After not playing a show in his thriving hometown for nearly two years, Vancouver's Juelz knocked down at the city's popular FVDED in The Park music festival.
worldmusic.blog sat down with Juelz to discuss his meteoric rise and the future of trap music.
worldmusic.blog: How are you feeling? You just rocked your second set on FVDED.
Yes, it was my second time playing FVDED, it's been about 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 hometown show in a long time.
worldmusic.blog: Speaking of which, you play anywhere. When was your first show back from COVID-19 and how was it on your various tour dates?
The first show back was at the Brownies & Lemonade Festival in Havasu and that was lit up properly, it started. And it just feels really good to be back, and not only that, I feel like I had a decent come-up just because of COVID.
I feel like I've luckily kept the momentum up so now I see a lot of people coming to the shows that are here to see me, which is really cool. It's like the first time that happened to me.
worldmusic.blog: How would you describe that feeling?
It's trippy, I don't know. It's really cool to know that people pay to see you play and people ask me for pictures and pick me out in a crowd, that's pretty cool.
worldmusic.blog: In addition to Vancouver, what is your favorite city to play in?
I haven't played L.A. in a long time, but I'm pretty sure they are still the toughest goers. So yeah, I'll say LA. They just go super hard, Cali goes really hard in general. Greetings Cali.
worldmusic.blog: Let's talk about music and the new Paradise Lost project, which seems pretty deep. Tell us about the concept, sounds and influences.
It's a bit softer than the last EP, I think that's mainly because I did most of it during COVID when I was banned. It was kind of hard to feel that energy playing live shows so it's a little more cautious. I really want to do more tasteful and timeless things. That was really just the beginning, but the EP kind of represents that and I'm going through that process.
I named it Paradise Lost after a really old epic poem by John Milton, and the first part of this book is about the Archangel Lucifer after he was expelled from Heaven and sent to Hell. The quote reads, "Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven," and I remember reading that in 12th grade in literature and somehow it always struck me. That's why I named the EP after that: because I realized that I don't have to keep doing crazy blasts.
worldmusic.blog: So you use the bang in your live sets?
Jülz: Of course, and there are still some crackers, but I think it's a little tastier. It's not like super hard shit.
worldmusic.blog: What are you working on next? Is it another concept album or are you doing something else?
Jülz: No, the next one will be less conceptual. I mean, I've got a ton of singles out this year, and there's a really exciting official remix coming up for a really iconic song soon. I have a single drop on Sable Valley, a single drop on Proximity, that's the collaboration between KRANE and Heimanu – I know a lot of people are excited about it.
And then I think we'll do some Paradise Lost remixes by the end of the year, and I have a collaboration with Sober Rob. And then I start working on my first album.
worldmusic.blog: Sounds like you've got a lot going on! Coming next year or the year after next, what are some dream collabs or shows you are shooting for?
Jülz: I definitely want to go to more festivals next summer. I want to meet all the big ones. EDC definitely, HARD Summer is probably my number 1 that I want to do, I also want to go to Wobbleland. And then I try to get another collaboration with RL Grime and I think that's going to happen. We have some projects in the works.
worldmusic.blog: How is your relationship with him?
Jülz: Oh he's great. We were a bit like homies, he really attracted me so I'm super blessed for that. He's more or less like a mentor, he's pretty calm and literally the most reserved guy I've ever met. But if I ever have career questions or anything like that, I give him a call and he's really good at it.
I would also like to work with Baauer. I think we should go to the studio tomorrow. We actually cooked together a beat that we started in quarantine so I think something will come of that. And then just try to get features. I want some big rap features and stuff.
worldmusic.blog: Where do you think trap and bass music is going right now? You are a big part of it. What do you think of it in terms of its relevance and the things you see of others?
Jülz: I feel like there is a comeback. Trap was dead for a hot minute but I feel like the Sable Valley stuff is really bringing it back. Sso, I'm thrilled to see this.
I'm really optimistic – I know genre stuff always comes and goes in waves and I have a feeling that Trap is going to have another big moment so I'm really excited. I'm also trying to get into other EDM genres, but I'll definitely be Trap forever.
worldmusic.blog: Are there any artists, whether Trap or others, that you follow and listen to and who inspire you?
Jülz: I don't know if you call it a trap, but the wave shit is really stupid right now. There's this one producer called Sublab who's super dope. He's one of my favorite producers right now. And then of course all the Sable Valley artists like ISOxo, Knock2, Rossy, Pauline Herr and Montell2099.
worldmusic.blog: What's your favorite place to hang out here in Vancouver for the night?
Jülz: I mean, it's pretty slim, there aren't a lot of options. Duffins is definitely one. The one time I had Hi Five I ate three chicken sandwiches and felt like shit (laughs). But yes, Hi Five is good. Oh yes, Breka! Breka is the best.
worldmusic.blog: Yes, Vancouver's classics, and it's about five minutes from anywhere.
Jülz: Exactly, the donuts there? Beat. And the sandwiches too.
worldmusic.blog: Is there anything else you want to tell our readers? Any shows that you want to call out?
Jülz: Look out, I'll be playing a lot of shows over the next month and a half. So just stay up to date. And for music, I'll soon have a single from Sable Valley called "Hideaway".