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Julien Vertigo [Interview]

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Julien Vertigo, DJ/Producer from the area of Nyon in Switzerland, has been an avid electronic music lover for years. His dedication and love for music led him to take a huge leap in 2018, when he decided to fully commit himself to producing Melodic Techno. The idea behind his project is to immerse people in an eclectic auditory experience of experimental melodies, techno beats and unexpected sounds that bring a more natural element to his tracks. Julien has received support from Tiësto through his well-known Club Life Podcast in 2020 and more recently he got some support by Eli & Fur, Øostil or Kevin de Vries to name a few. His journey is constantly evolving as he challenges himself and pushes his limits, allowing his passion for music to fuel him. This week sees Julien making his debut on inspired By Trees with a two-track showcase entitled 'Endless Odyssey'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Julien to learn more about the release of ‘Endless Odyssey’, 2023 faves, DJing, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Julien, thanks for catching up with us today! How has your start to the year been?

Hi, thank you for having me again here for this great chat :) This year started well and on a smooth way. Recovering a bit from the challenging and busy end of 2023 !

Looking back across 2023 what tracks or gigs of yours stood out for you and why?

Regarding the tracks, without any doubt my EP Out Of Our Control that has been released on Enormous Vision, one of the sister label of Enormous Tunes. These 2 tracks really defined my sound, with these kind of floating melodies that may take you somewhere beyond. Furthermore, the main theme of the EP Out Of Our Control has been selected through the yearbook 2023 VA of Enormous Tunes as one of the best selling track of the year which is just so amazing.

About the gigs that stood out for this year, there are 4 actually that have been ones for the book. First one was in early 2023 when I had the chance to do the closing of Worakls & Aalson at Nordstern Basel on a sold out night. When I’m writing this, I still can’t believe it happened for real to be honest.. The venue, the sound system, the ravers, everything is so special in this club which is hosted on a boat. Probably one of the best venue in Europe. And having the chance to finally met Aalson who is one of my biggest inspiration at the moment was really nice. Such a talented and humble guy.

Second one was at D! Club Lausanne last September when I did the warmup for Rebuke & Massano. I really love doing the intro and setting up the vibes for the night. Still having some flashback of this one as the vibe we’ve created there was just out of this world.. Ended the set with all the hands in the air with some stars in the eyes. And following this gig, I’ve received a lot of kind messages from the ravers about which I’m always so grateful and pushes my motivation to the maximum.

Third one was at D! Club Lausanne too last December when I had the chance to close the night right after Nora En Pure. I think that’s one of these artists I’m listening to almost everyday, so having this opportunity to share the night with her was a dream coming true. And I’m still so thankful to the whole D! Club team and especially to the booker who’s trusting on my journey since more than a year now.

Last one, was at Cafete in Bern which is a small venue but I really loved this place since the early seconds. There’s a no phone policy over there and people are really coming for the music. A few times when I was watching the crowd during the set, people were closing their eyes and just dancing which is pure gold for an artist to be honest. I already can’t wait to come back there! One of my best gig so far in 2023.

And now, what tracks from other producers had the most impact on you across 2023? And why?

First one is the track « Where We Belong » from Roman Kyn which has been released on Siamese. What a masterpiece we have here, the chords/melody is so powerful and brought me directly in a parallel world at the first listen. The build-up before the second drop is just perfect and take you far far far away!

Second one is the track « Adamo » from Areeas and Moodayz, 2 really talented Swiss producers. The indie dance touch with this kind of retro synths are just magical through this tune. That’s one of my secret weapon to wake up the crowd and trust me it’s working pretty good on the dancefloors :)

Last one is the remix of the track Artefactum from Kamilo Sanclemente who produced such a beautiful journey here. When you arrive at the main break/build-up it’s this kind of track on which you may just close your eyes by letting yourself carried away somewhere beyond.

What goals do you have for yourself this year? Music related or otherwise?

I would really love to make my debut at Hive Club Zürich which has been on my list since a while now and would die to return to Nordstern Basel too. In terms of music, I really would like to keep sculpting my specific sound to have my own music identity even if it’s hard to find the right label. I think there’s home & crowd for every journey.

One last thing I would really love to achieve is to make my debut abroad too.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your production work and otherwise, please.

Waking-up at 7 am, taking a shower and then jumping into the train to Geneva to go to work as I’m not only doing music as you may probably know ;). Ending my day at approximately 6 pm and arriving at home around 6:45 pm and usually starting studio session right away every Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon. Sometimes I’m doing additional sessions when my girlfriend is away :)

Do you consider yourself a DJ or producer first? And which do you enjoy more and why?

Hard to give an answer here haha I would say DJ as I’m mixing since like 15 years now and started to produce 5-6 years ago only. And really love to perform live and having eye contact with the crowd. It’s something really unique.

Your bio states that in 2018 you decided to fully commit to Melodic Techno, tell us about what went into that decision and what styles you were writing prior to this?

Well, prior 2018 I was only djing mostly into EDM style and sometimes went all style for some wedding where I had the chance to meet the most beautiful person on earth, my actual girlfriend :)

I’ve decided to produce my own sound with the idea to create something new and to try to stand out from others. We are a lot of artists in the game and just djing was not enough to stand out. Nevertheless, my 15 years of experience in djing helped me a lot when I played big venues like D! Club or Nordstern.

