Ujuu takes time to reflect on the past year, his most recent release, and the future of Solace Family.
Driven by a desire for connection and community, Isaac Schaffer, known professionally as Ujuu, sets out to bring about exactly that through every one of his artistic creations. He first became known within the bass music community in 2019 as a humble experimental bass artist from Indiana, growing and evolving throughout the years into a fan favorite on festival lineups like Lost Lands and Sound Haven Festival.
Flash forward to today, and Ujuu has stayed true to his course in bass music and created a platform for like-minded artists via his Solace Family label. Launched in 2020, this collective has already become home to a variety of experimental bass artists, including Wiley, KRYPTT, and RYNS, and it only continues to grow with each passing year.
As he’s hot off two single releases and coming up on an EP release, we were eager to catch up with the rising star to find out what’s coming up next for him. Listen to his exclusive guest mix on SoundCloud and continue reading for our interview with Ujuu!
Stream EDMID Guest Mix 401 || Ujuu on SoundCloud:
Hi Ujuu! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Your most recent release, “Hyperspace,” features elements of freeform bass with a hint of trap undertones. What was running through your mind during the creative process of this track?
I wasn’t really thinking about anything specific until I already had a few songs and ideas down that felt like they were in a similar space sonically. The beats felt very wonky and underground, and I thought they all were utilizing the space between notes as well as sounding space-like. When I first started releasing music, most of my tracks had a dark-toned, trappy vibe and this was a good callback to that.
Speaking of your production process, what does that look like for you? Do you have any habits that help get your creative juices flowing?
When writing, it could be anything that inspires me, to be honest. But I usually start with drums or some kind of melodic element or sample to build the intro. Recently, I’ve been toying with writing around vocals more because I would really like to start making more music with singers and rappers. My creative timeline is very weird due to late-night shows and housing people from Korea for a bit (five months this year), so my hours are a little all over the place. I get a weird boost of creativity from 2-7am and tend to write a lot then. I think it has something to do with the rest of the city around me sleeping, so I can’t be distracted or bothered.
In 2019, you created Solace Family. What vision did you have for the label then, and how has that changed over the years?
For me, Solace Family was always just a way for me to try and build something I could use to boost my friends and help provide opportunities for them as well as shine a light on good, underground music. As it developed and grew, I started utilizing it as a live event and promotional company and a management and booking agency for my friends on the roster. It’s hard to stay on top of all of the little details and keep the momentum going as we have a small team, but I think we’ve learned a lot and figured out where to put our energy as we decide what will push us forward next.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give to artists in the scene who are looking to release on Solace Family or in general?
Our goal at Solace Family has always been to work with producers who have their own unique sound while also being danceable. All we want is for you to be the version of yourself that you want to be and send us what best represents you as an individual. We don’t think about how big an artist is, but I think having some identity and not being afraid to promote yourself and put yourself out there will help us see you for you as well.
Let’s talk about what’s in your rotation these days. Who are some artists currently standing out on your radar?
I listen to a wide range of genres, and to be honest, I don’t usually listen to bass music during my free time. I find myself listening to Medasin, Flume, Machinedrum, Bakey, Supertask, and even some non-electronic music like Smino, Key Glock, Flatbush Zombies, Don Toliver, etc.
Some underground artists I think are killing it and have a defined sound are Criso, DÊTRE, Daggz, eugene, WAYVE, Coubo, Mind Splitter, CESCO, Swomp, SAGZ — the list goes on. I also want to shout out the Solace Family roster (Ryns, Wiley, yum.yum, Saint Miller, and Daizy), as they all make amazing tunes as well.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind with the Ujuu project and Solace?
I hope that by the end of my journey, people will see that I’ve always done everything for a love of music, and I pursued my goals and dreams. I hope that as I grow, I can share my story, and it can inspire others to follow their passions and chase their dreams.
One of my biggest beliefs is that part of why I’m able to do some things I enjoy is that as much as I work on myself, I have always tried to bring others along with me and help others achieve their goals and visions as well. You end up lifting each other up and manifesting things into reality.
Everything that has happened has been through direct verbal manifestation of dreams into reality. I want to continue to go down this path and leave behind a legacy of helping others and loving music.
Looking back on the year so far, what’s been your favorite moment while playing at a festival or club? Was there a specific set that you felt was memorable more than others?
This year of shows has been filled with many highs and lows and some really great memories. It’s very hard to pick just one, but I think out of all the shows and festivals, I can narrow it down to a top three favorite sets for different reasons and in no particular order.
One of my favorite sets was playing on Zingara‘s Astra II tour on her Portland, Oregon, stop at 45 East. The crowd energy was honestly insane, and I think a big part of that is how the fanbase that Zingara built is very open and positive to be around. When I was playing, the intimate vibe and high energy was so contagious the crowd made me feel like I could’ve been the headliner.
Another favorite was on Mersiv’s Out of Bounds tour at Otherworld in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been to this beautiful venue a few times as a fan to enjoy the art and atmosphere, but finally getting to play a set there was unreal. At one point, the fans were singing along to a song of mine called “Chief’n” remixed by Sweater Disco, and it was a wild feeling. It was also a big goal accomplished for me as it was my first time being included on a tour flyer.
Lastly, playing Lost Lands was an incredible and amazing experience, as seeing the music I made and my favorite tunes from friends on such a massive production scale was insane. It was my first time playing a late-night set (3am) on the Subsidia stage, and I think I had a lot of familiar supporters, fans, and friends there. I also heard stories of people stumbling into my set after the mainstage was shut off for the night.
It’s so amazing to share these moments with my close friends, family (my mom and dad came), and my team. They have supported me at some very small venues and festivals and then gotten to see what we’ve worked at building during such a large production. It’s truly surreal and doesn’t feel real at times.
Finally, looking ahead to 2024, what goals do you hope to achieve in the new year?
In 2024, I hope to make some of the best tunes I’ve ever made and collaborate with more artists and creators than I ever have. And just not allowing myself or my ego to get in the way of the creative process. I want to focus more on healthy eating, working out more, and focusing on meditation and yoga to build a more consistent lifestyle, which will aid in allowing me to make better artistic choices and grow in this journey. Lastly, I hope to get back into building a community around Ujuu and Solace Family and get back to throwing more events.