The MMIBTY Interview with DJ, Producer, and Professor Juheun [BPM 2017 Preview]

Today I have the pleasure of bringing you an interview with up-and-coming Techno producer/DJ Juheun. Juheun has been an adjunct professor at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and has been teaching courses on Electronic Music production and history, and DJing for the past two years. He currently runs three courses per semester:

MUC 137 Digital DJ
MUC 237 Electronic Dance Music Production
MTC 191 Electronic Music

Originally coming in as a guest speaker in 2008, Juheun now shares his knowledge on Ableton Live 9, Traktor Scratch ProSerato DJ, Pioneer Rekord Box, and much more to his studentsOver the summer he released his ‘Acceleration’ EP on Octopus Recordings (press release here).

Octopus Recordings hosts its label showcase at The BPM Festival 2017 on January 13th, which now features OVER 100 ARTISTS and more to be added! For more info click the link below and get your tickets now!

The BPM Festival 2017 
Showcase: Octopus Recordings
Date: Friday, January 13, 2017
Venue: La Santanera
Ramiro Lopez
Shelley Johannson (MMIBTY): You’re a professor at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona. Who approached who? Did you have to pitch the idea of teaching students about electronic music?

Juheun: I’ve been teaching at SCC for a little over 3 years now. I was originally approached by the department director Rob Wegner who was the founder of the the entire DJ program in 2001. I started off as a guest speaker in one of his classes, “Digital DJing.” Rob would have me guest speak about my DJ setup, and hardware I use for my gigs. Eventually that led to him asking if I would like to co-teach the class with him. After a year or so of doing that, the school asked if I would be interested in teaching a few other classes in the department. Currently I teach Electronic Music 1, Digital DJ, and Electronic Dance Music Production. Overall, the school has been very receptive to integrating the DJ program into the music department and continuing to expand it over the years.

MMIBTY: Back when I was growing up in the 90s and early 2000s you didn’t hear much of electronic music production and history classes but today it seems to be a rapidly growing education topic. Are your classes in high demand?
Juheun: It’s pretty crazy to see how far things have come. When I started doing this stuff in the late ‘90s, I would have killed to take a class about this stuff, and to have an entire program based around DJing would have been totally amazing! This is another reason why I felt that I needed to be a part of this historical time. I love sharing my knowledge with others who share the same passion for this stuff as I do. Our classes are offered both in the spring and in the fall, and classes are always full. I think it also helps that in 2014, the program received accreditation from the U.S. Department of Education. Which means the credits you earn in these classes can transfer to any other universities/degree programs. We are actually the first in the country to offer a program like this.

MMIBTY: What qualifies you to teach electronic production and history?
Juheun: My years of experience and dedication to the art of DJing and producing.

MMIBTY: When you’re not in the classroom, you’re in the studio or on stage. What are some of your biggest career accomplishments as a musical artist?
Juheun: Honestly I look at it as an accomplishment of sorts to even be able to do this for a living on a day-to-day basis. It’s not easy getting to a level where you can maintain doing what you love, but I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to continue to do it. I think I’ve definitely had some pivotal moments in my years though, being able to teach on a professional level and share my knowledge with the next generation and the most recent would be signing to Octopus Recordings.

MMIBTY: What are some of your career aspirations as a musical artist?
Juheun: I just want to continue to create music and enjoy what I’m doing. I think having the ability to just do what I love on a day-to-day basis is enough for me. Everything else will fall into place.

MMIBTY: Who are some of your musical heroes, past or present, in the electronic realm or elsewhere?
Juheun: I’ve really grown to admire some of the earlier pioneers of electronic music. Bebe and Louis Baron for example, are known for taking recordings of custom circuits that Louis built and recording them down to magnetic tape. They took the avant garde “Musique Concrete” to the next level and helped shape the earlier sounds of film and TV by taking on projects like “Forbidden Planet” and creating the first entirely electronic soundtrack. They are also known as the first to write electronic music to magnetic tape.

I’m also really into the guy who invented the Theremin, Lev Termen. He was a Russian and Soviet inventor that created this amazing electronic music instrument that was one of the world’s first mass produced electronic instruments. The Theremin was also one of the first instruments that Bob Moog ever constructed and started selling early on in his career.

