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In conversation:Juliet Fox on techno and dreams

by Maja Bebber

"I always tell a story in every single track. And it's always from my heart, truly. So, I just want people to always be like, that's what she was trying to say."

Juliet Fox is a name to remember. The Australian-born DJ now calls London and Berlin her home. With an immense catalogue of techno tracks, she for sure will go far. Fox played at events such as Tomorrowland and various techno clubs across the globe. She is currently touring and also calls the label TREGAMBE her own thatsigns emerging talents. Now she has released a track called „Velvet Tears“ featuring ANDATA. The track is accompanied by a shirt that was designed in collaboration with Customized Culture, a German brand based in Hamburg.

With tmrw, Juliet talks about the art of techno music, what inspires her and her future aspirations.

How did you first become interested in techno music?

I grew up in Australia, and it was quite limited to the music theme that was there. The most interest that we had was coming from Detroit. And there were some artists prominently like Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson that I was interested in. Danny Tenaglia was somebody else. And so it was from that. I wanted to explore the sound both over in the US and also through Europe, which is part of the reason why I made my move from Australia, almost 12 years ago to do this. To try and be immersed in the techno scene.

You’re based between Australia and Berlin, right?

I’m in London. And I mean, I still call it my home for the moment, but I haven’t spent as much time there in the last year. In Berlin, I lived for six years which is amazing. So from 2015 it was six, seven years ago. Berlin is the main hub of where the techno scene came from and just all-night raves. And it’s funny. Because they seem to always fly into Frankfurt and when I leave Australia, that’s the first thing so I’m going to be in Frankfurt and then I’m playing in Mannheim. It’s great. I love playing in Germany.

What’s the process like when you make a techno track?

When I’m making techno I always start with a really strong kick drum that I start, and then I try and build the four-by-four rhythm and then usually make a baseline and I never really know what direction I’m gonna go. It’s just more of a feeling. Then usually add my own vocals into the track which creates a bit of a harmony or melody. I think with the chakra track, you need it to be quiet, like a strong sound. Not too much emotion. It depends on what type of techno you like. You can have a lot more industrial cyber style, which has probably no melody. And I always like to have a little bit just to create some during the build-up. To just have something that connects to people a lot. But it’s mostly about the rhythm which comes from the tone.


I can imagine that it’s so different from writing a song because there are not a lot of lyrics in techno tracks.

Yeah, exactly. In a lot of my tracks, I always include my lyrics but sometimes, I won’t have total sentences. It might just be a couple of words or I might even chop them up just to create a little melody through it. Even effects as such, but it’s so fascinating. Because when you’re making music, it can go any way you want. The whole fun of creating is pretty cool.

And did you how to make techno yourself or did someone teach you?

When I moved to Berlin, I had a housemate who had a nice studio setup before I had my own. And he was teaching me a lot and how to record full tracks. So not creating sounds and arranging but it was completely recorded through with hardware. And then I was learning before I lived in London. With a close friend of mine who had also moved to Berlin and he was my main teacher where we’d sit in the studio and either jammed together using modular synthesisers, a lot of drum machines and just playing around with that. And I would go out, obviously to a lot of clubs in Berlin and you just feel so inspired. And that was probably my favourite time to write music, straight from being out.

What role does technology play when you create your tracks?

I started learning how to make music or just produce tracks, just with plugins. I used Ableton. It wasn’t really until I moved to Berlin that I started to probably really use a lot of hardware and I started to grow a nice little studio myself with a setup. Mostly just drums as it always starts with a speaker drum machine. I could add Tra or TR nine as the base. And then you’ve also got just a simple keyboard that you have to add in. And then you can have, your whole setup. I also use the TD three which is a little acid machine, which is great. And that helps to create a nice pattern. I think the hardware is cool. When it comes to creating income, you can also just record sounds which I found was quicker for me to do so I would record my samples and then arrange it that way. Sometimes you can always be out of time with hardware that’s quite technical. And if you move something around that disrupts them. I like to do both. I love hands-on stuff, but then also I can quite happily sit with headphones on it as well that way.

2022 was your biggest year to date career-wise. You played at Tomorrowland. How are you planning to top this?

