Hailing from the stark and unyielding deserts of the southwestern United States, Arizona-based techno artist, Juheun, has emerged from the dust as one of the most exciting talents to break onto the American techno circuit over the past few years.

Following the huge international success of his immense four-part Acceleration EP on Octopus Recordings back in 2016, the hotly-tipped producer has become a regular fixture on the esteemed LA-based ever since, consistently pushing boundaries with his unique brand of mind-bending techno and unrelenting, avant-garde soundscapes.

A permanent resident for Octopus’ hugely successful on-going Twitch livestreaming programme, and with numerous critically-acclaimed releases clocked on the label since signing five years ago, Juheun recently unveiled one of the biggest releases of his career to date — an official remix for Dusty Kid’s iconic 2007 hit-record, Constant Rising. We caught up with Juheun from his home in Phoenix to talk about the new remix, his favourite pieces of studio kit, the nightlife scene in Arizona and more.

Hello Steven, welcome to Techno Mood! How are you?
I’m good! Thanks for having me.

Please can you introduce yourself?
I’m a Dj and Producer from Phoenix, Arizona USA. I specialize in techno and underground electronic dance music.

Where does your artist name Juheun come from?
It’s actually my given middle name and my Korean first name. I decided to to go by that as kind of an homage to my parents. They immigrated to America from South Korea right after they got married and a year before I was born.

Who or what were your biggest musical influences growing up?
I think my biggest influence was my Dad. He was always into music ever since I could remember. He had a small record collection that had the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince, Rolling Stones just to name a few. He actually took me to my first concerts when I was younger. The Bridges to Babylon Tour with The Rolling Stones and Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope Tour.

For whatever reason he always was so supportive when it came to anything music related. It wasn’t until I got older and started to tour as a DJ that my mom let the secret out. I remember getting booked to play in Egypt and my mom was so surprised that someone would actually pay to have me come DJ, that she finally told me my father actually used to DJ in coffee shops in Korea before they moved to the States. This is something my parents never ever told me about growing up. It was always focus on school, become a doctor or a lawyer, and don’t do anything that will shame the family lol. I was shocked, mind-blown, and finally it all made sense to me lol.

Congratulations on your new remix for Dusty Kid – Constant Rising. An iconic track to say the least. Can you talk to us about the record?
Thank you! Yes it’s always been a bucket list of mine to remix some of my favorite producers and tracks. When I was asked about doing the remix, I literally was jumping out of my seat and screaming like a school girl in my head but held it together lol. It’s not often you get asked to remix one of your all time favorite producers and songs at the same time lol. I remember being a little nervous because it was right around the start of the lockdown, and I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to give this one a proper road test. Soon as I got the stems I got to work and the track literally just started coming together. It was pretty crazy to be honest. Everything I added and tried just seemed to work out, I had to stop midway through the studio session and leave the room cause it was starting to freak me out how nicely everything was coming together lol.

Even though I didn’t get a chance to give it a proper test in the club, I feel like that’s what makes this remix extra special. With lockdown in full effect and gigs completely done, we quickly adapted to the whole live streaming movement on Twitch. Our label boss Sian saw a big opportunity, didn’t waste anytime and shifted the labels focus on creating a new channel. From that point we jumped head first into doing loads of live streaming on Twitch. This was our only outlet for DJing but it also gave me a chance to test run the record during the lockdown. So I was literally able to virtually test the record in real time and see peoples reactions through the chat. It was a crazy feeling the first time I dropped it, almost surreal.

Talk to us about your relationship with Octopus Recordings. How did you connect with Sian in the first instance?
Oh man, what a journey it has been lol. Ive been throwing events here in Phoenix for years now and one of them is a yearly after-hours party every year on New Years Day that starts at 3am and goes till 10am. Sian was one of my first guests I booked for one of the first parties. This of course led to booking him a few more times. Naturally we started to develop a friendship and eventually this led to meeting up with him in other events and destinations that he was playing. One year for Amsterdam Dance Event we were all hanging out at his loft before his gig. He asked me to play some music and handed me the aux cord. I tossed on a random playlist in my iTunes and eventually one of my records that I had been working on started playing. I was totally unintentional but it must have caught his ear because he asked what song was playing. Well the rest is history as they say lol.

