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Interview with Juheun

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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 slew of impressive career releases on Octopus and Set About over the past few years, the iconic American-Korean techno producer’s latest release saw him make his long awaited debut on Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou Records, with the remarkable Instant Communication EP.
 
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. We caught up with him to find out more!
 
Hey Steven, thanks very much for speaking to me today. Can you start by telling us a little about your experience and background? Where are you from / how did you get into music? 
 
Thanks for having me today, excited to be here! 
 
Sure! I grew up in a small town called Albuquerque New Mexico. I guess its not so small now since its become famous now from the TV series Breaking Bad lol. Music started at an early age for me as I was enrolled into classical piano lessons at an early age. I grew up in a very musically inclined house hold. Both my mother and father were really into music in general and loved singing and dancing. My dad took me to my first concerts and exposed me to my first vinyl record. Actually as of more recently I found out my father was actually a DJ in a local coffee shop in Korea when he was still living there before immigrating to America. That was a huge surprise for me as none of that information was ever told to me when I was growing up. I’m assuming they kept the secret as their aspirations were for me to become a lawyer or doctor. It wasn’t until early on in my career did this information slip out lol. 
 
 
How would you define your sound today?
 
I’ve been mainly focused on writing music that takes the listener to another planet or galaxy. I love all things science, space and technology, and when it comes to my music you can hear a lot of this influence in it. When I’m sitting in the studio working, I always try to picture myself traveling through space and time. Almost as if I’m writing a sound track to space travel. Sometimes I picture what kind of music people would be listening to when entering and exiting a planets atmosphere, or what kind of music would be considered during an alien invasion or when entering a black hole. Sounds corny but yes, this is what goes through my head lol.
 
How has your sound evolved over the course of your career?
 
Oh man, it’s constantly evolving I would say. From a very distant stand point, I started DJing house parties playing Hip Hop and Top 40 in my teens before I discovered dance music. After attending my first underground rave, I began playing house and started to dive deep into that genre for years and even produced a few tracks under a different alias before fully committing to Techno for the past decade. If you’re just looking at my most recent span of work as Juheun, it’s been holding strong within the Techno realm but keeping cosmic and forward thinking and always trying to push the boundaries so I’m not doing the same thing twice. Each record I put out I want to give everyone something familiar yet fresh and timeless.
 
What can you tell us about your last job Instant Communication? What inspired you? What did you want to convey?
 
 
Im a sci-fi nerd and I love everything that has to do with Space, science, and technology. Most of my inspiration comes from these subjects and you can hear it in my records. ‘Instant Communication’ is no different and starting with its name you can get these vibes right away. The interesting thing about this particular release is that the name, and the accompanying vocal sample I used were not in the original game plan. When I had first finished the track, it didn’t have a name and was still an ID, there was no vocal, just purely instrumental. It wasn’t until later that I was sitting on my couch blazing and watching TV and a commercial came on where I heard “Push a few buttons and instant communication”. Right then I knew I had to include that in the song. The original commercial that it came from was for an old 70s sitcom about two police detectives and I think they were talking about some radio communication device. It’s crazy because the original version without the vocal when I was writing the track, I was picturing a space ship far away in another galaxy traveling to another planets surface, and what it would feel like to enter the atmosphere of an unknown world. So the vocal sample was perfect. When you hear it in the finished song, you can almost imagine an astronaut on the radio communicating back to Earth or something saying those words. I couldn’t have planned it any better lol.
 
How are you living the current situation because of COVID? Has it affected your work a lot a lot? 
 
Honestly I kinda miss the time off from traveling lol. It was a nice break and gave me a chance to really spend quality time in the studio honing my craft and dialing in my sound even further. 
 
Things are definitely affected, but it’s our job to adapt to the changes and move forward. I think there’s still a bit of a back log when it comes to gigs and traveling like we used to, but things seem to slowly get back online, and as long as things can keep improving what more can we ask for? If anything, this whole pandemic has helped to reset things a bit and helped expose both good and bad in the industry. I think for me personally the time off helped me reevaluate some things that were holding me back as an artist, and helped to clarify a lot of questions I was dealing with before the pandemic. I think we are all coming out of this stronger, more motivated, and passionate about everything. Always try and look for the positives of every situation, makes life easier.
 
Do you think there is renewed hope for the music industry? Do you feel like the underground scene will continue to persist?
 
The underground will never die! As long as we continue to have passion for the music. There will always be new talent, fresh new ears, and motivated promoters. As a whole I think the industry has been evolving and adapting faster than ever, with technology really driving a lot of parts that were previously left to things like record labels, radio, and DJs, as much as it might frustrate or annoy us at times, its only helping us get closer to the answer and hopefully we will figure out this puzzle soon. Only time will tell I guess, but one thing is for sure.. we must adapt or be left behind.
 
What projects are you working on right now?
 
I’m currently in the studio working on my next EPs and releases which I’ll be announcing soon! Can’t wait to hear what people think of this new material I’m about to drop, but you can expect some more peak time bangers as well as some more stripped back and raw warehouse hypnotic after-hours type records as well.
 
I’m also in the middle of putting together my new hybrid live set that combines my past live setup along with a few analog bits of gear. It’s been a minute since I performed live so I’m really looking froward to talking a bit of a break from the DJ side of stuff. It’s still going to be 100% my own productions and material, but with the new bits of analog gear, Im hoping to up the level a bit with some new surprises.
 
Anything else you’d like to say before we end?
 
It was a pleasure to be here and thank you for all the amazing questions and letting me update and share with your readers.

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