Wonderland.

PREMIERE: JULS – “WICKED”

The international producer returns with a party-ready single, and enlists Sam Wise, Knucks and Kadiata as the hosts.

Juls producer
Juls producer

It’s a rare feeling to be able to place your music on shuffle and instantly know the artist playing without even glancing at your phone as soon as the beat kicks in. But for British-Ghanian producer Juls this comes naturally. Whether it be his ability to intricately create and translate moments of sensuality in afro-tinged beats or his sweet-toned producer tag that is engraved in every production, as soon as the beat kicks in you know it’s him.

Carefully constructing delicate and soft flowing productions, the artist sets summer in motion on his new track “Wicked”, enlisting Sam Wise, Kadiata and rapper Knucks for the sophisticated and seductive fiesta. Starting the late-night vibe with a single warming hum, the single quickly erupts into a packed soiree with a waistline moving groove and rhythmic drum patterns. Sam Wise, Kadiata and Knucks take turns hosting the vibe, with all of them riding the melodic production with ease.

Juls producer
Juls producer

Oozing the same riotous energy in the accompanying Ray Fiasco-directed video, we see the group take to east London, as they invite us into euphoric house party that sees appearances from BenjiFlow and Ragz Orginale.

Speaking on the track, Juls revealed, “This song is a blend of Funk Carioca, Azonto and Baile Fun, but it still has a very fresh British vibe to it whilst sounding very African at the same time. Knucks, Sam Wise and Kadiata bring the heat with their clever, witty flows. I couldn’t think of anyone else to jump on this riddim. It’s a very fun track, and hopefully, it becomes another favourite birthday song, especially for the ladies”

Already known globally for his distinctive and pioneering sound, the producer has enlisted various artists for his tracks, including the likes of Wizkid, Burna Boy and GoldLink. With several genre-bending albums under his belt and another one on the way, we caught up with Juls discussing the progression of afrobeats in the UK, developing his sound and how he’s ready for people to hear a different side to him.

Check out the interview below….

Hey Juls! How have you been? I think the last time we had contact was when you did the WizKid interview for our Winter 20 issue! How did you guys meet?
Wiz and I first met in 2016 backstage concert for Roundsound. The year after, he had his first show in London, and he invited me over to a house and it was me and one of his producers just vibing and chilling. We started creating and we’ve just been cool ever since. We’ve had so many studio sessions, but the record “True Love” was the one that stood out for him, I was actually surprised about that one, I thought there was something else he’d be reacting to but that’s his sense of music.

You’ve been in the industry a long time, how would you describe your growth over the years?
I started building my craft from about 07 to 2012, and I think things broke through in 2014/2015. From there, I feel like I’ve just been working and working, it’s been a steady growth. I think other people have issues when they skyrocket and have been hot from the start, mines has been a slow burn, and it’s much more international. Being from London, people may hear of you, but they’re not going to hear you like a heavyweight because their focus is on the UK music scene.

You’re very much international…
People say that, but I feel like it doesn’t reflect as much as I wish it would. I’ve had high expectations from the start, so maybe I’m just thinking too much about it. I will say these days, it’s very surprising when you’re walking down the road and someone will say your name and that they like your music, or want a picture. It’s very heartwarming. That type of growth is what I’m seeing. Being able to collaborate with prolific artists is going from strength to strength, and I just hope moving forward it continues to grow.

When people hear a beat they know it’s from you, do you feel a responsibility to keep producing afrobeat music?
After this album, I really wanna show the other side that people don’t know because when I start making beats, I start making hip-hop. I do wanna add some African elements to it, but at the same time, I can make afro-type of records with my eyes closed. If anything the growth will be with other artists or different genres and then being able to flex my muscles with the dancehall, reggae and hip-hop-type of beats as well. It’ll makes me a certain type of producer so anybody can come to me rather than just thinking ‘oh that’s the afrobeat guy’, and even though that’s great, you still want to be known to be able to have the ability to do anything humanly possible.

Juls
Juls

Why after this album do you think you’re going to start doing this?
So I can take time and get back into the zone of listening to music that I used to listen to. I feel like, in the last few years, my listening has been so expansive and I’m listening to so much music that’s influenced my production for the whole album. I’m touching on so many different sounds, there’s Brazilian, Funk, House, Reggae, RnB, there’s soul. These are genres of music I wouldn’t listen to, but now I find myself listening to it because there are certain things I’m trying to hear that will trigger my mind when I’m in the studio creating. I want to go back to making instrumental albums and shooting movies about these instrumental albums as well.

Listening to your new single, it has a real summer vibe to it, does this continue on the forthcoming album?
It’s definitely an album for the summer, because we’ve just been in lockdown for so long and I know when things are pretty much clear people are going to go on holiday and it’s an album I want everyone to play when they’re in the sun having a good time. There are so many different flavors and moods in the album. It’s sexy and summery at the same time, there are up-tempo moments, grooves and just feel-good music.

Looking back now what’s been your favourite memory from creating it?
There’s a song on there called “Love Me”. When I was making the beats in the studio, I played the foundations to my guitarist and my sax guy and they were telling me to send it to various people, but I knew I wanted Niniola on the track. When she sent her vocals in was so exciting, hearing it all come together. The whole feeling of that song coming to life, was a completely different feeling.

You’ve collaborated with a lot of people as well, is there anyone you’re yet to work with and want to?
I feel like with my next collaborations, I want them to be more international. It would be a dream to work with Kendrick or Rihanna. Those are very complicated situations because of how big they are. But I’ve got some exciting collaborations coming up with people in the states as well and I’m looking to build on those releases.

What else is next for you after the album, you said you’re going to work on new music but aside from that was next?
I do want to tour, I definitely wanna go to the states again and do parts of Africa, I want to go to Kenya.

Why Kenya?
I went to Ghana for Christmas and when I was there for about 3/4months. When I was there I got booked to go to Kenya, and I felt like it was a weird booking but when I got there I felt like Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson? Why?
The love was ridiculous! I was playing at this horse racing course with about 1000 people. It was me and a few other DJs, and in the build-up, to the show, all the radio stations were playing my music and saying they love my music here. I just thought wow. When I got up on stage everyone was screaming and we shut down the place. It was just genuine love and singing the songs word for word, I’ve never felt love like that ever.

Who are you most excited about in the industry right now? As a producer, who are you looking at?
Rema is very good, he’s not missed once. Everything about him, his style, his swag is on point as well. I see the vision for him. There’s a young lady by the name of Amaarae who has this quirky and melodic sound. She is someone who is going to make waves.

Last question now, where do you see the future of afrobeats going?
It’s really hard to say because I think afrobeats is so international now. I feel like we kill our jams so quickly. We did it with funky, we did it with garage. But it always comes back in a form that is more appealing to the young.

PREMIERE: JULS – “WICKED”

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