With Juliane Wolf having new music out now on A Must Have we catch up with her for the latest episode of 12 Questions.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
Juliane Wolf: I’m 29 years old and living in Berlin. DJing I started already in 2008, I first opened a DAW around 5 years ago and experimented. My first EP was released in 2015. So you see it is a long journey in music.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously?Was a career in music always the only objective, were you interested in anything else as a life journey? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
Juliane Wolf: It may sound surprising, but my musical roots are rather dark and lie in the EBM and dark wave of the 90ies and early 2000s, and yes, I also looked like that when I was a teenager. My favourite band at this time was the German duo Deine Lakaien with the synth and modular lover Ernst Horn – I think I always had a passion for synths 😉 This sound really still influences me in my music, I think this is one reason why it’s sometimes so melancholic.
Until 2015 I was studying linguistics, I have a master’s degree. I wanted to work as a PR agent in corporate communications or an agency. When I finished my studies, I worked at an agency for one year. At this time I recognized that it was not the right thing for me, I always wanted to make music. After one year I didn’t want to extend my contract there, left the agency and from then on only worked in any job I could get, but it had to be part-time, because I wanted to concentrate on music. I got to know many people – for example I worked as a sales assistant in a cosmetics store, which was really crazy.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Juliane Wolf: Of course when I started producing, it was a completely new world opening up to me. Luckily I already hat piano lessons in my childhood which still help me in my production process. But I don’t think it’s necessary to come from a musical background when you want to produce electronic music. My equipment was also not so good and I produced my first releases on really low quality equipment, but you see, it’s possible 🙂 progress as an artist. In 2012 did one production course with the great artist Jonas Woehl who already released on labels such as Get Physical which helped me a lot at that time. But besides that class, I was more a fan of ‘learning by doing’.
When it comes to the questions of persons who helped and inspired me, I have to thank many people 🙂 One of them was Robert Babicz for sure – when we met in 2015, because he thought although I was really unexperienced he liked the ideas of my productions and asked me to do a remix for him on his label Babiczstyle (it was released under my former alias Ayana Blume). He still is a big supporter of my music and I’m really thankful for that! Another label family who supported me was My Favourite Freaks owner M.in who invited me to his studio to do a collab with him at the end of 2015. As a result, our collab track ‘Forever’ was released on his album ‘The Year Of The Ape’ in 2016. Another friend and supporter is the Dutch producer Sounom who invited me to do a remix for him which was released on Cinematique in 2015 and in return did a remix for my ambient and downtempo EP which was released on the upcoming German label Kamarad Meyer Musik. These are only three people, there are a lot more to mention, and I thank everyone of them!
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
Juliane Wolf: In my first years of producing, I had problems with getting the sounds I made into a track, which means the arrangement was a problem. Also finding out how to achieve a really clean mix was difficult at first – I heard that there was a problem with it, but I just didn’t know how to solve it which can be really annoying 🙂 but if you stick to it you will get it, I think it’s just a thing of trial and error and being very, very patient!
5. You have a new remix of Pacco & Rudy B out this week on A Must Have. Tell us how you approached writing the track, how the relationship with A Must Have began and what’s coming later this year from you?
Juliane Wolf: At the beginning of February I got an email with the remix request from Jaksa, the label owner of A Must Have. He told me that he loved my remix of Más track ‘A l’Antiboise’ on MNL and because of that he asked me to do the remix of ‘Coral Castle’ by Pacco & Rudy B. When I first listened to the original track, I was overwhelmed by the richness of the sound and the harmonies. I was really moved by the track and I thought, of course I want to remix it, let’s start immediately.
My approach in the remix process always is to keep the main parts of the original, but adding my own kind of flavour to it. In case of ‘Coral Castle’ I added a housy bassline with short sawtooth sound and as I’m a big fan of harmonies and strings which people might notice in my music, I even added a new harmony to the already harmonic track 🙂 I did that with string sounds of course.
I have been busy in the studio the last months 🙂 My recent EP has just come out on Monday 8 May – my EP ‘Live the life of your dreams’ was released on The Plot Music. It is a housy release, even with some vocals. More upcoming releases are an EP on the German label Treibjagd Records, a remix for Stephan Funkmann on No Subject Beatz, another EP on Tonboutique Records (also from Germany) and, a track on a Cinematique compilation, and last but definitely not least, a 5 track ambient EP on Amber Long’s brand new label Honey Drops – I’m a big lover of ambient and downtempo sound and I’m very excited about this release.
