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Juheun Discusses his Kuukou Debut, Favourite Studio Gear and More

Hailing from the stark and unyielding deserts of the southwestern United States, Juheun emerges from the dust with mind-warping, forward-thinking techno. Developing his sound from dramatic minimal techno with curious and intriguing basslines to the pulsing and hypnotic techno that he’s making today Juheun continues to push boundaries with his performances as well as his productions.

Following a 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’s most recent release saw his long-awaited debut on Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou Records. This with his remarkable extended player, Instant Communication.

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 sat down with Juheun to find out more.

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Hello Juheun! Thanks very much for the time to talk to us. How are you today?

Hello guys, thank you for having me. I’m good!

Please can you introduce yourself quickly to our Tanzgemeinschaft readers?

I’m an artist from North America and I DJ and Produce Techno music. I have releases on Octopus Recordings, Set About Music, and Kuukou Records. I also occasionally perform all my own music as a live set using Ableton Live and some analog toys. 

Where are you answering this interview from?

I’m currently sitting on a plane that’s heading to Las Vegas, Nevada. 

How would you describe your particular brand of techno music?

I would have to say it sits somewhere between Hypnotic and Peak Time Techno with heavy influences from Sci-Fi movies and Outer Space. I’m a huge fan of movies about the future and anything that has to do with space travel. 

How has 2022 been for you so far? Any particular highlights?

I would say it’s better than 2021 that’s for sure lol. Things have been busy in the studio working on my next releases and traveling is starting to become a bit more consistent. It’s still nowhere near what it was pre-pandemic, but it’s getting better.

I think the biggest highlight outside of the usual gigs and releases so far has been on giving something back to the local scene and throwing parties here in Phoenix with our Circuit collective. My partner Michelle Sparks and I have been able to spend a little more time in Phoenix since traveling slowed down during the pandemic and we’ve been doing more events in the last year with help from our solid team of dedicated resident DJs (Mullen, Jorgen, Xer0 & Gersh).

We’re loving your latest release “Instant Communication” on Kuukou. Can you talk us through the record?

This particular release was something that came about almost by accident. I had already finished the record and was working on figuring out who I wanted to remix it and where I felt it might make a great fit as far as the label was concerned.

One night I was sitting on my couch watching TV, and this commercial pops on for an old sitcom called “Dragnet”. During the spot, I hear one of the lead actors say “Push a few buttons and instant communication”. Not sure exactly why it stood out to me so strongly, since he was referring to some sort of old radio communication device. But at that exact moment, I knew it had to be added to the original or actually the instrumental version at the time. I recorded it on my iPhone and took it immediately to the studio the next day and just like magic, it was the cherry on the top!

I knew I had to get some top-notch remixers on this one, so I made a couple of calls and sent the finished version off to my homies Melody’s Enemy and IAMBAM who both delivered some serious heat for the record. I couldn’t have asked for it to go any smoother on this one.

How does your creative process start when making a record like this? 

I think it starts with being in the right headspace. For me, it’s really important that I treat this like any other art form out there. Having a background in art, I appreciate the work we all put into each piece. With such a strong personal influence from space exploration and futurism, I want all my music to have this vibe and feeling, all the way down to my DJ sets. So making sure to hit the studio when I’m feeling a certain way helps me deliver this feeling when I’m in the studio finding samples, working with synths and sound designing. 

More on production – what are some of your favorite pieces of studio gear? Are you big into hardware?

I’m a huge fan of hardware, but I come from the new generation of digital artists who didn’t get a chance to live through the early analog days of the 70s and 80s. Because of this, I’ve built my studio around a hybrid setup with a mix of new and old analog hardware synths and drum machines, along with a digital backbone using Ableton Live as the main DAW. 

My all-time favorite bit of kit would no doubt be the Native Instruments Maschine. I currently use the MK3 version in the studio and use the Micro MK3 in my live sets. I can’t live without this thing. Every track I make has Maschine in it. It’s at a point now I don’t feel like a track is finished unless it has some bits of the Maschibe in it lol. It’s a very versatile instrument when you get comfortable with it. Yes, it’s mainly focused on Drums, but NI has continued to evolve it into something more. I use it for all sorts of things including drums, percussion, and even synths and bass!

Are you planning some other new music and projects soon that you can tell us about?       

I’ve got a new collab slated to drop sometime in the Fall. I can’t go into many details but it’s a collab with one of my all-time favorite producers and will be released on a label I have so much respect for. It’s deff going to be a double bucket list for me when it comes out. 

I’m also heavy in the studio working on the latest version of my Live set. It’s all new material with a few of my classic releases, as well as some new and unreleased stuff. Expect to see more info about it in the Fall/Winter of this year. 

What do you like to do when you’re not making music?

I like to spend time working on some of my other passions including painting and drawing, wrenching on my project car, playing PS5, and smoking lots of weed lol. 

Where can we see you perform over the next few months? Any special gigs planned?

I’ll be making my Vancouver debut next month for an after-hours event in Sept and will be making my way to Amsterdam for Amsterdam Dance Event in October. 

Any final words for our Tanzgemeinschaft readers?

Massive thanks to everyone who continues to explore and discover new music and artists. Without you none of this is possible.

Juheun – Instant Communication is out now via Kuukou Records

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