have to ask about your “Juls baby” producer tag. How did you come up with that?
My mum called me that as a baby.
Not only are you a DJ making your own music, but you also produce beats for others, including Mr Eazi and Burna Boy. How do you know when a track is right for yourself or for another artist? Do you usually get into the beat-making process with a specific artist in mind?
Sometimes I do. Sometimes the beat I even play might not be the one I think they will like. My diversity helps as well and I’m able to persuade a few acts to try new things and sounds.
This year, you’ve released a series of singles including Terrified, Nanny Riddim and Tabom Riddim, which all have a slow cadence to them – at least during some points of the songs – while still keeping that glimpse of energy. Are these songs independent from each other or all part of a bigger upcoming project? The cover art is looking pretty similar too…
Hmmm let’s wait and see. Something special is coming.
Tell us, what have you got in the pipeline for your listeners this year?
New album, live show, film. It’s going to be an exciting time.
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