In 2020 you got support from Tiesto on his Club Life podcast, how did that change things for you going forward? Both in terms of career opportunities and also your mindset and confidence as a producer.

To be honest, it mostly pushed my motivation and confidence on my journey. When I saw that Tiesto played one of my track, I was like : « Ok, my music is maybe not that bad at all haha ». I did not really got some opportunities because of this huge support or I’m not aware of it if this is the case. But this support helped me a lot to grow and develop my journey. I started to invest more time since this day into the music.

What do you think about the current trend that has seen huge visuals take center stage at shows? How do you think they are impacting the musical experience of going to a party?

My personal opinion on this is that the importance of the quality of the music shouldn’t be put too much in the background. As of today, I have the feeling that the visuals and/or the appearance is way more in the center than the music itself. I know that as an artist you’re crafting a brand but for me the music should stay in the center of the game.

You have a new EP ‘Endless Odyssey’ to start the year on Inspired By Trees, tell us about the release and how the tracks showcase your current sound.

This new EP is the continuity of my Out Of Control EP I think with such experimental melodies driving by warm and analog basslines promising you immersive journeys. I’ve already road tested them and both tracks are working pretty good on the dancefloor actually :) I cannot wait to finally show them to the community.

How would you say your Inspired By Trees EP differs from tracks you would have produced in 2018 or 2019? How has your sound evolved over the years?

My actual sound is really more defined I think. In the past, I was struggling with my workflow by having too much ideas through the same track. I’m really proud about the evolution with the years regarding my sound which may be described as floating/experimental Melodic House. Really love to create more ambient/atmospheric melody into a more emotional side. That’s really what I’m trying to develop and strengthen at the moment.

You’ve had some notable releases of late but this is your debut on Inspired By Trees, what was it about the label which made it a good home for your music?

I’m following their releases since a while now and knew that they were doing great job with such talented and well established artists. We’ve directly got a really nice contact when I first sent them demos and that’s something really important to me. I can easily say without any doubt that it was the perfect home for this 2-tracks EP :)

You’ve had some notable gigs over the last few years, performing alongside Massano, Nora En Pure and more. How much prep do you put into the tracks you choose to play? And tell our readers how you approach programming a set.

I always dedicate few hours like 3-4 hours for preparing such big gigs for the research of the perfect sound depending on the act you’ll have to play. For example, when you’re playing the intro, you have to prepare the night for the headliners slowly but surely without rushing. The hardest thing is to avoid going harder too early.. Avoiding to play tracks that headliners may play is really important too. When I prepare my gigs I try to imagine every moment of the night and how the crowd could react on each different song (I know you’ll say I’m crazy haha but I’m not alone on my mind haha). I would say that I use this preparation as a backup and if the crowd is not connecting with what I’ve prepared I’ll adapt my set for sure, I’m always letting part to the improvisation for my sets. Having a backup is great I think because, having an artist who’s constantly scrolling on the decks to search the perfect song could be quite annoying for the artist and the crowd. The most important thing is to read the crowd and connect with them. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it takes some time to sculpt the journey but I really love this process. The connection with the crowd is always so powerful.

Is the art of programming something that has gotten lost in today’s scene? Has it become more of a ‘let’s play the hits’ rather than ‘take people on a journey’ type of approach?

Like mentioned above, I’m really more into the approach of taking people on a journey. For this, you have to take time to research the sound that match the act you’ll play.

What would be your dream festival and club to perform at and why?

Dream club, I would say DC 10 in Ibiza as I know people are mostly coming there for the love of the music. I’ve been there once and the vibe is just insane.

And dream festival, I would say Awakenings summer edition. The atmosphere of this festival looks just insane!

Current Top five tracks in your sets?

Where We Belong - Roman Kyn
Reborn - Moojo, Arodes
The Journey - Grigoré
The Cranberries - Zombie (Julien Vertigo Stellar Edit)
Adamo - Areeas & Moodayz

Looking back on your career thus far, what advice would you offer to your younger self?

I would recommend to not rush the things. Doing music is a long road and crafting his signature sound could take some years. I’m still researching mine after 5-6 years and I think even famous artists are still exploring their sound too. So being patient is the key and be clear with yourself about what you really want to achieve. Other key point I would say is being inspired by the trend to craft his own sound without copying the trend just to fit a specific label and/or genre. Trust your project, push the boundaries to the maximum. There’s a community for every music and if your music is good, the right persons will find you.

One last thing, don’t forget to share your work ! Send emails, connect with artists, you have to get heard to get known. Don’t be shy and be opened to feedback. We are all humans, we all make mistakes but mistakes will let you grow and make you stronger.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life?

Well, djing/producing is a passion, so I’m doing it in addition of my main job. But if the music was not part of my life, I would really invest more time into something related to sport or maybe launching my own restaurant.

What TV series have you been enjoying recently and what are some of your all time favourites?

All time favorite without any doubt, Breaking Bad. And the last TV shows I’ve been enjoying recently are:
- Flower of Evil
- Fool Me Once

What can we look forward to from you in 2024?

New music for sure and hopefully great memories created over the dancefloor :)

'Endless Odyssey' is available now via Inspired By Trees: http://tinyurl.com/mpkdmhs5

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