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Juheun: “Techno is always evolving and just keeps getting better and better”

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 now announces his long-awaited debut on Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou Records, with the unveiling of his remarkable new 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.

To celebrate the release of his ‘Instant Communication’, EG caught up with Juheun to learn more about the drop, his view on electronic music, sci-fi inspirations, and more.

Electronic Groove: Hello Juheun! It’s a pleasure to have you here with us today. How have you been? Where are you right now?

Juheun: Hey guys! I’m good. Catching in from my studio in sunny Phoenix Arizona!

Electronic Groove: First of all, congratulations on the release of your ‘Instant Communication’ EP on Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou! What’s in store for your fans here?

Juheun: Thank you! I’m super excited to have the chance to release on Simina’s label. I’ve been a big fan of her work and she did a remix for me on Set About for the ‘M87’ EP, after that I managed to get her ears on ‘Instant Communication’. It wasn’t long before we started to discuss the idea of putting it out on her label.

The original sample is from an old American TV show called ‘Drag Net’ from the 1960s about two police detectives. It’s interesting to think that the track didn’t originally have the vocal sample. Everyone I’ve talked to thinks the track was built around it, but honestly the original was meant to be a full instrumental. I rarely use vocal samples in my music unless it’s for a remix or bootleg I’m making for my sets. However on this one, upon finishing it, it still felt like it was missing something.

One evening I was sitting on my couch after a long studio session. I like to try to relax and just veg out in front of the TV with a fat bowl or joint after violating my ears all day, lol. A commercial came on that was advertising a rerun of classic TV shows and I heard: “Push a few buttons and instant communication”. I jumped up and knew I had to record it for the track. I waited with my phone out and ended up recording it on the second pass. The next day I hit the studio and dropped in the recording and it was meant to be. Even though the context of the sample was not related, it just worked perfectly with the track and really gives it that extra bit of futuristic sci-fi feels.

Electronic Groove: Are there stories behind your tracks? Where do you go to for inspiration? Do have creative routines?

Juheun:  I’m a really big movie buff and love all things sci-fi, futuristic, space/galaxy, etc. And I always try and include this in all my productions. I pull a lot of my inspiration and creative juices from this, as for me techno is and always has been a very modern and forward-thinking genre of music. So I’m always in the studio with this in the back of my mind. I try to incorporate a lot of sounds and ideas to help get this idea across in my music. Everything from the name of the tracks, to the overall vibe and feel of each track, makes you want to close your eyes and imagine yourself traveling through space.

For ‘Instant Communication’ this is no different. When hearing and experiencing the track, I picture space exploration and far-away galaxies. Exploring planet to planet and communicating with other alien life forms while waiting to push the hyperdrive button.

Electronic Groove: This new release also features two remixes, courtesy of Melody’s Enemy and I AM BAM. What were your impressions listening to them for the first time? What things do you first tend to look for in remixes of your music? Do you have those ‘Oh, I wish I had thought of that!’ moments?

Juheun: I’m a huge fan of both of their music and I knew that eventually, I needed to get them to remix one of my songs. It just so happened that on this specific release, I already had the remix from Melody even before talking to Simina. We had been releasing on Octopus prior to this and I sent him an early version of the track and he liked it, I asked him if he would be down to take a crack at a remix and that it didn’t have a home yet. A couple of days later, in pops his remix to my inbox, and soon as the first beat drops I knew it had to be part of the package. So when I sent it to Simina, the remix was already part of the pitch. It wasn’t until we got the green light for Kuukou that I reached out to I Am Bam for his take on the record. I wanted a really raw and edgy version to round out the EP and he did not disappoint one bit.

I don’t recall having the ‘I wish I had thought of that!’ moments, but I do recall thinking to myself… DAMN, they both took this track to the next level, lol. That’s what I’m really looking for when it comes to remixes. I only want remixes that I personally would play in my own DJ sets.

“I’m a really big movie buff and love all things sci-fi, futuristic, space/galaxy, etc. And I always try and include this in all my productions”

Electronic Groove: How would you describe your sound by now? How has it evolved over time? Are you making the music you thought you’d be making when you first started out?

Juheun: I think my sound is constantly evolving so it’s hard for me to exactly describe it as a whole other than the backbone is techno and or underground with a 4/4 beat. I’m not sure if I ever had an idea of the ‘kind’ of music I would be making now, but more along with the idea of just honing and dialing in my craft and getting better and better at it. That’s all I ever cared about. The interesting thing about this idea is that I still don’t feel like I’ve hit my ‘goal’ or level of skill in my production still to this day. I’m still learning shit every time I sit in the studio. Who knows where this music will take me in a few years, I’m just happy and thankful I get the chance to wake up and do this every day.

Electronic Groove: What does your studio set-up look like at the moment? Are you more of an analog or a digital person?

Juheun: I have a bit of a hybrid setup. I love my analog gear, but I’m mainly in the box. Without getting too technical, my studio is currently being set up for analog summing. I have all my analog synths and drum machines running independently into Ableton through my Antelope 32+ connected by Dsub. I’ll be adding some additional analog rack gear soon and will be running my audio out from Ableton through the analog chain and then back into Ableton recording as a single chunk of audio.

I’ve always wanted to find the perfect balance between actual analog hardware with knobs, faders, and buttons, but also have the cutting-edge tech that only digital can offer. I’m a pretty big audiophile when it comes to audio quality, so having a setup like this is crucial to my music.

Electronic Groove: What does the future of electronic music look like to you? At one point, electronic music was considered ‘future music’. Where is it now?

Juheun: Personally I view techno in general as a forward-thinking genre, and have always had the idea in my head that it’s meant for forward-thinking minds. It’s always evolving and just keeps getting better and better as technology improves. I think it’s hard to say what the future holds, but I know one thing is for sure… Techno will never die.

Electronic Groove: How did you first get started in the electronic music scene? Was there a record or gig that changed everything for you on a personal level?

Juheun: I was 16 and went to my first rave party. At the time I was already dabbling with mixing hip hop records at friends’ house parties, but I had never been to a rave yet. Prior to this, I knew what electronic music was and was already listening to some records and downloading random mixes online. That night, Bad Boy Bill and DJ Dan were controlling the decks and this was the first time I had truly experienced a room full of people dancing all to the same beat while the DJ was in full control. It blew my mind! Everything about the music, the scene, and the vibes that night, instantly hooked me and I never turned back.

“I think it’s hard to say what the future holds, but I know one thing is for sure… Techno will never die”

Electronic Groove: What else can we expect from Juheun in the near future? What new milestones are you looking out for in the coming months?

Juheun: I’m buttoning up a new live show that I’ve been working on for the past few months. It’s a mix between analog and digital gear, but 100% all my own productions. I’m also working on custom visuals for it! Other than that it should be an interesting remainder of the year with gigs and new releases on the horizon.

Electronic Groove: Thank you so much for your time, Juheun! We wish you all the best for the future!

Juheun: Pleasure was all mine guys! Thanks again for having me over!

Juheun’s ‘Instant Communication’ EP is out now via Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou Records. Purchase your copy here.

Follow Juheun:  Facebook | Instagram | Soundcloud | Spotify

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