I would have to say 2023 was even bigger. I’ve been able to play at some of the best festivals around the world which was just incredible. Last year I was able to play with Ultra Icon Resistance which are worldwide brands. This year is to maintain all of the same events and just grow more with my production. That’s my main focus with that. I’m also really excited because I’ve been booked to play at Time Warner which has been a long-standing dream for me, which is also in Mannheim. And with the company or the promoters, we look after that. There’ll be a lot of other shows this year based around that throughout Germany and then also other events that come with that. So that’s a really big step for me. I also want to focus on running my label and curating some nights as well which I’ll have coming up.

Is there a big techno scene in London?

There are excellent clubs in London. The scene is not huge, but I would say throughout the UK the main hub is in London. And when I get back on the first of March, I’m playing one night there and they have a really good techno event with Fabric. That’s the main place. There’s also a club called Portfolio, which is cool. That’s more like what you would find in Berlin. Which is no phones allowed. A lot more freedom, which is a nice experience.

Are there any other milestones in your career that you would love to reach?

For me, it’s always growing and expanding so I just want to make sure that my music is being heard by other bigger artists. And for me, I just want to be able to hear my music being played on major radios. Relevance, and record deals, are what everyone always seems to have. And being able to play the mainstage of Tomorrowland would be an achievement. At the moment, I’m playing incredible shows and it would just be to move further along whether it’s peak time slots or closing these festivals, I think that’s what builds more growth and excitement and career, and I’m really happy with everything I’ve achieved. I’m just happy with sharing my music and being able to perform for people.

You’re on tour right now already, right?

Yes. Well, I just finished a tour in Australia. Five shows in Australia and then I have six shows in New Zealand. So at the moment, I have one week off until I come back to Germany.

What’s your favourite thing about going on tour?

I just love the rush and excitement because it’s fast-paced. When we were in New Zealand, it was five different cities in five days. So consecutively and being able to travel with other artists was cool. And every city was so different. So just being able to be versatile. And yeah, just keeping that flow.

What’s the story behind your label TREGAMBE?

I started the label during COVID. It was something that I always wanted to do. But it came at the perfect time. The name of it is my dad’s side, the family name for Tregambe, which means three legs in Italian, and I wanted to include the family name for something to be remembered by incorporated because I was making music during COVID which perhaps wasn’t completely for dance floors. It was whatever I thought at the time, and I was also painting so I incorporated the two together so I was using my paintings as the cover artwork. For the first, I think there are just over a year of my releases and it was just meant to be for a label to be able to put all my tracks on there myself. It felt nice to be able to do and to put music out, especially during that time. And it was only just in the last year that I opened it up to other artists which feels incredible to be able to do and to support producers who are up and coming or people that I’ve connected with along the way.

Do you only take on other techno artists or all kinds of artists?

I would say it’s always in the techno genre, but it has been varied which has been cool actually because I’ve had releases, so peak time techno and hard techno. The last release made it into trance raw. Also techno raw. It just depends if I’m connected to the music and if I’m playing the tracks as well most importantly. And that’s how I sign them after I’ve tried and tested them myself.

What are your plans for the future for your label?

I want to continue to build and grow. I plan to have showcase label events or just invite other artists to come and perform with me. My main idea is, because I do tours all around the world, if I’m in that city, or close enough to where one of the artists is, to invite them on the same lineup as me so that’s where I’ll be starting this year. And then I can go on to perhaps doing events as well.

In which cities in Germany are you playing?

So far coming up are Mannheim, Nuremberg, and Dresden. I would say Germany is my main country. And then second to that is Holland. The plan is actually to move over mainly for the summer in Amsterdam just to be based back in Europe.

What do collaborations mean to you?

I feel it’s a way to express your music with somebody else and you have a nice connection with them. And a lot of collaborations I worked with, I’ve never even met the person before. I just love the music. So I would contact them or I would be like: “Hey, you want me to feature on one of your tracks? Like doing my vocals?” So I did this quite a lot. Last year, I didn’t collaborate actually. I think I didn’t collaborate with anybody just because I thought I should concentrate on my original work and my label but I’m back to doing that again this year. The next release I have on the first of March is a collaboration with two artists from Hamburg. And that’s my track, which is called Velvet Tears which will be out with them. I’m excited about this because this is not only a collaboration with music, but it’s also a collaboration with their clothing label and we’ve got a t-shirt, which is also launching on that day. So it’s been such an incredible project. We’ve worked together for a year now together and it’s just getting to know people that you would never have met otherwise. And to build something together, it’s awesome.

