After almost two years without playing a show in his hometown fast-rising, Vancouver-based electronic music producer Juelz threw down at the city's beloved FVDED in The Park music festival.
EDM.com sat down with Juelz to chat about his meteoric rise and the future of trap music.
EDM.com: So how are you feeling? You just rocked your second set at FVDED.
Juelz:Yeah, it was my second time playing FVDED, it’s been like three or four years since I played it last. Lots of shit has changed since. It feels good to be here, this is my first hometown show in like a longtime.
EDM.com: Speaking of that, you’ve been playing all over the place. When was your first show back from COVID-19 and how has it been on your various tour dates?
Juelz: The first show back was a boat party me and Jawns played in New York. That was in July so it was pretty fresh out of lockdown - that energy was crazy. Honestly, I can feel it at pretty much all the shows I've played this year, the people are more ready to party than they've ever been I feel like.
I'm just blessed I was able to keep a bit of momentum going during lockdown so I can come back in full swing like this. I’m seeing a lot of people showing up to the shows now who are there to see me, which is really cool. It’s really the first time that has happened for me.
EDM.com: And how would you describe that feeling?
Juelz: It’s trippy, I don’t know. Knowing that people are paying to see me play and asking me for pictures just because of the music I make is still mind-boggling to me.
EDM.com: Which city is your favorite to play in besides Vancouver?
Juelz: I haven’t played in L.A. in a long time, but I’m pretty sure they go the hardest still. So yeah, I’m gonna say LA. Cali goes really hard in general. Shoutout Cali.
EDM.com: Let’s talk music and the new Paradise Lost project, which seems pretty deep. Tell us about the concept, sounds, and influences.
Juelz: It’s a little bit softer than the last EP, I think that’s mostly because I made most of it during COVID when I was on lockdown. It was kinda hard to feel that energy of playing live shows, so that’s why it’s a little more low-key. I really want to get into making more tasteful and timeless kind of stuff. That was really only the beginning of it, but the EP kinda represents that and me going through that process.
I named it Paradise Lost after a really old epic poem by this guy named John Milton, and the first part of that book is about the archangel Lucifer after he gets cast out from heaven and he’s sent to hell. Particularly this one part where the quote is, “Better to reign in hell than it is to serve in heaven,” and I remember reading that in literature in like grade 12 and that just always kind of stood out to me. And so for me, it's kinda representative of me starting to be more uninhibited in my music-making process but the overall theme really can apply to any sort of like an internal battle, like the lyrics and vocal samples throughout the ep more or less tell a story of someone who's down bad after a breakup but they eventually realize they're better off alone.
EDM.com: So what’s the next thing you’re working on? Is it another concept album or are you doing something different?
Juelz: No, the next one is gonna be a little less conceptual probably. I mean, I've got a bunch of singles dropping this year still, and a really exciting official remix coming out soon for a really iconic song. I've got a single dropping on Sable Valley, a single dropping on Proximity which is the KRANE and Heimanu collab—I know a lot of people been asking for that one. And then I think we’re gonna do some Paradise Lost remixes early next year. After all that then I’ll start working the album.
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EDM.com: Sounds like you have a ton going on! Coming up next year or the year after, what are some dream collabs or shows you’re shooting for?
Juelz: I definitely want to get on more festivals for next summer. I want to hit all the big ones. EDC, Ultra, E Zoo for sure, HARD Summer is probably my #1 that I want to do. For collabs, there's some rappers we're trying to get for features right now but it's definitely too early to be dropping names. I think me and Baauer are supposed to get in the studio tomorrow. We actually got a beat cooking up that we started in quarantine, so hopefully something will come out of that. And then I’m trying to get another collab with RL Grime, and I think that’ll happen. We've got a few projects in the works.
EDM.com: What’s your relationship with him?
Juelz: Oh he’s the homie, he really put me on so I’m super blessed for that. He’s helped me here and there with career advice too, so he's great.
EDM.com: Where do you feel like trap and bass music is going right now? You’re a big part of it. How do you feel about it in terms of its relevance and the stuff you’re seeing from other people?
Juelz: I feel like it’s making a comeback. Trap was dead for a hot minute, but I feel like with the Sable Valley stuff we’re bringing it back and even like just on this tour alone I've met a tonne of people from all over who are starting to make music in that lane too so I’m really stoked to see that.
I’m really optimistic about it—I know that the genre stuff always comes and goes in waves and I feel like trap is about to have a big moment again.
EDM.com: Are there any artists, trap or otherwise, who you’re following and listening to and who inspire you?
Juelz: I don’t know if you call it trap but the wave shit is really dope right now. There’s this one producer Sublab, he's super dope. He’s one of my favorite producers right now. And then of course all the Sable Valley fam. And can't forget the rap shit Kanye, Carti, Future, etc. Kind of basic I know, but they just never get old for me.
EDM.com: What is your go-to late-night good spot here in Vancouver?
Juelz: I mean it’s pretty slim, there are not many options. Duffin's is one for sure. The one time I had Hi Five I ate three chicken sandwiches and felt like shit (laughs). But yeah, Hi Five is good. Oh yeah, Breka! Breka is the best.
EDM.com: Yeah, Vancouver staple, and there’s one like five minutes from everywhere.
Juelz: Exactly, the donuts there? Slap. And the sandwiches too.
EDM.com: Is there anything else you want to let our readers know? Any shows you want to shout out?
Juelz: Well I’m playing a lot of shows in the next month and a half so keep an eye out. And for music, I've got a Sable Valley single coming out soon called "Hideaway" that I'm super gassed on.