Written by Maya-Rose Torrão
Swiss darkwave producer juche is a man shrouded in mystery. Every park of this talented musician’s online presence points to shadowy images of a dystopian world; empty urban scenes, dark hallways and obscured faces. A kind of sci-fi post-apocalypse lingers in juche’s music, as if this sole producer has been given the weighty task of writing the soundtrack for the end of the world. Even the name ‘juche’ points to the reality of a dystopian present, as it is the name of the official state ideology of North Korea, and is the political and ideological belief that “man is the master of everything and decides everything.”
Beginning with siren-like waves of synth and glitch, juche’s new track ‘reach’, available as an exclusive premiere via The Playground, is pure science fiction, and takes the listener on a series of journeys of slow upward builds that always end in steadily churning wave-beats and carefully manipulated vocal soundbytes.
Listen to another exclusive from The Playground here:
We caught up with the elusive juche and chatted about what goes on behind this wave musician’s dark and mysterious online presence.
For anyone unfamiliar to juche’s deep immersion, how would you personally describe the music you create?
Above all, I would describe it as futuristic. In this word, I see innovation, everything that has something to do with progress. I try to picture tomorrow’s music, and art in general, gathering what inspired me and what still inspires me.
One of your most recent huge and compelling tracks ‘instant reality’ is an exploration through an unknown abyss; vibrantly textural, melodic and drenched in atmosphere. Where did the inspiration come from when composing this track?
I won’t lie and say that I’ve been emotionally disturbed by some disruptive events in my life. My music is just a daily feeling. It is my memories and their colours. I associate music and memory very often. When I make music, I try to picture a white sheet of paper that I fill in with images, memories that are specifics to events and discoveries. I often remember the innocence I had, which we all had, during my childhood. These moments that we all remember, and that are also moment which flee. I often talk about double nostalgias. The first one is the one that makes us happy, and the second one gives us nightmares. ‘instant reality’, and ‘compulsory to denounce [4.4]’ are two examples of me trying to transcribe positive nostalgia. Of course, not all my music triggers these kind of emotions.
Where do you usually like to seek inspiration from when composing tracks? Music, films, books, nature etc?
I try to associate with arts and culture, they give me the feeling of evolution, ingenuity. I’m also passionate about tech wear and contemporary architecture. Concerning cinema or literature, I really am into sci-fi. I also like conversations. Spending time with my friends and my girlfriend also inspires me a lot.
How would you describe Switzerland’s electronic music scene? Is there anything you would like to change, or improve about it?
Switzerland is a very special country. Pretty much everyone knows it. It has four languages, and the country is culturally divided. It is a very small country, and the fact that it is divided makes it a bit weaker. At least, this is how I feel about it, when it comes to art. People from different cantons (states) do not really mix together. I live in the French part of Switzerland and young people are mostly into EDM and rap. In the part that speaks german, it’s different. This part is a lot more linked to the German culture, and its underground and tech scene. With a little help from motivated people, I plan to change that. I’m currently trying to organise a wave party here. I like to organise things and I’m not afraid of it.
You have a considerable amount of material only in single form at the moment. Do you have any plans to release an EP or LP in the near future?
I haven’t really thought about it. I have tons of projects. For now, I’d like to come to the end of collaborations, and a few musics featuring labels. I’d like to create a concept-album in the future.
Describe a typical day in the studio? Do you prefer to be in isolation, or do you prefer the company of collaborators or engineers while in a studio setting?
I’m a self-taught man. I’ve learned things from watching tutorials online. I don’t know anyone where I live who also produces music and whom I could have worked with. But in general, I’d rather be alone in front of my computer anyway.
Care to name some of your own personal favourite releases of 2018 so far?
Vacant’s ‘Origins’ marked the beginning of my year. It was the perfect time to release such an album. Also Noah B’s last album, ‘South Hills’. I love what the guys from withered do, also Skeler, Enjoii, iSorin, Skit, Sorsari, Ofdream, Sibewest… Apart from wave music, I love Uppermost and Danger, they are two of my biggest inspirations. I also listen to a lot of solid tech, such as I Hate Models, 9 times 9, Schwefelgelb, Recondite, Nils Frahm too. When it comes to rap, I exclusively listen to Bones. TeamSESH is a model.
What does the future hold for juche?
I like living in the present. I don’t really like to think about things in the long-term, it messes up with my brain. But I can tell you right now that something big is coming. I’m creating an art concept, with two characters, in a dystopian world that I imagined. It’s a whole scenario. Everything will be available on my website, which I’m still working on at the moment. I will illustrate my story with video clips etc. It’s big, and it takes a lot of time, but I can count on my friends, my girlfriend and also my brother from another mother, Kropki, whom I work with a lot.