Interview | Jauz
Sam Vogel, otherwise known by his big teethed moniker Jauz, has been making headlines since his college days. He is California-based and an Icon Collective graduate. From an early start, he has had support sign off from electronic industry leaders such as Zedd, Skrillex and Diplo. He also hosted his own pool party, “Jauz & Friends” at Coachella.
The young producer has had multiple sold-out headlining tours and a new Billboard #1 charting album “The Wise & The Wicked,” featuring artists DJ Snake, Adventure Club and Kiiara.
Since becoming the CEO of his label ‘Bite This,’ a tribute to his stage name, he has been helping other producers in new collaborative ways. At 24, like many young producers, he has been hitting the touring circuit hard with many festival appearances underway. He recently released a new single “Dance Floor” with SUMR CAMP. Here’s what he had to say about his debut Coachella performance and his upcoming international tours.
So you just finished performing your first ever Coachella. How was your overall experience? What were some of your highlights?
Honestly, I’m still processing it all. I’ve been dreaming of just going to Coachella as a fan to experience it for so many years, so to get to play on Sahara for my first time ever even setting foot at the festival was a pretty surreal feeling. It kind of felt like the first time I ever played a festival years and years ago — you walk in wide eyed, everything seems larger than life, too good to be true. But it really lived up to everything I had hoped it would be.
The festival itself is gorgeous and so much fun to run around, the crowd at Sahara both weekends was INSANE and I got to see some of my favorite acts ever perform. All in all, I’d say it was quite a success!
Your ‘Bite This’ label had a special takeover at the Heineken Tent both weekends. What’s the biggest difference between playing the Sahara Tent versus the Heineken Tent? Whose set on your label were you most excited to see at the Heineken Tent?
Playing at Heineken was almost like playing an after-party after one of my big tour shows. No pressure, just got to rock up and have a good time and play music that I wanted to play. Both sets were completely freestyled, which is a stark contrast to the Sahara tent sets, which we spent weeks on in rehearsals with our new stage production. I love planning out a set and making sure everything feels perfect, but there’s also something to be said about just walking up with not a single clue what you’re going to play and just feeling it out.
The lineup we had for both weekends was so epic but I was especially stoked we got to bring out Holy Goof and Skepsis all the way from the UK for the takeover. Coachella is such a big event for America, so for me to be able to help those guys get exposed to a crowd they might have never been able to play in front of before is a huge deal to me. My goal with the label is really to help bring my influences and artists I believe in from across the world into the states and the Heineken Takeover was a huge opportunity for that.
You founded the record label ‘Bite This’ — how has that been going? What made you initially want to get into entrepreneurship as being a founder of a label?
I’ve always had the goal to start a label, so when we really started putting it together it felt pretty natural. My sound has always kind of been all over the place, and the motto behind the Jauz brand has always been “Music Has No Boundaries,” so it felt like I had to create a label to help extrapolate on that concept.
Do you feel as though this would allow you to always keep your creativity?
Since the beginning of my career, we’ve worked with lots of different labels, small and big, but never signed anything other than one single at a time. We always wanted to do music our way, and not have to follow someone else’s rules or vision. Starting ‘Bite This,’ I wanted to bring this same thought process to the label side, as opposed to the artist side. While we have artists that we are completely invested in, we never ask anyone to sign multiple-record deals, or time-based contracts. I would never ask an artist on my label to do something that I would never do myself. We’re working on expanding on this and I have a lot of ideas of how to make the label feel even less ‘old school’ and continue to push the boundaries of what it means to be a record label.
What have been some challenges and opportunities while starting this endeavor?
We’ve talked about starting a label as early as 2015, but I wanted to make sure I was in the right place with my own career before taking on a venture like that. I’m still so wrapped up in my own music day in and day out that it’s still really hard to cut time out to really sink my teeth into the label and other artist’s music, but it’s also the most rewarding thing I’ve gotten to do. Helping showcase new artists that I believe in, self-releasing my own debut album, and getting to take over stages at festivals all over the world really make all the effort worth it a thousand times over.
How have you transformed the Jauz name into a well-known brand in the electronic music scene? What are your goals for the brand and what do you hope to create in the future?
Honestly, I get this question pretty often, and I have no idea. I think I put out the right music at the right time, made music that was unique to me, had a brand that was simple enough to catch on to and feel like you were a part of, and was just lucky as hell. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and slowly pushing my sound and my limits further and further and see how far we can take this thing.
Any sneak peeks into artists you will potentially be signing to the label or any collaborations with artists on singles and tracks to be released on the label?
My Coachella (Sahara) sets were filled with pretty much only my own new music, and music from the label. I don’t want to give anything away but if you dig into the set lists I’m sure you’ll find lots of new amazing music coming out on the label really soon!
Californian acts like Niiko x Swae were so excited to see you here. Anything you want to tell other young producers on the rise?
Every time I talk to an up and coming artist, I basically say the same thing — if you’re trying to do something that someone else is already doing, you’ve already lost. Make music that comes out of you naturally, create a brand around yourself that feels natural, and just work your ass off and eventually you’ll find your success. That might sound too simple, or cheesy, but it’s the god’s honest truth. If I can do it, just about anyone can do it!