In just a few years Julien Sandre has carved out a significant role in this complex and difficult world of electronic music. We talked to him about shifting through the cities, his collaboration with Mennie, his very own vinyl-only imprint Blind Box, a little bit about production and also some tips for the young up-and-comers. Julian will play our season opening night in the K4 club on the 23rd of September.
Where in the world are you right now and where are you going next? What’s going on with you now that the summer is in full swing?
At the moment I’m in Naples preparing new music and bags for my little Ibiza tour for the next couple of weeks. I just returned from a pleasant and serene trip to Diamante (Italy) - one of my favourite places in the world. Need this almost 2-3 times during the year to recharge.
Do you have a regular crew of people you hang out with in Paris? We also noticed you are located in Naples. Please explain a bit further how do you balance being in between the two cities.
I’m based in Naples and spend here most of the time but I return to Paris every time I have the chance because I love the city and have friends there. It's a big part of my roots.
Let's talk a bit about your collaboration with the Italian talent Mennie which you guys named Jarau. How did that happen?
I and Francesco started to work again just one year ago I guess. We were part of the same agency and our manager Giuseppe said us that we could have done good things working together and he was right. We have really good feeling about music and about life conception, we have become great friends and this makes it all easier in the studio too. He’s a great artist and super nice person, I’m very happy to collaborate with him.
Underground this, underground that. We all know what it means, or do we? Does it still exist now that electronic music, in general, is becoming so popular? What does it represent to you?
This question always makes me smile. Actually, I think that the border between what is underground and what is popular is very subtle, almost inappreciable. I've always thought these classifications are limiting creativity so I really don't’ care about them. Anyway, If more people are appreciating the music we call “underground”, that could be good for the circuit, maybe we are doing good work.
Would you be happy to have a huge billboard with just your face on it?
It has already happened to me. Also in my last gig in Soverato at Circle with my friends of Dibeat. I saw a big poster with me and Cesar Merveille and it was fun because someone colored our noses red.
"Music is pure happiness and it is worth all the effort to continue living with it."
Not many DJs are lucky enough to be living off their music and touring alone. Was your road bumpy so far? Did you have to work other jobs while establishing your position? Any advice on this for people who are still struggling to get there?
I still have two totally opposite lives. It’s not easy living only with music. I have another job and another life out of music that is necessary to give me the right serenity to continue. That is one of the most important things for me. So, guys, music is pure happiness and it is worth all the effort to continue living with it.
We wanted to switch gears a bit and discuss your production approach, specifically around original tracks as we've heard plenty. Before this interview, we'd been listening to one of your more recent releases on a Berlin-based label EWax. Tell us a bit more about the connection to the label.
EWax is a fantastic news in our ambient. Simon is a great DJ, he knows a lot about good music and he is doing a big work with his project. I have good feelings about Simon's ideas and musical direction of the label: elegance, culture, groove. Next things coming from the label are so interesting and are becoming a solid reality of the circuit and I’m very happy to be part of the project.
Do you think you have a signature sound? How do you approach originals and remixes in the studio? Is it different? Do you have a set start/end point?
I think to have a pretty recognizable sound and this is essential for a DJ/producer, you have to be different, you have to be unique even if you draw inspiration from others. I just try to be recognizable when I make music, this is true for both originals and remixes. When I’m working on a remix I try to remain faithful to the original: you will know that is a mine track but you will find elements of the originals. When someone asks you for music or remixes this means that he knows about you, so I try ever to feel free to release music that more inspiring me in that moment.
Ever thought of moving to Berlin? A lot of people you recently collaborated with are from there...
Every year... Berlin is “the mecca” for every DJ and when you are there you feel that there’s something special about music. But as I said before, it would be not compatible with my other work and my “day” life. Anyway, I was super happy to have had a chance to play there recently, just with Ewax, and can’t wait for next gigs I will have there.
Tell us how your label Blind Box came to life and how come you decided to build it only on vinyl releases?
Blind Box is like a son who makes you proud. I opened it with my brothers Konstress like a platform where release our unreleased and special music. It received more success than we expected, and so we opened the project to other friends and DJs that we really appreciate. But we pay close attention to each release and each artist we choose. We love to collect vinyl and we also love to collect all the support on our vinyl releases. We think it’s the true icon of the DJing world and so it seemed natural to enhance our product by printing it on vinyl.
Since we're already amidst of the 8th month in 2017 we want to ask you about the forthcoming months regarding your personal DJ career, Jarau project and Blind Box. Tell us a bit about your plans for the future!
The future will be really exciting about the dates and music I will release. I have some really good tour dates around Europe: Ibiza, Ljubljana (with you guys), Naples, Rome, Turin, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Milan, London among others. And I will release some of my best music on some great labels like Home Invasion, EWax, Rawax, Beste Freunde, mine Blind Box and I’m also closing some amazing and top secret things I prefer not to reveal more at the moment.