Swiss DJ and producer Juli Lee has been refining her own take on house music for the last five years whilst releasing high-quality material on New York’s legendary King Street label, Symmetric Records, Caballero Records and MYR.
We caught up with Juli Lee to hear about her stellar 6-track release on MYR, the production processes behind releases, and upcoming projects.
Hey Juli, how are things in Switzerland right now?
We’re in a partial shutdown right now. That means only essential services are allowed to be open. But you can still move freely on the street as long as you are not in groups of more than 5 people. The first easing of restrictions is now imminent and there is a strong appeal to the self-responsibility of the population. When smaller clubs will be able to open again is still in the stars. But the morale of the people seems to be quite ok. After all, we do not lack vital resources. I feel very privileged to live in a country like Switzerland.
Your latest project is a mini-LP – can you tell us why doing a longer form project was key for you this time around?
It wasn’t really planned that way, but the tracks were all created in the same period of life and therefore somehow belong together. Together with the label boss of MYR, on which the mini LP is released, we decided not to tear them apart but to release them in this format.
Why did you call it Overrated?
One of the tracks is called Overrated. I think a lot about all the ratings we are exposed to every day and the ratings we give about our environment. Everything is rated and with the number of good ratings, the expectations of the rated increase. This often leads to disappointment and may deprive you of the opportunity to approach something impartially. On the other hand, evaluations often serve as an orientation aid in our society and make it easier for us to make choices in a world of oversupply.
I find it exciting to question myself again and again how much I base my judgement on something on the evaluation of others. The word ‘overvalued’ is itself also a valuation of the judgments of others.
Melody seems to play a huge part in your music and your new release in particular, can you tell us why this element of musicality is important to you in your productions?
I feel that melodies are strong carriers of emotion. They have a multidimensionality that is often missing in our language. Melodies can be used to express facts for which our vocabulary is too poor.
Your music is incredibly detailed too – is this a challenge in terms of how long you need to spend on tracks?
Haha, I always have to be careful not to get lost in a track when I spend hours tinkering with some barely noticeable sound. But I also like details, even if it takes a little more time.
Can you give us a quick run through your processes when writing?
I do this very much on the pleasure principle and always think about what is there right now that wants to get out before I start something new. But often this changes in the working process and the track gets its own dynamic. I give the play instinct a lot of space. Try it out, discard an idea and let myself drift because I believe that more interesting things are created there than if I conceive everything from the beginning and then stick to it strictly.
You’ve worked with the MYR label in the past – what is it about the way the label does things that you like?
MYR is a label that puts a lot of heart and soul into it. The cooperation is cordial, reliable, uncomplicated, and very committed. I don’t take this for granted, because a smaller label means a lot of work and most of it is pro bono.
Outside of the club, what inspires your studio output?
Everything. All kinds of music, conversations, experiences, nature, weather moods, and clouds.
After the release of ‘Overrated’, what’s next?
I still have some remixes in the pipeline that should be released soon and I’m working on new tracks. The track I am currently working on is more percussive and forward. But maybe suddenly some melody will sneak in. Let’s go with the flow.
Juli Lee ‘Overrated’ drops via MYR on 5th June 2020.
Pre-order via Beatport
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