Juk Juk is another one of those prodigiously talented young people that makes me sick with envy. His lovely, shifting, shuffling 21st Century 2-step and inspired cut-up work has grabbed the attention of multiple BBC radio stations, sonic necromancer Kieran Hebden (who released Juk Juk’s debut track on his label Text) and more importantly, anyone with ears. It makes me want to chuck the contents of my desk on the floor in anger. Until I stick it on the stereo again and his intoxicating blend of delicate string arrangement, chopped soulful vocals and simple hypnotic rhythms soothes me back into grudging acceptance.
To top it all he has just set up his own label, and will shortly be releasing his next track. I chatted with him after he played a show at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Double Denim/hush showcase. We chatted about weak immune systems, avoiding colds, doom metal and psychedelic 2-step garage. Annoyingly, he’s really nice.
Hello Juk Juk, What is your name and what do you play?
My name is Caleb and I play Pokemon.
What have you been up to today? You’ve been pretty hard to pin down, although I appreciate that was at least partially due to my ahem ‘jet set’ lifestyle.
Lying in bed feeling sorry for myself with a bitch of a cold. This is a recurring problem for a weak immune-systemed vegetarian such as myself.
Plus I had a gig in Stockholm at Club Debaser and spent last week sampling the blistering cold and club life of the bitter North. Probably a big factor in me having a cold, and I played hush at the Royal Albert Hall with NZCA/Lines, Maria Minerva and Outfit.
Awesome, how familiar were you with the guys before you played?
Very familiar with Outfit as I did a remix for them a few months back. I’d been checking out Maria Minerva and NZCA/LINES. It was a great gig.
What about the Double Denim dudes?
I’m really chuffed it went so well for them. I’ve got a lot of respect for Hari and Jack – it must be so hard to run a successful small and independent label!
You get any pointers? You’re about to launch our own label, right?
I have a name… the label will be called Nommos. The first thing out on that will be a release by me…
Text put out your debut single ‘Winter Turn Spring’. Kieran Hebden is a hero of mine – that must have been sweet?
It is a dream come true. I think musically the track fits the label as well but as it was one of my favourite labels, wow!
Will you be releasing just your own stuff, or have you already got your eyes on the next generation?
I have an open remit and hopefully in the future I will be releasing other artists as there’s a lot of people making great music at the moment…But the first few releases will be Juk Juk, as I have a lot of tracks I need to get out there first!
What kind of stuff?
Ah, difficult question, It’s very hard to pigeonhole, but lately I’ve been working on a sort of psychedelic 2-step garage
You’ve been heaped with praise across the BBC, including some pretty heavy duty plaudits on Radio 3 of all places..
Yeah the release had a lot of good attention, which is great for a debut release. I’m just hoping my upcoming release will be as well received.
You’ve definitely got your own sound, but to these ears you obviously have a healthy respect for the past…
From a very early age I was around a huge range of diverse music, for instance heavy rock, doom and black metal, hip hop, psych, hardcore punk, indie, folk, minimal techno, world music…
Awesome mix, I’d love you to stick some doom metal in the middle of a set!
Ha, yeah! But I also like to think I approach making music in my own way which involves experimentation with all manner of samples and instruments. I think the most important factor is an early obsession with my analogue synths and their sounds.
A lot of producers are virtuoso musicians these days – what does Juk Juk live look like?
Currently it doesn’t look like anything. Right now I simply mix my own tracks when I play out using turntables. I’m still exploring ways of putting it into performance, but I’d love to have a true live set in the near future.
I think I was at the same ATPs that you’ve mentioned attending elsewhere. I thought I was young when I went, but you put me to shame!
Yea I must have been 15 at my first ATP as my parents used to take me and my brothers from a young age.
That makes me sick as a horse! Tell me a funny story…
I bet someone I could stand on an iced-over lake last week. Ruined a nice new pair of shoes and had a sad wet trip home. Come to think of it, this cold is self-inflicted.
I deserve no sympathy.
For more Juk Juk-age go here.
This post first appeared on Spoonfed on 7 march 2012.