Julian Mesa’s fusion of house and techno, influenced by his musical background and honed through dedication, has established him as a rising star in the electronic music scene.
Photo credit: Julian Mesa – Facebook
Growing up in the ’90s, Julian Mesa was exposed to groundbreaking records that have played a pivotal role in shaping the history of electronic music. This musical background has shaped his unique sound. Originally from Brooklyn, NYC, he has now made Bahrain his home, where he continues to refine his skills.
Julian’s talent has taken him to prestigious club spaces worldwide, including performances at venues such as CDV and Rave The Planet in Berlin, UNUM Festival Pre-Party and Epizode Festival Pre-Party in Bahrain, Solymar Beach Festival in Bahrain, Pacha in NYC, Heart in Miami, Heard From in Colombia, Tokyo, and Qingdao. He has had the privilege of supporting industry giants like Richie Hawtin, Juliet Fox, D-Unity, Lehar, Timmo, Blond:ish, Oostil, Massano, and many others. He has released music on well-known labels like Phobiq and Hypnostate, gaining recognition on Beatport’s Top Techno Releases.
In a recent interview with EG, Julian Mesa provided valuable insights into his latest release, ‘Voyager’ EP, as well as his upcoming projects and endeavors.
EG: Hi Julian! Welcome to EG. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?
Julian Mesa: Hey guys! Thank you so much! I’ve been great, staying busy with production as I just got back to Bahrain from ADE, and getting ready for some upcoming shows in the Middle East.
EG: Sounds great. How was your ADE experience like? Any particular highlights?
Julian Mesa: This year’s ADE was unlike any other. I got to connect with many friends and meet new ones. I had interesting meetings to further my career and got inspired by all the amazing artists I got to see at the different events. I think my biggest highlight was seeing Juliet Fox at some of her events. She’s a great friend of mine and she never ceases to surprise me with her music. Also, Pan Pot’s set at Extrema was something else, and Ricardo Villalobos and Raresh’s set was one for the books!
EG: Congratulations on the release of your ‘Voyager’ EP, which is out now via Juliet Fox’s label, TREGAMBE. What was the initial reception like? Do you remember the first time you played these cuts live?
Julian Mesa: Thank you so much! This release was truly special for me! I’ve been a fan of Juliet Fox for a long time, and we got to connect while having her at one of my events in Bahrain back in 2022, and from there our friendship grew significantly! She has helped me a lot throughout the years and has pushed me to do better, giving me an opportunity to be on her label, which is a massive milestone in my career. The initial reception for the release was amazing. She had been playing the songs at major events like Awakenings, Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and more, and they gained massive traction.
Throughout the label’s promotional distribution, we received amazing feedback from artists I couldn’t even have imagined, such as Marco Faraone, Umek, Spektre, Carl Craig, and many more. The first time I played the tracks was surreal. I remember playing both tracks in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and witnessing the amazing reactions. I couldn’t believe the impact they had on the dance floor and the massive support they received from everyone around.
“This release was truly special for me! It represents my journey through sound from the past to the present and what my future holds“
EG: What can your fans expect to find on ‘Voyager’? Is there a concept or inspirational trigger to the EP?
Julian Mesa: This release is different for me than the others I’ve had previously. For this release, I tapped into my roots in electronic music from years ago, adding a touch of trance to it and making it relevant to today’s techno spectrum. It was very cool for me to find out that Juliet Fox was also a big fan, so immediately the release connected us more. The release itself also represents my journey through sound from the past to the present and what my future holds. It also has close ties to my memories with my father and my family, and that’s why there’s a big emotional attachment to this release from my side, and I couldn’t be prouder to have it on TREGAMBE.
EG: This year has seen you deliver outings for TREGAMBE, Phobiq, and Hypnostate, with releases that have made some serious noise in the Beatport charts. Were you aiming for any of this when you first started out? What does it mean to you to be able to showcase your music on such respected imprints?
Julian Mesa: 2023 definitely has been quite a year for me, and it’s still all unbelievable. When I create music, I never aim to enter the charts or anything of that sort, I make music because it’s my passion, because it’s my way to express myself in the only way I know how to, and because it’s my way to connect with everyone – music is truly a universal language. Not having any expectations, and seeing these results makes things even more incredible. Never thought my music could have this impact. Being able to sign to these labels was also something amazing for me because they are labels that I have looked up to, and ones that have all the artists that are my references and makes me so proud to say that now I am with them on the labels and it only pushes me to do better and better with each track.
EG: This year you had your debut in Berlin’s Club der Visionare. What was that like? Are there any European plans in the near future?
