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Julien Vertigo [Interview]

26 min read

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 returning to Mirror Records with a new single 'Eternal Journey'.

Progressive Astronaut caught up with Julien to learn more about the release of ‘Eternal Journey’, his studio process, future plans, and more. Enjoy.

Hi Julien, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

 Hi and thanks to you for having me for this interview, feeling really honored to have a chat with you guys. I would say that I’m quite in a happy mood with my motivation at the maximum at the moment. Some really great projects are in the pipeline. The last piece of music I’ve listened to is « Last One - 2023 Rework » from Aalson and Minorah :)

 How has your spring been so far and what are your plans for the coming week?

 Quite good actually, full of studio sessions with some gigs here around in Switzerland. And regarding the coming weeks, I’ve a tons of new music to finish and some great gigs are planned, especially my debut at Audio Club in Geneva in May which is one of the best underground venue in my area. So can’t wait to play there!

 There have been quite a few amazing electronic music artists to emerge from Switzerland, what was it like growing up there and who were some of your local heroes? Who did you look up to and why?

 If I have to name one Swiss emerging artist that inspired me a lot is without any doubt Several Definitions. This guy is so talented and his productions are most of the time coming from another planet ! He always amazed me how he can innovate his sound release after release. But to be honest, we have quite a lot of talented artists here in Switzerland like ENØS, Natascha Polké or Vanita to name a few. It’s always inspiring to be surrounded by such brilliant artists.

 If you were a tour-guide for nightlife in Switzerland what would be the clubs you’d take the people to see and what local DJs do they need to hear?

 The First club I have in mind and I’m pretty sure you’ve already heard about it, is obviously Nordstern in Basel. I had the chance to play there last February alongside Aalson and Worakls and that was probably the best club experience I had in my life! The venue is located in a boat where you have 3 floors, 2 inside for the cold days and the upper deck for the summer. Well this venue is INSANE with one of the best sound system! After this one, I would recommend the D! Club in Lausanne which is a lovely underground venue too! Played there last December and the vibes are always amazing! For sure an underground venue to not miss if you’re visiting Switzerland. And then, the 2 others clubs I have in mind are Audio in Geneva and Hive in Zürich which are beautiful too. All these clubs have a great and eclectic lineups every weekend with the best electronic music. About the local heroes to not miss, I’ve already mentioned a few above but if we are talking about big headliners we have quite great names too like Adriatique, Luciano or Nora En Pure :)

If you are not DJing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

Mostly into my spaceship creating atmospheric and fresh sounds or on a Tennis court, RODGER we miss you ahah ;) ! Or with my beloved ones, my girlfriend and her sweet dog Ada.

You have what many would call an astral sound, how would you describe your own music?

Well, that kind of question is always hard but I would say that my music is quite atmospheric and versatile as I really love to explore different sound. This in order to fit different moods during my DJ sets.

You have a new single ‘Eternal Journey’ out this week on Mirror Records, tell us about the release and how it showcases your current sound.

Eternal Journey saw the light more than 1 year ago and has been included into most of my dj sets since then. "Eternal Journey" is kind of these mesmerizing odyssey which could bring you through a parallel world. The groovy rolling bass will immediately captivate your mind until the main arpeggiated Lead will make his entrance into this "Eternal Journey" surrounded by some emotional and delicate piano notes. This one is really representative of my current mood which are actually more focus on the melodic side of techno. I’m more into melancholic and emotional journeys.

This is your second appearance on Mirror Records, what makes the label a good home for you music?

Well, at first sight Mirror is a Swiss based label and I knew they released some really good artists in the past like Mia Mendi. I’ve always thought about sending demos to them and that time has arrived at the end of last year :) The label guys are so nice and very professional. With the first release I had with them, we’ve got some really nice support from Artists like Joris Voorn, Anii, Kadosh, Alfa Romero to name few. So, i’m happy to be part of the Mirror family.

Tell us about your current studio setup and what tools featured heavily in the writing of ‘Eternal Journey?

I’m working with Ableton and mostly with my Moog sub 37, Microfreak from Arturia and I’m recording a lot of nature sounds to give some ethereal vibes to my music. I’m of course using VST too like Diva, SEM, Pigments and some UAD plugin which are my favorites. Regarding Eternal Journey, this one has been mostly produced with Diva and my Moog Sub 37 and some secret samples I’ve recorded for the drums/atmos.

