Jauz gives us the lowdown on his latest bass-heavy album, WRATH OF THE WICKED, and looks back at how far he’s come as an artist.
Jauz has become a mainstay in the scene over the past decade. Known for exploring various genres and constantly pushing his creative boundaries, he’s built quite a loyal fanbase over the years as he’s traveled the world, played countless sets, started his label Bite This!, and, more recently, became a father. Throughout all he does, one can really notice his dedication to his craft and desire to portray the best version of himself.
Since putting out his debut album five years ago, Jauz has impressed even further by showcasing his wide range of production capabilities. From heavy dubstep releases to drum and bass, house, bass house, and much more, the genres continue in Jauz’s arsenal of releases. Earlier this summer, fans were treated to the full-length album Rise Of The Wise, exploring a more house-fueled side of the producer. Now, Jauz navigates duality with the second part of his project, the harder sounds of his WRATH OF THE WICKED album.
With plenty of tracks to bring out your inner headbanger, like the grimy sounds of “CHAOS” and massive beats in “MIND CONTROL,” Jauz completes what he set out to do with both album drops this year. Before he picks up even more speed and embarks on his upcoming Wise vs. Wicked Tour, we thought we should catch up with him, get the scoop on his latest LP, his production style, life as a new dad, and much more. Keep on reading for our interview with Jauz!
Stream Jauz – WRATH OF THE WICKED on Spotify:
Hey Jauz, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! WRATH OF THE WICKED is coming out on the fifth anniversary of your debut album, The Wise and The Wicked. How would you describe your production style evolving over the past five years? Did you notice any difference in the way you approached this album versus your first album?
I feel like I will probably give this same answer five years from now when I’m talking about these albums, but in general I just feel like I’ve grown up a lot as a person and a producer. The whole creative process is really crazy to me when you actually break it down and think about it – five years ago, I was deep in the thick of finishing this massive 23-track album. I listened to every song a thousand times and was absolutely convinced all of them were smash hits. Now, five years later, I can listen back to basically every song on the album and say, yeah, that’s where I went wrong there or I can’t believe I thought this song sounded finished. And I’m sure it will happen again this time.
You learn so much over the span of five years, your ears get so much better, and so on and so forth. But overall, the main goal I had when approaching creating a “follow up” to TWATW was to lean into what I felt were the strengths of the concept of the album and, for lack of a better term, cut out the bullshit. I knew I really wanted to expand on each “World” of the album more in-depth and give them their own space to shine in versus lumping everything together. I also knew that I wanted to focus more on each album having a really cohesive sound and not worry so much about the cinematics, etc. As of right now, I think I delivered pretty well on my goals, but again, you’ll have to check back with me in 2028. [Laughs]
WRATH OF THE WICKED offers a selection of absolutely massive bass and drum and bass-fueled tracks. It also follows Rise Of The Wise, which dropped this past summer and explores a more house-driven side to your project. Were there any tracks on the album that were a real challenge to produce or went through many versions before we heard the final product?
The weird thing is that normally, before I put a song out, I generally have it in my live sets for a long time, test it out, iterate on it, etc. For both of these albums, a large chunk of each of them I had never played at shows. I’m not really sure why, to be honest. But I also thought it was kind of cool having all of these gems sitting in the dark, where people could really hear them for the first time instead of having already heard them 100 times in sets in person or on the internet. The problem that gave me, though, is that I basically had to hope that they would work live. Never a great feeling. But for whatever reason, I felt some sort of preciousness with these projects and didn’t want to spoil anything too soon.
Another big challenge for both projects is that every record is solo – no collaborations, which was a huge part of the original TWATW album. I actually kind of made that a focal point of these albums, that I wanted to put out JAUZ records, not “Jauz and” records. But that means that everything fell on my shoulders. There was definitely a lot of second-guessing myself, slamming my head against the wall, etc. But at the end of the day, I stand by all the records on both albums and am proud of how they ended up.