Julian Mesa: This was one of the best experiences of my life. I had the chance to play a very special set at CDV for one of Dana Ruh’s showcases. In this venue, I got to show a different side of my music by blending house and techno through more minimalistic aspects. My whole career, I had been dreaming of playing there, and this year I had the chance to do it. Knowing the legends that play there often, I was nervous at first, but then I just got into my zone and did things my way, and the reactions were just incredible and powered me through my 3-hour set there. Prior to playing at CDV, I was at Rave the Planet (formerly known as the Love Parade) where I was invited to play at one of the floats where Juliet Fox was also present. So in one day in Berlin, I got to check off 2 things that I had in my life plans. It goes without saying that it was the experience of a lifetime for me.
After this day, I definitely have plans for Europe in the future. Right now, we are working on possibly coming back at the end of this year, and definitely setting up a great schedule for 2024 across various countries and cities (Berlin, Ibiza, and London just to name a few), which I am thrilled about and excited to go out there and share my music with everyone.
EG: You’re also behind the OFF Global Group, which has done some great work in the GCC region. Can you tell us more about the OFF Global Group and its current mission in the area?
Julian Mesa: OFF Global Group is a brand created by three people – Laura Zapata, who lives in Miami and will further expand the brand into the United States; Sam Darwish, who works with me in Bahrain and has been instrumental in our expansion in the country and the GCC region. I don’t think we would have had this success here without him. As for myself, I am currently based in Bahrain but also travel throughout Europe for plans to expand the brand there, starting in 2024.
In the GCC area, we have been working tirelessly for the past four years to push underground electronic music in the region, particularly in Bahrain. Our mission is to bring quality music and create a space for people to experience masters in their craft and sound, whether it’s techno, house, minimal, etc. We aim to expand people’s musical knowledge while connecting with like-minded individuals on the dancefloor. We have been fortunate to have artists like Juliet Fox, D-Unity, Timmo, Dana Ruh, Juli Aristy, JANINA, Oshana, and many more, and the reception from the crowd has been amazing.
With every event, we are constantly amazed by the response and how open-minded people have become to the diverse sounds of underground electronic music, despite the trends in Arab culture. In Arab countries, we have to consider various aspects when organizing events, such as government regulations, social regulations (ensuring nothing offensive or conducive to bad behavior), and respecting people’s privacy. This presents a bigger challenge compared to Western culture. However, thanks to our amazing team, we have navigated these challenges smoothly, creating an incredible community and energy while experiencing continuous growth.
For 2024, we have exciting plans that we will be unveiling very soon. We will be hosting events more consistently throughout the United States, with a focus on cities like New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Additionally, we will be targeting Europe more extensively, including cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Ibiza. It has taken a lot of time and hard work, but as with anything in the music industry, persistence is key. We will be delighted to share all of our projects with you as soon as we start announcing them.
“In the GCC area, we have been working tirelessly for the past four years to push underground electronic music in the region, particularly in Bahrain”
EG: By the way, what do you think about the current trend that has seen these larger-than-life visuals take center stage? Are they overwhelming the musical aspect instead of just “enhancing” the musical experience?
Julian Mesa: For me, this is a very interesting topic, actually. Personally, I’m not really a big fan of them just because I feel they take away a lot from the music craft itself. I come from more of an old-school mentality where the music should always be the focus, and people should be enjoying the music and the vibe around them rather than focusing on taking their phones out every other minute to grab social media content. Then the visuals become the main focus, though they are “enhancing” it. From a business perspective, I believe it’s a great current idea. I feel that nowadays innovation always has to be at the forefront, and parties are not the same as before. Every aspect of the event has to be elevated to keep people engaged, especially the younger generation, and social media has become the medium through which all things are known. These types of larger-than-life visuals are a key marketing and branding aspect that has led to massive success.
EG: What’s next for Julian Mesa? What new milestones are you looking forward to now?
Julian Mesa: This is always such a tricky question for me (laughter). I always focus on music and see where it takes me. However, with recent developments in my career and taking it to a higher level, I am now building a team to manage everything. I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds. I am excited to close this year properly for both myself and the brand, and more than anything, I am looking towards 2024. For next year, I have some great releases lined up that I am eagerly anticipating. I will be working with new, big, and exciting labels, as well as returning to some of them to continue building together. Additionally, I have exciting shows scheduled in Europe next year, including Berlin, Amsterdam, and Ibiza, among other cities. This will be a significant breakthrough for me in Europe and my career. I am also excited about some shows in the U.S, as it will be my first time returning to my home base after years of being away. Furthermore, I have exciting plans for South America, specifically Colombia and Chile.
EG: Thank you for your time, Julian! We’re excited to see what’s in store for you. Take care!
Julian Mesa: Thank you so much, guys. This really means a lot to me! After years of being a huge EG fan and following the careers of all my favorite artists through your platform, I’m proud to say that today I am among them, and it’s all thanks to you guys! Take care and I will see you soon.
Julian Mesa’s ‘Voyager’ EP is now available via TREGAMBE. Stream and download here.