It’s cool. I like I like it when music intertwines with fashion.

It’s also got a really beautiful transcript on the back which I wrote with them as well. So it’s just what I feel about the music and connection and everything like that.

What do you love most about techno?

You just kind of get lost in the rhythm. And with that four-by-four beat. I just stay in it and it’s powerful to me. I just love the constant roll and the strong sounds from a track. And if you do have a powerful element to it, whether it’s effects or the vocals, it just really captivates and the sound system drums through like a heartbeat.

How do the different cities that you live in inspire you?

I just absolutely love Berlin for the music and the history there. The freedom basically, but for me London was also an important step because I needed to probably be a bit more grounded and work on my business side of things as well because otherwise when I was in Berlin, it was more social and you can go out any day of the week, at any time. That’s why I love London as a city because I like that there’s also a lot of history there. The music and fashion, the culture, and the arts also inspire you on a different level. It’s good to go between the two cities.

What are your favourite spots in Berlin to play at?

Berghain is good to go to for inspiration and when I can just be a raver. I think my favourite place and probably only the most recent that I’ve played is Watergate. And then also the city bus, which was my first ever club to play at in Berlin. Back in 2015. It is such an awesome place and you can stay there for a couple of days. There are a few different rooms. There’s the hammer which is the room that I’m playing at which has an amazing sound system and really hard techno but then outside you’ve got the Danfa which could also be a bit of techno house and then you’ve got the garden, which is just sunshine music. So that’s such a cool experience. And then once again, it’s just incredible because you’re playing the all-night-long set which I have done many times. The sun starts to rise and you’re right on this debris, and then at the shutters, you can see the sun coming through and it’s a really beautiful moment. There are so many great places in Berlin. I would have to say those two are my favourites.

What do you miss about Australia the most when you’re not there?

At the moment, I’m at my dad’s place and I’m in the country and it’s so peaceful. I just love nature and the weather and the way everybody is just so chilled and easygoing. I miss my parents a lot and my sisters and my family. So that is a major part for me, but I also relax too much. I think it’s always better when I get back into Europe or the UK. I’m in business mode but I come back every year at least twice if I can to see my family. And it’s just such a different experience. Like the music culture. And the techno scene here is growing. It’s not as big as it is in Europe, but Melbourne as an example is quite up there. They’re probably the most forward and advanced and when I played just a couple of weeks ago, it was amazing.

What’s one of the best advice you’ve ever been given?

For about 15 years, maybe longer, my mom told me to just follow your heart with music. And to make sure that when you’re performing, that you’re giving everything that you can to everybody on the dance floor and to have a connection. Because it’s so important to share that journey with them. And no matter where I’m performing, or how many people are there, I will always give it 100% and make sure that everyone enjoys it.

What’s the story behind Velvet Tears?

It was a time during COVID. I had taken some mushrooms. And it felt like the buildup when you cry and there were emotional tears, but also happy tears. And they felt like velvet. So I was like, I’m gonna one day make a track called Velvet Tears and it just stuck around and then when the guys who have the clothing brand Customized Culture who I’m doing the track with approached me and said: “What was your idea behind the logo and the track?” and I was like: “Okay, I want to call it Velvet Tears and it’s inspired by the connection that we have with other people, with music, nature, and everything around us and that feeling that you have, whether it’s happy or sad that’s all part of it.” So I’m excited for the release. We’ve got some really exciting projects around that.

What is something that you want to be remembered for? So, if you could leave a legacy behind which one would it be?

Well, this is part of the reason why I started the label. It would be remembered by this, but I would say most importantly for my tracks and the lyrics that I write in them. I always tell a story. Maybe sometimes people might not know that it’s my voice in my tracks or don’t always understand what I’m saying because of the way I speak. But I always tell a story in every single track. And it’s always from my heart, truly. So, I just want people to always be like, that’s what she was trying to say.

Velvet Tears is out now.

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