Mysterious producer juuku is breathing new life into electronic music with his moving work. Think of it as a new form of EDM—Emotional Dance Music. We spoke to him about the inspiration behind his single “reaching for u,” and his creative process.
Your music is often described as cinematic, which leads me to wonder—what films have influenced your art the most?
anything with hans zimmer really does it for me. i love the simplicity and instrumentation in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. there’s also a lot of anime which is a huge influence on me because of their music scores and visual aesthetics—Demon Slayer, Naruto, My Hero Acadamia, Kuroko No Basketball, Ace of the Diamond, Wolf Children, and Elfen Lied.
You created the visuals for several of your releases, including your most recent single, “reaching for u”. How long have you been creating visuals, and how did you get started making them?
i’ve been making visuals for about a year—about a month or so after i decided to begin the juuku project. i had a small catalog of music at the time, and every time i played them back i really felt like i could see everything that was happening in each song. i didn’t want it to go to waste so i started researching different ways to do visuals; i stumbled upon the 3d animation community and absolutely fell in love with everything coming out of it. it took so many long days and nights pulling my hair out learning how to figure out how to build everything i’ve been imagining in a 3d landscape. i’m feeling pretty comfortable so far with my growth as a 3d artist—but there’s still so much i need to learn!
What’s your production setup like?
currently it’s pretty simple—just ableton on my laptop, hs8’s, and an 88 key keyboard. i use a lot of kontakt, serum, omnisphere, and pigments. i also love setting my lights to the color of what i feel my emotions are at the time (usually purple or red), with a candle lit and some sage handy to burn before the session.
How do you go about crafting a song? What piece comes first?
i try to stay as open and flexible with my workflow as possible because creativity strikes at the most random times. sometimes i’ll experience something that really tugs on my spirit emotionally throughout the week, and i try to pick a sound/instrument/melody to match it. sometimes i’ll just sit in front of my piano and play chords and melodies until something strikes me internally. whether it takes an hour or five minutes, i’ll keep going until there’s something that i feel i’m one with, something that speaks to me.
sometimes random melodies will pop into my head throughout the day and i’ll record them in a voice memo for a session later on in the day. usually when i get through that initial phase of crafting the discovery, i’ll spend an hour or two on it, bounce the track, and listen to it throughout the week. this allows me to think about what this track means to me and i want to build with it. i spend a lot of time during the weekdays trying to resonate with my demos this way, and come the weekend i’ll be able to just let everything out without thinking too much about what belongs where or what sounds good—it’s just me and my little world, putting things i feel resonates with my heart.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by emotion when creating your music, or do you find it more cathartic?
definitely overwhelmed—but in a good way though. i spend a lot of time trying to hone in and be one with my emotions, especially when producing or reflecting on what i’m going to make.
What are you the most proud of accomplishing this year?
i’m most proud of connecting with people emotionally through my music and visuals. when people message me and tell me that my work has drawn out emotions from experiences (past or present), or that they felt every single part of me through my work—it really really humbles me and makes me want to work even harder to be able to reach more people.
Follow juuku on Spotify.