In Talks With The British-Ghanaian Musical Mastermind: Juls
23 Jul 2021
A multi-layered musician, an individual at the forefront of the UK music scene, and most importantly a man that is unapologetically African; British-Ghanaian artist, producer, and DJ, Juls is continuing to make a name for himself, and seeing as his catalogue of works is only expanding, so is the audience he’s about to reach, with the drop of Wicked featuring Knucks, Sam Wise and Kadiata, as well as the anticipation he’s building with an exciting project set to release later this year.
So, what did this musical mastermind have to say to Mixtape Madness when the platform sat down to do an In Talks with him?
Can you tell me about your background, and how that has influenced your artistic sound?
I’m born in London – East London to be exact – and was raised in Hertfordshire for a bit as well which is predominantly white so there’s not much musical influence from there, but from East London; it’s given birth to Grime, and other genres have developed from that which include Garage and Funky House. I’d consider those my British influences in terms of music. However, creating music; production, making beats and all of that started when I was in my homeland Ghana – being introduced to High Life and Hip Life, and all sorts of Ghanaian-African genres of music. There’s a wide range of genres that I’ve been exposed to, that influence the way I listen to music and the way I create it.
Where and when did your journey in music begin; how do you find interchanging between being a DJ, an artist and a producer?
I started making beats when I was around 21-22. Being a DJ and an artist, is kind of all interconnected right? So, from the production side, a lot of the records that I make, if it’s not for another artist, it’s for myself. But the way I create them, I envision them in a way where it’s kind of like you’re gonna play these songs in your set and at the same time you’ve made the record in a way where it’s really more about the instrumental aspect in terms of the production, and creating a sound that people are familiar with – or where they’re like, oh this reminds me of Juls.
Your first single Wicked from your upcoming project is set to feature the likes of Knucks, Sam Wise and Kadiata – what is that sounding like?
Wicked which features Kadiata, Knucks – who I’m very close with – and Sam Wise, who is an incredible artist on his own, is a very interesting collaboration. In a sense that it’s kind of unexpected. People are going to wonder what exactly it’s going to sound like. When I was making the beat as well, it’s funny that they’re the first people I thought of because I didn’t want to make it a typical afrobeat record, but at the same time, I just thought, let me add some different elements that would be reminiscent of different things. I didn’t want this work to be commercial so I went with artists that I really love and artists that will do it differently; with flows that will bring the right energy to the song.
How would you say you’re feeling about your project and what can listeners expect from you?
It’s self-explanatory, but at the same time, it’s not. This project is me inviting the world into my brain – sonically, how I hear things, how I try to connect things and blend things. It’s going to be all the influences I’ve grown up on, literally embedded into one whole album – but some of the beats in there have those elements. What really stands out is the African element side of things – for example, there’s a record I have on there that has very strong Afro elements to it but at the same time, somebody who is a fan of Reggae can vibe to it, and someone who is a fan of Dance Hall or a fan of House or RNB – you know, that type of stuff. All the music I’ve grown up on, I’ve used to help me create my own beats and music, but at the same time, it sounds very Juls in this house. Unapologetically African.
So essentially a strong Afro-Fusion?
Yeah, you could call it Afro-Fusion.
Are there any inspirations in terms of sound for your debut project?
I mean who am I really influenced by? I think one of the albums I was listening to religiously the last couple of years was the Kaytranada album BUBBA, and I think what he did – and maybe people haven’t realised –he’s blended his records with Hip-Hop, RNB and Soul, and the beats have a certain bounce that makes you jump and go crazy, which I’ve been so inspired by. Because of the elements he’s included, they have the ability to get you moving around, and that’s what I meant by people wouldn’t think that because they might automatically assume dance music is electronic or EDM, or one of those types of things, but Kaytranada has literally shifted it, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to do. Shift things, and encourage them to be a bit more experimental, and not necessarily follow what the blueprint is set for us to be.
What targets have you got set for your year in music and the future in general?
Oh man. After the album, I want to start producing a lot more for other artists. I’m really trying to get some good cuts in the States. I’ve already cut records for Gold Link and Tyler the Creator, but I’m looking to expand that and do a lot more, so instrumental albums and potentially land well in the industry – it could be anything, but it’s just so I can gain some good experience and learn on the ground as well, just so I can be all-rounded. My main background is finance, that’s what I studied, and I just feel that having that, and working in the field will equip me to land something a lot more massive than where am I right now.