Let’s talk about production for a moment, where does the impulse to create something come from for you? What role do often-quoted sources of inspiration like dreams, other forms of art, personal relationships, politics etc play? And was there anything that inspired ‘Eternal Journey?

Well, I’m into electronic music since like 15 years now as I started djing when I was around 19 years old. I was mostly playing EDM at that time and did some weddings too where I had the chance to meet the best woman of the world which is my girlfriend actually. Since then and around 2018, I said to me : « djing is cool but producing could definitely push the boundaries ». I thought some years about producing my own sound and everything started in 2018 and now I can’t stop anymore… The time flies when I’m in the studio and sometimes I can easily forget to eat or drink something haha So I let you imagine how passionate I am. About source of inspiration, I would say mostly the nature itself is so inspiring to me and my projects. I think all my tracks started with the nature as a source of inspiration. Sometimes, the mood or when you’re travelling around the globe could inspire a lot too by exploring different culture or so. I’m always coming back from holidays full of ideas, ready to rock the studio! For Eternal Journey, I would say that mostly my mood which was quite nostalgic at that time influenced this production itself.

How much road testing or friend feedback is collected to help make that decision? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

Good question ! For Eternal Journey, I’ve been playing this one during 1 year before sending it to Mirror. And the first one who’s giving me feedback is my girlfriend. And most of time I’m sending tracks to a few friends producers but I think it’s always great to have different approach/feedbacks, it’s why I’m always collecting professional feedback and feedback from people who are not involved into the music industry. Always important to have feedback from the crowd because that’s mostly these kind of people who are attending your gigs.

What is the task you enjoy the most when producing and what would you prefer someone else to do?

I love creating from scratch my basslines with the Moog sub 37! Always impressed how powerful this analog baby is. I don't think there’s anything I hate through the process. I really enjoy the production process from A to Z, to see your journeys growing is something really unique until you’re 100% done with a track.

What would be a musical extravagance for your studio you would pay for, if you were very wealthy?

It’s not really for my studio directly but in terms of skills, I would really love to improve my mixdown/mastering skills as I’m actually sending all my tracks to an engineer who’s doing a brilliant work. But I would really love to learn and understand this whole process which can be a game changer I think. A great mixdown/master can really make the difference on a track and a lot of producers are underestimating this process.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment, it’s a unique discipline at the border between presenting great music and creating something new with it, between composition and improvisation to an extent. How would you describe your approach to it?

DJing is not as easy as it appears when you’re looking to a DJ in a club. I think the most challenging point is to understand your crowd and keep them dancing during all your set. Preparing a set is great but you can’t anticipate how the crowd will react on your music. It’s why you really have to be connected with the ravers which is not something easy. From my side, I would say, it depends how long you play, the venue, the time of your set and the artist who’s playing after or before you.. But most of the time I’m improvising that’s what is making the experience quite unique. And most of the time I’ve prepared a set, once in front of the crowd, I’m always playing differently depending of the mood of the people you have on the dancefloor.

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

DJing had recently a lot of impact to my music journey because when you’re playing in a club you can understand which kind of tracks are working well or so which may allow you to follow the trend. Following a trend does not mean to create something that already exists but you can follow a trend by strengthen your signature sound by staying innovative and original. That’s my vision actually and djing helped me a lot for my productions mostly when you’re road testing some of your unreleased material.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Hard to choose as there are so many talented artists! Well, I would say Aalson, Several Definitions, 19:26, Natascha Polké, Giorgia Angiuli.

With the following order of appearance:

Natascha Polké


Giorgia Angiuli

Several Definitions


What’s a book you’ve read or film you watched that has left an impact on you, and why?

« L’énigme de la chambre 622 », it’s a Swiss book written by Joël Dicker. Really loved this one as the story is mainly in Switzerland and you can easily imagine the venues using through it which really immerse you into the story.

Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

Playing tennis/Padel, travelling and discovering new places, having a great red wines glass or craft beer after a long week, spending time with my beloved ones.

What does the remainder of 2023 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

Tons of new music I hope and great new gigs too :)

Thank you once again guys for this interview, that was very interesting to take time to answer these questions and share my musical vision with you.

'Eternal Journey' is available now via Mirror Records: https://bit.ly/3Wle09j

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