Interview with energetic dance music producer Julian Gray

Releasing ‘Air’ with 28mm and Forts via Enhanced Music, music producer Julian Gray has unveiled a remix compilation of this ethereal dancefloor treasure. Growing up in an musically involved family, Julian Gray took an interest in production from a young age. Now, as an adult Julian Gray has shared the stage with music producers like Deadmau5 and Above & Beyond. Releasing several EP’s in the span of under a decade, the producer has also released EP remixes and singles under Deadmau5’s record label mau5trap. ‘Air’ is an invigorating listen for the inner child looking to let their hair down after a chaotic week of adulting, definitely a freeing and uplifting tune ideal for moments like these.

We chatted with prolific music producer Julian Gray below.

Please describe your sound for us.

My music is pretty genre-less, but if I had to describe it would be some fusion of progressive house, electro house, techno, and trance. Some fans of mine refer to it as “Progress-o”.

How did it all start for you?

I had the amazing opportunity to be raised around creative people. My grandmother was heavily in marketing and design, and ran and operated her own firm. My father is a studio musician who also taught music, my uncle an audio engineer, and mother a graphic designer and electronic music enthusiast. I’ve been inspired by this constant creativity surrounding me for as long as I can remember, so unlike for some musicians, I can’t say I had a definitive starting point in music. 

I think I’m a bit of a curious case when it comes to career progression however. In 2011, I started my youtube channel Julian Gray Media, teaching electronic music production and DJing, all-the-while reinforcing and teaching myself new concepts and techniques as I went along. Teaching has an odd way of validating techniques in your mind, forcing you to question whether or not what you practice is legitimate, or information valuable and viable enough to share. I’ve cataloged many of the milestone events I’ve had along my career journey on my youtube channel, and as I started as a content creator turned professional touring musician, there’s some sense of obligation to catalog and record each step along the way.

Which three artists would you say made you want to create your own music?

I fell in love with music at a young age, but there were no definitive musicians that made me want to create it. I fell into music production just as I’ve fallen into every creative endeavor I’ve ever fell in love with, through experimentation and practice. 

If I did have to name a few, I’d mention Daft Punk and deadmau5 as huge early influences that pushed me into the electronic music space. The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac for teaching me the value of harmony, songwriting, and minimalism: making great art with a simple and refined tool set. And finally Porter Robinson and Madeon for teaching me the value of storytelling and world building in musical projects, creating places a listener can visit whenever they indulge in a body of your work.

What is your go-to gear/equipment when creating?

The only gear I find absolutely essential to my songwriting/production process is a great computer and speakers. I use a Mac Mini with many plugins/sounds and my DAW of choice Ableton Live. I use Focal Shapes as my primary writing speakers, which I find are the most crucial element to creating great music. It’s really hard to write good music when you can’t get a detailed listen as you’re writing.

What are some of your key influences in your music? Whether it be the sound created by others, imagery, films or any kind of art form.

I think the idea of telling a story derived from narrative albums, video games, and films is omnipresent in my work. When I work on a single or album, I always imagine a world that the song lives in, and try to present a visual interpretation of that world in all of the parts that surround the music. Great imagery, virtual worlds, design, and music from storied creatives always inspires me. I often write new material and design new imagery derivative of the feelings felt from those works. Great art is the reimagining of your own inspiration.

What is one sub-genre you think doesn’t get the attention it deserves?

In electronic music, I think classic progressive house is one that deserves to make a comeback.

Any new or upcoming artists on your radar?

Some of my favorites in electronic music right now (in no particular order) are Wintersix, Sysdemes, Farius, Adrian Alexander, 28mm, and FORTS. I’m always looking to foster new talent through my collective, Graydient, and we always love premiering newcomers I’m excited about.

What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a performer? As an attendee?

While I have many stories, some of my favorites have been Supporting deadmau5 on his Cube v3 tour, for the sheer scale and full-circle nature of the performance. And more recently supporting Gabriel & Dresden on their Club Quarantine + Friends tour, as they are fantastic people, friends, and mentors, and I adore spending time with Dave and Josh.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I just released a new compilation of remixes for my latest single ‘AIR’ on Enhanced Recordings, featuring the remixing talents of Notaker, Jordin Post, and Adrian Alexander. 28mm, Forts and I are super excited about it, and I hope you enjoy listening to it!

Famous last words?

Keep on sharing art and music that you love, and never stop being creative.

The ‘Air’ remixes feature on the Spotify playlist EDM_GROUND.fm

Follow Julian Gray:

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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