Did you explore any new methods or tactics to progress your sounds on either of these albums? Did you finish one and wrap up the other, or work on both simultaneously?
It was a bit of back and forth, I think – gathered together all the demos for each project, figured out which ones should make the cut and which ones wouldn’t, decided what each album needed in terms of completely new songs, and then kind of attacked them chronologically from that standpoint. Normally, I would use the album writing process as an opportunity to really try to “reinvent the wheel,” so to speak, with new synths, plugins, etc. But I actually tried to do the opposite this time – buckle down, stick to my guns, and use whatever plugins, techniques, etc., felt right in the moment to get it done. I think limiting yourself a bit can help creatively because you have to figure out how to use the same things in new and fresh ways.
You’re about to embark on the Wise vs. Wicked Tour with two entirely new experiences — the wise show and the wicked show. If they can, should fans go to both shows to get the full experience, or is that not necessary? Besides the difference in genres played, are there any other standouts between both types of shows?
That’s absolutely the goal of this tour: to have all the fans come to both shows, not just one. I understand that there are probably plenty of fans that maybe only want to see the Wise (housier) show or the Wicked (Heavier) show, and of course, money is a factor, but we really tried to make this tour accessible enough for both through venue size and ticket price so that financially it wouldn’t really feel too limiting.
At the end of the day, the main idea I want to get across to fans is that whichever show you go to, or if you go to both, you’re going to get a completely new Jauz live show experience that I can almost assure you they haven’t seen before. And that’s really exciting to me. This is just the genesis of this concept, something we’ll be developing over the course of the next couple of years, so I’m stoked to see how fans respond and watch it grow.
The last time we spoke in 2017, you had recently launched your label Bite This! and debuted its first album, Off The Deep End Volume One. How has all the success of the label been for you since then? What has been the most rewarding part since starting your label, and what’s been the most challenging aspect?
I think the coolest thing about having a label is that we’ve been able to help expose so many artists from all corners of the planet to a ton of fans and listeners they probably wouldn’t have been able to reach prior. I really focused on putting out as much music as possible for a long time with as many different artists as possible via Bite This, and we definitely succeeded in that for a long time.
As it’s the five-year anniversary of TWATW, I am essentially considering this year the five-year anniversary of Bite This as a label as well. We actually have kind of gone dark as far as releases for a while because I spent a lot of time thinking about the direction the label has gone and what steps we can take to really take it to the next level and become the brand that I want it to be. I don’t want to spoil too much just yet, but there’s been a ton of work around BT going on in the background, and pretty soon, it’s going to be back and truly better than it’s ever been.
You recently welcomed a baby shark of your own with your wife Joann (Congratulations!). How has parenthood and this next step in your lives been for you both?
Everyone says this after they have a kid, but it’s seriously just been amazing. You can’t really describe what it’s like until there’s a little person staring back at you that you helped create. It’s fuckin nuts. I think it’s really helped me put many things into perspective, realize what is actually important to me, and essentially help me cut out the bullshit and focus on what matters most.
Finally, reflecting back over your entire career thus far, what has been your biggest life lesson or takeaway since starting your journey as Jauz?
That’s a really tough question. I could probably spend hours talking to the 2014 version of myself, giving him every piece of advice on what to do and what not to do, what mistakes to avoid, etc. But ever since having a kid, I’ve been able to be a lot more introspective than I have been for the last nine years of my life, and at the end of the day, I’ve essentially completely lived my dream. I’ve made a lifelong career out of my true passion, visited more places in the span of a few years than most people will ever see in their lives, hit pretty much every milestone I set for myself when I was a kid, and so on and so forth.
So every time I feel like I’m not enough or I’m not doing enough, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to be in the position I am. At the same time, though, I’m still not even close to satisfied. I may be nine years into my career and technically an “old head” as far as music industry standards go, but I still feel like I’m just at the very beginning of my career, and I have a whole lot more work and goals ahead of me.