We understand you’re based in Phoenix, Arizona. Can you tell us about the electronic music scene there?
Yes, definitely. We have a really great dance music scene here that has been building for sometime now. I remember when I first moved here back in 2002.. The underground rave scene was really strong and things were just starting to move into the club scene.

The over all scene here is still mainly focused on more of the commercial side of things… but we have a very strong underground scene here as well, just not that big compared to some other markets. Along with the New Years afterhours party I mentioned earlier, I also co created and throw parties under the brand “Circuit” with Michelle Sparks, another label mate on Octopus. We’ve been focused on bringing in Techno and more underground artists with this brand to Arizona. We will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary of the brand in August actually!

Where are some of your favorite places to hang out in the city?
Well since lockdown and Covid my favorite place is my home lol. My studio is here and I’ve been so lucky to be able to work in a proper studio during all this craziness. I built the studio with my father a few years back when we first purchased the house and was able to build it out to my specifications. Little did I know how valuable it would turn out to be. However pre-covid times you could always find me hanging out at a local coffee shops during the week between gigs answering emails and doing admin work. I’m a huge coffee drinker, and we have so many great local coffee shops in town. My favorites are Cartel Coffee Lab and Lux Central Cafe. If you’re more of the adventurous type, even though many might think Arizona is nothing but a desert, we have so many great places to spend time outdoors. Just an hour drive out of the city of Phoenix we have this place called Sedona. It’s world famous for its red canyons and resorts. If you’re into the spiritual thing, it’s also known for its natural vortex’s. It’s a great place to go hiking to these magical spots to feel and experience this crazy energy coming from the Earth. Great place to just sit back and disconnect from everything.

What are your favorite pieces of studio equipment right now? (Please name at least three)
Damn, that’s tough to just name 3 lol… My studio is more of a hybrid setup between Ableton live and some analog pieces of gear. I can’t live without my Moog Sub37. This thing is a beast! It’s one of those synths that just begs for you to put your hands on it. The sounds you can pull out of it are just nasty. It’s my go too synth for adding everything from those dirty bass stabs to full on main leads. My track “Arrival” has a main synth lead that was a single take/recording from the Sub37. One of my other pieces of gear that I can’t live without is the Native Instruments Maschine. Every song that comes out of the studio has something from the Maschine. I’m a huge fan of drums and percussion and the Maschine is a must have for me. Since I’m mostly out of the box, I guess I need to talk about one of my all time favorite virtual synths called Trilian by Spectrasonics. It’s the “total bass module” need I say more? Lol

Top 3 favorite records you love to play at the moment?
1. Phoenix (Original Mix) – Drunken Kong
2. Kaleidoscope (Original Mix) – Melodys Enemy
3. Fall (Original Mix) – Teenage Mutants

Can you tell us about some of your favorite non-electronic music artists?
I have a soft spot in my heart for hip hop and trap. Everything from Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang clan… to modern artists like Action Bronson, Young Thug, Da Baby etc. Living here in the States, Hip Hop / Rap and Trap music is pretty much engrained in the culture and has a big scene, so it’s hard not to be exposed to it. I’ve always been a hip hop head growing up, and It took me a while to warm up to trap, but once you peel back the glitz and glamour, and truly see how many talented producers behind the scenes are involved to create some of these artists, you can really appreciate it for the art that it is. Everything from the visual to the beats, to the lyrics… there’s some very talented artists making some incredible stuff right now.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Hoping that gigs will start up again before the end of the summer, things are looking hopeful as discussions for label nights and parties have started, but for the meantime we are still mainly focused on Twitch. This pandemic has helped us really see the potential of having such a strong online presence & community and it has become something so valuable during the lockdown for us and many others who have adapted so quickly to the whole live streaming thing. As far as music, I’ve got a couple more releases coming up before the end of the year and looking forward to getting back on the road sooner than later to play more shows. As much as I loved the downtime and having so much time to work in the studio, I’m itching to get back out there. For me, traveling has always been a big part of why I love doing what I do and was and is a big part of the inspiration part of my creativity and music.

Any final words for our Techno Mood readers?
Thank you all for the continued support and I can’t wait to see you all soon IRL!