6. You’ve had a long standing relationship with Paul Hazendonk’s Manual Music label family, which includes MNL and Cinematique. All three labels have showcased your music, what makes working with Paul and his labels so special?
Juliane Wolf: That’s true, I even remixed a tracks by my friend Sounom already in 2015 which was released on Cinematique. This was the first time where I got in contact with this lovely label family.
What I really love about Paul and Robin (label head of Cinematique) – except of the sound – is how they support young, new artists. I would recommend every ‘newcomer’ to send your demos to them, if you think the sounds fit to one of their labels.
7. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effect on your own productions and what makes your music so distinctive sounding?
Juliane Wolf: Now I have to look into my playlists… oh, there is a lot of electronic music actually, but I also love indie rock stuff, for example from Belle and Sebastian, Kasabian, Mandio Diao and The Notwist (I’m a big fan of them). One of my favourite albums is ‘Quadrophenia’ by The Who, I think it’s a real masterpiece. Besides that, I really love Krautrock which I sadly didn’t really discovered until last year. This music really takes you to fantastic places!
And it’s a difficult question, what makes my sound special .. When I was a child I got a diagnosis with some genetical failures, I just had a talk with Lonya who told me that my head maybe works different than others because of them 😉 maybe that’s true, I don’t know it because I don’t know it another way 🙂 Smiling at the moment.
8. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
Juliane Wolf: If you ask me about the VERY first record I bought, I have to say that it was the album ‘The Arrival’ by ABBA – I love them since I was a small child (my aunt is a big fan of them) and the production was very good when you think of the time when the music was made.
The last CD/record I bought … this one is really, really difficult. I think I have to mention something digital – my last online purchase was the track ‘How Far Can I Go’ by Boris Werner. I already have the vinyl of the Boris Werner album, but I needed it in a digital form and didn’t have a record player to digitize it.
9. What five tracks are you currently loving at the moment?
Juliane Wolf: I really love the track ‘Frenzy’ by Serge Devant – Lonya played it last weekend in Berlin and the groove just blew me away.
Something really different and touching is the last EP by Robert Babicz released on Armadillo Records – Above All The Colours.
The remix which Más did for my track Reunion and will be released on the Seasons | Spring collection on Manual Music on 15 May is very nice – reminds me of acid sound of the 90ies!
I also love the remix of my track ‘Urban Hideout’ by Wolfgang Lohr which will be released on Treibjagd Records soon.
An artist I like very much at the moment is Alessandro Diga – I love his new EP on MNL, I played this track ‘Skies Are Crying’ on the last episode of my ‘Resonance’ radio show on Frisky Radio.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
Juliane Wolf: At the moment I especially love the DJ sets of the two ‘Guys’ from Tel Aviv – Guy J and Guy Mantzur and also from Lonya, label head of Asymmetric Records. Just saw Guy Mantzur and Lonya DJing this weekend in Berlin and it was a very great night! And of course Robert Babicz great versatile music still inspires me a lot, especially his atmospheric ambient sounds – one example is his release on Guy J’s new experimental label Armadillo Records ‘Above All The Colours’.
Except the music from other artists I get my inspirations mostly from emotions, because music is a way to convert even sadness into something beautiful to make people happy with, which I think is an amazing fact. At the moment I have a rather stressful life because besides my music I have a side job and I’m really full with impressions at the moment. In music I can find a recovery of that, it’s real meditation for me.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound like you have, what advice do you have for them?
Juliane Wolf: No matter what you think, always stick to your own characteristical sound, because this is what makes you special as an artist. The second advice which is really important is, don’t worry if it takes a lot of time to get the right results you want or if you get no response to the first demos you are sending. Production is a long process and takes time and can be really exhausting at some moments.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
Juliane Wolf: I had to think a little bit about this, but I think my last track would be my ambient track “Universe Of You And Me” which was released on Kamarad Meyer Musik in October 2016. For me it symbolizes pure love, the most important thing in the world which connects us all and I think this could be the best message to give at the end of a musical journey (which I hope will never really come).
Juliane’s remix of ‘Coral Castle’ by Pacco & Rudy B is out now on A Must Have, you can purchase the release: here