Jauz: Dangerous Waters

Jauz isn’t letting the fact that his Dangerous Waters tour was cut short stop him connecting to his fans to share his producing tips. The self-professed ‘music producer who happens to DJ for a living’ shares why it’s no longer about creating the sickest sounds, but about getting his ideas down as quickly as possible.

Speaking to Headliner from his mother in law’s house in Orange County, Jauz is finding the lockdown period a little surreal:

“It's now at the point where if you go outside, you don't see anyone who isn't wearing a mask, which is kind of scary, but it's also actually really great because that means that people are listening and they're doing what we need to do. We went to the grocery store today, and a couple of weeks ago it would have been hundreds and hundreds of people fighting for every know, fucking real apocalypse shit! Now it's just empty.”

When not queuing for household essentials, Jauz (real name Sam Vogel) can normally be found behind the decks on a punishing tour schedule as an in-demand DJ, although he notes that he is a producer first. Before going by ‘Jauz,’ he went by the name ‘Escape Dubstep’ – making a name for himself for his remixes and catching the attention of fellow musician Kennedy Jones, followed by DJs, Diplo, Skrillex and Borgore.

Despite having an apartment in LA, after his Dangerous Waters tour was cut short, Jauz immediately knew that it wasn’t where he wanted to spend the lockdown period:

“I hadn't been home to my place in LA for three months, so I was excited to go back,” he insists. “For quarantine I was like, ‘cool, I have everything I need there; it will be fine’. Within about 20 minutes of getting to LA, I looked around and I was like, ‘I love my place, but it's a tiny loft apartment; I'm not getting locked in here for however long’. So I brought all my production and streaming gear to my mother in law's house!

"We're very fortunate to be able to be here because we have a backyard, a pool and the dogs are happy, my wife is happy, and I get to do what I want to do. After being on the road for three months straight, I'm not really that mad at being home, but I just wish it was under better circumstances.”

I am a music producer who happens to DJ for a living.

The last time Headliner caught up with Jauz was at the EDC festival in Orlando, where he was powering through despite being very sick.

“Oh yeah! I was definitely very sick” he remembers, laughing. “And not only did I fly to Orlando for that show, but I then did an after party. Then with no sleep after the after party we flew straight to San Diego for a friend's wedding. That was definitely a rough one! I don't wish that pain on anybody. I was just hopped up on DayQuil and fucking Advil, and all things considered, it could have gone a lot worse! That was not fun, but you know what I get to do? What I've dreamed about doing for a living since I was eight years old. So I really can't complain.”

Today, Jauz’s thoughts are very much with everyone affected by the cancellations of festivals and concerts, from the promoters, to the artists, to the fans who may be struggling for money when live music is brought back into our lives. To give something back during lockdown, he has stepped up the regularity of ‘Demo Roulette,’ the “meat and potatoes” of the idea being that aspiring producers send him their Ableton song projects, after which he picks one using a random number generator and works on the track on a live stream as a way of collaborating with that person.

Although he admits he makes 90% of his income from DJing, Jauz is very much a producer at heart:

“I'm a music producer who happens to DJ for a living,” he agrees. “I'm a music nerd. I love music production. I love the technicality of it. I've also always been a really big video game nerd, so I wanted to combine those two worlds because live streaming has become such a popular thing. There are a lot of producers out there, and I learned so much of what I know from watching YouTube tutorials.”

However, he does warn that things can get very technical:

“There are a lot of fans that come by and want to watch the stream, and they just don't understand what's going on. It's like if a scientist was doing a live stream and talking about fucking molecules and neurons,” he laughs. “I do understand that it's a bit niche; it's not as digestible as me just sitting there and doing a DJ set or something. I learned so much from other guys that put their knowledge and their information out on the internet for us to learn from, so I wanted to pay it back in that aspect.”

The reason he is so keen on Ableton is because he finds it so much more informative: “I can go in and see why they did certain things. I can understand what their thought process was and I can really help them further along. It's basically like getting to invite people into a studio session in a way that they would never have access to.”