No genres: Jauz opens up about his future plans
It’s Sunday, March 29, at the tail end of another wild Ultra Music Festival. The Worldwide stage is filling up quickly for Jauz, who plans to stop by and rock his UMF debut. As the resident basshead of my crew, I’m calling out track titles with each song. Jauz suddenly announces that he will be playing a new track — one that completely stumps me. I turn to a friend with a confused look on my face and he asks, “is this Datsik?”
When I catch up with Jauz months later, he is on the way to the studios at ICON Collective, a production school in Los Angeles. While many people know him today as the monster that pieced together the house smash that is “Feel The Volume,” he is simply known as Sam Vogel in these halls. Sam had always had an interest in art – he even initially took cracks at film making and a more aggressive form of metal music. When both of those ventures ended up disappointing Vogel, a friend showed him a trending form of music known as “dubstep,” which lead him to the famed production classrooms of ICON.
Dubstep was exactly what Vogel had been searching for: not for its sound, not for its style, but for the fact that he could do it alone. Once he got his feet wet at ICON, the developing star harnessed his creative energy towards a new alias. Jauz spent his final months at ICON building a catalogue and the theory behind the Jauz brand. What resulted was the counter-culture style of the artist’s slogan: “No Genres.” Jauz decided early on that he wouldn’t be controlled or confined by the music he makes — a single, signature sound simply won’t do for this creative spirit.
“When I started at ICON, for the first 6 months I was there, all I did was dubstep – I wanted to be the next Must Die, Datsik, Excision.” Jauz continued, “When I went through my final semester of ICON, it really taught me to stop caring about the music that I’m writing and just to write music for fun. Once I did that, I branched into different things that would make me happy, and not too long after that is when people actually started noticing my music”
“Feel the Volume,” one of Jauz’s first stabs at a house sound, is similar to what many may call UK jackin’ or bassline house. The style got him the attention of the heroes he long desired to attract. Artists like Diplo, Skrillex, Oliver Heldens, and Martin Garrix have since shown support for Jauz’s music and the style he has brought to mainstream electronic music.
Following Jauz’s set at Ultra, I was determined to find out what that new track was. It took months until the title and collaborative artist were revealed, and even then I was left clueless. “Rock The Party” would be the name of the production, which was a collaborative effort with a mysterious artist named Ephwurd. With only three songs released to date (including “Rock The Party”) yet a great deal of official artist support, there was something strange about the new name to the scene – and it wasn’t until I was suddenly introduced to Ephwurd that it all began to make sense.
As it turns out, Ephwurd is a project by Datsik, flying under a new alias: “Ephwurd is a new collaboration project between myself [Datsik] and Bais Haus,” he said. “We are currently writing a bunch of new and different stuff under this alias – all under the house music umbrella. I have always had an interest in house music, and with the way everything is changing and diversifying we figured now is the perfect time to explore the other-side of ‘EDM’ and change it up.”
Bais House and Datsik went on to explain, like many others, that their decision to remain anonymous was done in order to produce the music they wanted to make without public dictation. With the duo’s general solo directions both revolving around dubstep, the anonymous group name made it easier for the two artists to focus on house music without alienating any fans. Both artists made it clear that they will be continuing their solo projects, and that while Ephwurd has become the preferred project for Bais Haus, both artists have new solo material on the way.
Ironically, it wasn’t the dubstep that Vogel crafted that grabbed the attention of the two bass music kings – it was his house style. From fan to collaborator, Jauz joined Datsik in the Firepower Studios and collaborated on a track that would soon evolve into “Rock The Party.” Even at the time of creation, however, the artists didn’t realize what they had on their hands.
“That song has definitely been the same vein as ‘Feel The Volume,’ where the Ephwurd guys and I wrote it and I thought, ‘This is pretty cool,’ but didn’t think about it for two months.” After a friend told Jauz to play it out, he realized he had something special. “We just happened to send it to Spinnin’ and they picked it up. I said, ‘No way, Spinnin’ picked up a song with a dubstep drop in it?’”
The powerful push of a Spinnin’ promotion run has landed “Rock The Party” in the brightest spotlight, dominating sets around the globe, and giving it the boost it will need to climb Beatport and other associated dance music charts. “Rock The Party” marks the first Spinnin’ release for all the artists involved in the track. Though the song is certainly a celebratory one, marking a major milestone for all artists involved, they also took the time to declare that the Spinnin’ release certainly does not indicate further alliance with typical label tendencies.
When Vogel first announced that the release would be with the Europe-based Spinnin’ Records, he saw a negative reaction towards the idea on social media from fans. As of recent, Jauz has taken on an initiative to explain to fans his actions, and show that a Spinnin’ release will do nothing but help his brand. When I asked Jauz to speak on the issue, he became the most enthusiastic than he had been throughout our entire conversation. What Jauz really wants fans to understand is that his brand is much more “No Genres” than any sort of future house synth. Those that have just joined the bandwagon need to understand that being a fan of Jauz is more so to appreciate the creative mind of Sam Vogel than anything else.
“I’m gonna do different shit and I’m always going to do different shit, and if you didn’t know that, you know that now. It doesn’t matter where my music comes out, it doesn’t matter who supports it… It doesn’t mean that I’m selling out or doing something bigger or something worse. None of it is going to affect my career trajectory. Regardless of whatever happens, I’m going to keep making the music that is what I feel like making at whatever time it is.”
What’s next for Jauz? Vogel confirmed that we can expect his collaboration with Diplo and Tinashe soon, which has a pop-infused sound under the vocalist’s enchanting lyrical work. The Skrillex collaboration “Drunk Squad” is not yet in the pipeline for release, but Jauz isn’t worried; he is confident that they will do more work together in the future, and took away so much from his studio sessions with Sonny Moore that the track’s release isn’t a pressing issue for him – though he did insist that the release decision was up to Sonny.
Jauz also has solo work ready to go, and the artist is itching to launch his following’s favorite “house-y” tracks, as he likes to call them. Fans, don’t worry, he hears your requests: Jauz hinted towards a release of “Deeper Love,” and “Claim 2 Be” surely won’t go by the wayside.
As for a more cohesive project under the Jauz brand, there is an EP in the works that will feature a fully-fleshed-out “No Genres” mantra, reaching from his house sound to melodic and vocal cuts. Even further, the artist hinted towards some sort of platform that will enable Jauz and the artists he supports most to release and promote their music on their own terms, though he declined to say more about the idea. For now, all you need to know is that Jauz will be curating musical pieces very soon.
Before closing out my conversation with Sam, I asked him to speak on Marshmello, the mysterious new bass artist that many have implied is either Jauz or a Jauz-involved project. Sam could not have made it more clear that he is not Marshmello, and he wants everyone to know that. “It really isn’t me. 100%, it’s not me. I made a quote about it a while ago… if I was making the music that Marshmello is making, I would just put it out as Jauz. [No Genres] is the whole thing, I don’t need a side project.”
As for Ephwurd, Bais Haus and Datsik are still hard at work on their collaborative and solo efforts, and hope to launch the Ephwurd live shows by next year. “2016 will be the year Ephwurd rises, so get ready. Storms coming.”
“Rock The Party” is available now via Beatport.
Photos via Jordan Billings Photography