MMIBTY: As a professor you’re literally spending time with the future of electronic music. What are you seeing? What are you hearing?
Juheun: I think that’s one of the coolest things about it, I get to hear and see what these kids are into right now. I feel like it’s important as a musician to know what’s going on outside of just your inner realm whether you like it or not, because…as you said, they are the next generation. It’s inspiring to see how motivated and excited these guys are. So many times I’m caught in a conversation in the club or at one of my gigs with someone talking about how things just aren’t the same any more etc etc…it’s kind of a bummer sometimes to hear that. Part of the reason why electronic music resonated with me so much, was the fact that it was modern and forward thinking. A lot of what these kids are digging and trying to make is that next sound…the newest freshest beats that people are into now, and isn’t that what the future is about? I do get an occasional student who is into the earlier stuff as well, but then after speaking to them, you quickly realize that it’s not new to them, they are a seasoned listener of dance music. It’s refreshing to see their enthusiasm and their desire to learn about what they’re so passionate about.

MMIBTY: What is the most important instrument in the electronic music world?
Juheun: The human.

MMIBTY: Who’s going to be the breakout star of 2017?
Juheun: I’m not a psychic so I’m not the one to ask 😉

MMIBTY: What’s the electronic scene like in Arizona?
Juheun: Arizona has a thriving electronic scene and has had one ever since I’ve been here. It’s definitely seen some shifts and cycles, but the overall dance music scene has been thriving for years. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have so many driven promoters and supporters of the scene. The past few years have seen some really big electronic music festivals begin to hit Arizona, which has helped to fuel the growth of new and younger listeners. Though most of these events are more on the mainstream side of things, we’ve seen a surge of younger kids supporting more underground type of events more and more.

MMIBTY: What city/state/country embraces Minimal Techno the most?
Juheun: From what I’ve seen, every major city in America currently has some sort of underground movement that has been cultivating for years. The rest of the cities in-between may not have a good scene or scene at all, but nowadays, it’s not that hard to find the true underground heads traveling a few hours to attend events outside of these outer suburbs and rural areas. As far as the rest of the world, I’ve been to a handful of areas including Mexico for BPM, Amsterdam for ADE, and have heard from my labelmates like Weska that Canada has been holding it down as well.

MMIBTY: What gets you out of bed every day?
Juheun: Knowing that it’s a fresh start and a new day. I enjoy seeing what the next day has in store for me, there always seems to be surprises.

MMIBTY: What do you listen to when you have a pounding headache and you just can’t do Techno at the time?
Juheun: Silence.

MMIBTY: You’re trapped on a desert island with one producer. The desert island happens to contain a studio – and that means you’re going to create music. Who do you want to be stranded with?
Juheun: Wow, that’s a tough one…but I’d have to say either Phil Spector or Quincy Jones. Phil because he was such a madman in the studio, and all the stories I’ve read and heard about the guy are insane. Not to mention he developed the “Wall of sound” and learning recording techniques from such a madman would be priceless.

and…Quincy well…I shouldn’t have to even explain myself there.

MMIBTY: If you had to describe your music as a car – what make/model would it be?
Juheun: That’s easy, an all blacked out Delorean from the movie ‘Back to the Future.’ I’m talking stealth mode, flat black paint with black wheels. Now that’s my kind of time machine!

MMIBTY: Have we heard of any of your students? Are they making a name for themselves?
Juheun: We’ve seen some amazing and talented kids enter the program. What’s great is they are all very humble and take things day-by-day. The majority of them are making waves in the local scene and just waiting for their chance to breakthrough. I don’t doubt that we will be seeing many of them rise to that next level. It’s only a matter of time.

MMIBTY: Hobbies outside of music?
Juheun: I’m really into all things ‘media’ related and have been ever since I was a kid. I lucked out because my parents always supported me as far as getting me a computer early on. So when I was younger I was able to spend a lot of time tinkering around with Photoshop, film editing, and of course music. That has carried over to today when I still enjoy spending my spare time doing these activities. I also like cars and I’m a bit of a futurist.