Techno Tuesday: Julian Jeweil on mastering the art of techno production
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Julian Jeweil creates menacing techno weapons designed purely for big rooms and world-class sound systems. In fact, he’s become so consistent in his craft that he was named Beatport’s #1 top selling techno artist in 2015. With his pummeling productions, he’s asserted himself as a key player on Richie Hawtin’s Minus label, charting six of the imprint’s top releases over the last few years. Meanwhile, he’s become a constant fixture on the live circuit, recently embarking on a North and South American tour, including a stop at Exchange in Los Angeles.
In celebration of Julian Jeweil’s recent tour and his successful string of releases, we’ve asked the Frenchman to provide some insight into his creative process. Jeweil has detailed everything from his initial impulse to start producing techno, to his daily routine and favorite hardware.
I started listening to techno music during the late Nineties, then I got really involved with that genre. I guess you could say I fell in love with it immediately, quick and hard. After a while, I started buying records; I’d lock myself in my bedroom – I was still a teenager at the time – and listen to them endlessly.
It would often happen that during some party, or when I was out at a club, I’d hear music from an album I didn’t know, and really like it. After finding out its name, I’d go and spend countless days visiting all the record shops I knew of in my region just to find that one vinyl. I drove an insane amount of miles just
to track it down!
Later, when I was about 18 years old, I started mixing and performing at parties. Very quickly, I felt the need to produce and to create my own music. The purpose was first to concretize my ideas, and second to incorporate my own compositions in my DJ sets. My true passion was born! I found it absolutely amazing to be able to transfer my music directly from the studio I worked in to the dancefloor at these events I was performing at.
Nowadays, my working days at the studio are often very much the same, as I’m the type of person who very much likes routine. I enjoy waking-up and working very early in the morning after I’ve had a big cup of coffee. I like to be clear-minded when I create music; it’s almost impossible for me to go through this process in the middle of day-time because I’m much less focused then.
In general, I tend to work on many projects at the same time because it forces me to be constantly stimulated and on the lookout for new stuff. New ideas pop up, collide, swirl, and always end up merging.
For composing I usually use VIRUS TI, NORD LEAD 2 x, NOVATION BASS STATION 2, CUBASE and VSTs. What really matters to me is finding the right groove in the kick and the basslines, because that’s what gives me the impulse to start creating a new track. I could work on those for hours, until I’m satisfied with the result. After I’m done, I shift to the melodies and the rhythmic etc.
This is exactly what I did when I came up with my track “Meteorite”. I really concentrated on three specific elements: the kick, the bass and, finally, industrial-sounding percussions. This method and these points of reference are very important for me when I compose music. Afterwards, I always work on a relatively long break, to bring down the tension while building-up another which directly follows – that’s how I manage to constantly stay focused on a track’s main direction, or pattern.
I enjoy music making so much. I always have and I always will, year after year. It’s a real passion, and it makes me happy every single day. Composing and playing are my driving forces in life.