After nearly two years without a show in his rapidly emerging hometown, Vancouver-based electronic music producer Juelz threw down the city’s beloved FVDED in The Park music festival.
EDM.com sat down with Juelz to talk about his meteoric rise and the future of trap music.
EDM.com: So how are you feeling? You just shuffled your second set on FVDED.
Yes, it was my second time playing FVDED, it’s been three or four years since I last played it. A lot of shit has changed since then. It feels good to be here, this is like my first show in my hometown in a long time.
EDM.com: Speaking of which, you’ve played everywhere. When was your first show back from COVID-19 and how was your different tour dates?
First show back was at the Brownies & Lemonade festival in Havasu and that was really lit, it went off. And it just feels really good to be back, and not only that, I feel like I’ve had quite the come-up just over COVID.
I feel like I’ve been able to keep up the momentum fortunately, so now I see a lot of people coming to the shows who are here to see me, which is really cool. It’s like the first time that happened to me.
EDM.com: And how would you describe that feeling?
It’s trippy, I don’t know. This is really cool knowing that people are paying to see you play and people asking me for pictures and wanting to single me out in a crowd, it’s pretty cool.
EDM.com: Which city do you prefer to play in besides Vancouver?
I haven’t played in LA in a long time, but I’m pretty sure they’re still going the hardest. So yeah, I’m going to say LA. They just go super fast, Cali generally goes really fast. Shout Cali.
EDM.com: Let’s talk about music and the new lost paradise project, which seems pretty deep. Tell us about the concept, sounds and influences.
It’s a little softer than the previous EP, I think that’s mostly because I made the most of it during COVID when I was locked up. It’s been kind of hard to feel that energy of playing live shows, so that’s why it’s kind of low-key. I really want to make more tasteful and timeless things. That was actually just the beginning, but the EP kind of represents that and I’m going through that process.
I called it lost paradise to a very old epic poem by this man named John Milton, and the first part of that book is about the Archangel Lucifer after being driven from heaven and sent to Hell. The quote is “It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven”, and I remember reading that in literature in grade 12 and it always kind of struck me. So that’s why I named the EP after that: because I realized I don’t have to make crazy bangers all the time.
EDM.com: So you use the bangers in your live sets?
juelz: Sure, and it still has bangers on it, but I feel like it’s a little more flavorful. It’s not like pure, super hard shit.
EDM.com: So what’s next you’re working on? Is it another concept album or are you doing something else?
juelz: No, the next one will be less conceptual. I mean, I’ve released a few more singles this year, and a really exciting official remix for a really iconic song is coming out soon. I have a single drop on Sable Valley, a single drop on Proximity, the KRANE/Heimanu collaboration – I know a lot of people are excited about that.
And then I think we’re going to do something paradise Lost remixes at the end of the year, and I have a collaboration with Sober Rob. And then I’m going to work on my first album.
EDM.com: Sounds like you have a lot to do! Next year or the year after, what are some dream collabs or shows you’re shooting for?
juelz: I definitely want to be at more festivals next summer. I want to hit all the big ones. EDC for sure, HARD Summer is probably my number 1 I want to do, I want to get on Wobbleland too. And then I try to get another collaboration with RL Grime, and I think that will happen. We have a few projects in the works.
EDM.com: What is your relationship with him?
juelz: Oh, he’s great. We’ve been a bit like homies, he really touched me, so I’m super blessed for that. He’s more or less a mentor, he’s pretty quiet and literally the calmest guy I’ve ever met. But if I ever have any career questions or anything like that, I talk to him and he’s really good at it.
I would also like to do a collab with Baauer. I think we should be in the studio tomorrow. We’re really cooking a beat that we’ve started in quarantine, so I think something will definitely come of that. And then just trying to get functions. I want to have some big rap features and stuff.
EDM.com: Where do you think trap and bass music is going right now? You are a big part of it. What do you think in terms of relevance and the things you see 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 really bringing it back. So I’m excited to see that.
I’m very optimistic about it – I know genre stuff always comes and go in waves and I feel like trap is going to have another big moment, so I’m really excited about that. And besides, I’m trying to get into other EDM genres too, but I’ll definitely be in front of the stairs forever.
EDM.com: Are there any artists, trap or otherwise, that you follow and listen to and inspire you?
juelz: I don’t know if you call it a trap, but the golf shit is really dope right now. There is a producer called Sublab who is super dope. He is currently one of my favorite producers. And then of course all the Sable Valley artists such as ISOxo, Knock2, Rossy, Pauline Herr and Montell2099.
EDM.com: What’s your favorite late night spot here in Vancouver?
juelz: I mean, it’s pretty slim, there aren’t many options. Duffin’s is definitely one. The one time I had Hi Five, I ate three chicken sandwiches and felt bad (laughs). But yes, Hi Five is good. Oh yes, Breka! Breka is the best.
EDM.com: Yeah, Vancouver staple, and it’s about five minutes from anywhere.
juelz: Exactly, the donuts over there? clap. And the sandwiches too.
EDM.com: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know? Are there any shows you want to scream out?
juelz: Keep an eye out, I’ll be playing a lot of shows over the next month and a half. So just stay tuned. And for music, I’ll have a Sable Valley single soon called ‘Hideaway’.