Hailing from the stark and unyielding deserts of the southwestern United States, Arizona-based techno artist, Juheun, has emerged from the dust as one of the most exciting talents to break onto the American techno circuit over the past few years. Following slew of impressive career releases on Octopus and Set About over the past few years, the iconic American-Korean techno producer’s latest release saw him make his long awaited debut on Simina Grigoriu’s Kuukou Records, with the remarkable Instant Communication EP.
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. We caught up with him to find out more!
Hi there Steven! Where can we find you right now?
Hello! I’m siting in my nice and cold studio with the AC blasting in sunny Phoenix Arizona where its currently 101F/38C outside.
How did you start your day?
The same as everyday, with a big fat joint. Lol
How would you define the sound of your latest work on Kuukou? What is the concept behind it?
I’m a big fan of all things space exploration, science, tech, and future. I try and incorporate as much of these ideas, visions and concepts into my music. I think the latest term is cosmic techno, but for me techno is all these things in one. That’s what draws me to it so much.
In my latest release for Kuukou, it ended up turning into what I think is the perfect soundtrack for traveling through space and exploring the furthest outer reaches of our galaxy. It just so happens that the vocal sample “Push a few buttons and instant communication” works so well with this concept even though that was a last minute un planned addition to the track. Almost by accident I heard the sample one night while watching TV during a commercial break. It’s from an old 70’s TV series about police detectives and one of the main characters said this line and instantly knew I had to have it for the track. It was perfect and really helped solidify the idea/concept even further. When I listen to the track now and hear that sample, I think of an astronaut in space somewhere sending a message back to earth. It couldn’t have been more perfect!
What artists are you interested in these days?
When it comes to fresh new artsits, I’ve been jamming the likes of Modeā, Frank Arvonio, Tomas Otero, Decoder, Jay York to name a few.
When it comes to the OGs, I’m always dropping tracks from Drunken Kong, Michelle Sparks, Heerhorst, Alberto Ruiz, Wehbba, SUDO, M. Fukuda, Lilly Palmer, Brennen Grey, Pleasurekraft etc.
If you could collaborate with anybody dead or alive, who would it be?
That’s a tough one! If we are talking dance music, I’d have to say Stephan Bodzin or Jon Hopkins would top my list. I think the names speak for themselves lol.
What’s the music scene like in Arizona right now?
The scene here has been going strong since the mid 90s, but comes in waves. I think we are in the 4th wave at the moment. The current wave has been holding pretty steady in the EDM, House, Bass House genres and has been catering to a younger demographic with festival plays and friendlier outdoor type venues/bars promotions.
As far as the underground/techno scene, myself and partner Michelle Sparks have been hosting events under our brand ‘Circuit’ over the past decade, but as of recently it’s really been gaining a lot of steam. Ever since the pandemic and lockdowns etc, we’ve noticed a big shift in the scene. It’s starting to feel like people are ready for something a bit more stripped back and underground. Circuit has been using this as an opportunity to do a bit of a reset to the community and have been curating smaller events like private warehouse invite only parties with a limited capacity and venues with a more intimate vibe with proper sound and minimal production. Phoenix has always had a steady underground scene in general, but there’s been an influx of new heads that are growing out of the festival rave scene and wanting more of an adult experience with like minded individuals.
Any local artists we should be keeping our eyes on?
Our resident DJs for Circuit include Jörgen, Mullen, and Xero… keep an eye out for them. Were grooming them for greatness!
Favorite club you’ve ever played in?
Honestly its a shame but some of my all time favorite venues I’ve had the chance to play at don’t exist anymore, but if I had to pick it would be a close one between either Exchange in LA, or Contact in Tokyo which is actually closing its doors for the final time.
Finally, can you tell us something about your future projects?
More music on the way including some stuff that’s a bit more on the raw hypnotic side as well as the usual peak time drivers. I’m also in the midst of putting together my next version of the live set with 100% all my own material and a few bits of analog gear with a few extra surprises. It’s been some time now since I toured with the live setup, so I’m ready to give the DJing a bit of a break and get back the the live atmosphere again.