We’re here with Sam Vogel, a.k.a. Jauz, at Royale in the club district of downtown Boston on June 25th, 2016. Chilling backstage in the green room before his set, we discussed his opinion on classifying musical genres, inspiration, and his future endeavors surrounding his growing career. Meanwhile, duo DUDEnGUY are out warming up the crowd.
ASHLEY FELDMAN: What do you have in store for the shark squad tonight? Any new material?
JAUZ: Yeah, I’ve been writing a lot of new material for all my shows. I dropped a bunch of fresh stuff at EDC Las Vegas since it was a pretty big show for me. Since then, I’ve been working to transition that music into my normal sets. Every time I play in Boston it’s a great time so I think I’ll get to incorporate some sounds I don’t usually work with.
AF: Does performing at smaller venues allow you to test out new music before introducing it to larger crowds?
JAUZ: Honestly, I usually do it the other way around. If I’m going to play something new, I’ll just do it at a festival. If it works there, then I’ll bring it to my club shows. I don’t know why that’s just always been my method. During performances, I’ll feel out the vibe of the room. There’s stuff I normally wouldn’t play in a club setting but if it works, it works.
AF: I think it’s pretty safe to say that your dirty vibe and shark persona have taken the world by storm. Where did Jauz come from? How does the theme situate in your life?
JAUZ: I think the whole theme came about because of the name. But Jauz at first had no association with sharks. “Jauz” was a stupid slang word that people used at my high school back home in San Francisco.
AF: What did the word mean?
JAUZ: It was basically another way to say bullshit. If one of your buddies was like “ahh I totally aced that test” you’d be like “Jauz, I know you didn’t study…” When I was trying to come up with a name it was around the time I was talking to someone from my hometown and the word came up. I thought, “you know it’s short, catchy and people might think it has something to do with the shark,” and when I started to get bigger it caught on with followers. At first, I was hesitant about having the shark squad association with my “brand” because it felt kind of cheesy but at the same time, it gave the fans something tangible to attach themselves to, bringing people together and giving them a platform to identify with.
AF: How would you describe your personality and in turn your sound?
JAUZ: My personality comes out in my music. I like all genres and I make a point to put a little bit of everything into my work. The motto/slogan of my brand would be “Music has no Boundaries,” which sends a message that it’s okay to listen to future bass and dubstep and everything in between. For a long time if you wanted to be successful you picked a path and went down it. But now, there’s so much bullshit out there that you have to find your own bubble where no else is. I’m obviously not the first person to come up with the idea, but I’m a proponent of keeping boundaries open. I even apply this idea to my sets. Tonight I plan on opening up with Guns and Roses. In the end, it’s about finding a balance between playing stuff that is popular and music that I want to encourage with the audience. Finding tracks that ease people into different types of sound while still spinning stuff that everyone connects with.
AF: Who are your influencers?
JAUZ: It’s cliche but I always say Skrillex because how are you not going to say Skrillex? He’s the reason we are all here doing what we’re doing. Another one is Kill the Noise, one of my good friends now, but I’m still so inspired by him. Honestly, it’s a hard question because there’re so many people. Rusko & Caspa were probably the beginning for me. The first song I got really attached to was “Woo Boost.”
AF: Having the kind of success and outreach that you do, what has been your most memorable show and why?
JAUZ: EDCLV this year was pretty amazing. I’ve been to EDC for two years now and I was backstage but never performing. Even the first year I got to watch my friends play and some of my music was even being used, but every time I looked at the stage I knew I wanted to be there. So this year getting to play at the main stage, probably the biggest in America, was so humbling and surreal. It left me even more inspired to get back in the studio and make a bunch of crazy shit.
AF: What is the most rewarding part of your career?
JAUZ: The small shit that happens. When we went to Thailand and these kids were waiting at the hotel to meet me. This one kid who runs a trap blog over there reposts all my stuff and he almost broke down in tears when he got the chance to talk to me. I was just like… Yo I’m a normal dude… but he was so sweet and kind. The fact that something that I do can reach that far around the world…there are no words. I could never have imagined.
AF: Within the last year, you released your remix of “Bugatti,” which has seamlessly proven to be a crowd favorite. When you go about putting your spin on a track, what kind of re-arrangement do you tend to go for? What are you listening for?
JAUZ: Honestly that track has proven to be such a hit or miss. People either love it or hate it. I remember when I first started playing it at shows, I’d pull the volume down at the drop to hear the crowd say Bugatti and no one ever would…for that song specifically, I had a roommate who was super into techno and when “Bugatti” first came out, he more or less pressed me into doing a remix on it haha. I hit up my dude from my Mad Decent and asked for the stems and he was already sending them over. I put it together in like a day…I wasn’t so sure he would like what I did but he told me I was the only guy who managed to do this remix without being a p***y about it. But in general, the only time I will remix a song is if I hear a track and I know instantly what I want to do with it. There are lot of people who ask me to work with stuff, but if I’m not inspired by it…I can’t finish it.
AF: What are you most looking forward to in terms of upcoming shows?
JAUZ: I mean it’s festival season so all of that is really exciting. I’m headed out to Paradiso in Seattle, something I’ve looked forward to for years. After that, I head to Europe to do all the festivals out there, which is just a blessing in itself to be able to travel. One of the coolest things about this year is how many times I’m going to Europe, Asia, South America…places I never thought I could travel to as a kid. Playing in America is awesome, but now that I have the ability to go outside the country, it makes the shows in the US that much better. The excitement and energy are that much higher.
AF: Awesome, well thanks for your time Sam, that’s all I have for ya. Looking forward to hearing some of the new stuff you have waiting for us. Good luck with the rest of your travels!