For someone who doesn’t do many interviews, I figured Juventa would be a quiet genius. At only 20 years old, he’s already earned his stripes as a trance and progressive producer. He’s enjoyed releases with Armada as well as performed with Armin Van Buuren at A State of Trance, but is currently known as one of the brightest stars on Enhanced Recordings. He even co-hosts their weekly podcast Enhanced Sessions with Tritonal and good friend Estiva. But he’s not just a shy DJ prodigy quick with one word responses. Instead, Juventa is a warm, welcoming soul who tries not to take himself too seriously. Your EDM got the chance to sit down with Jordin for a rare interview this week about his latest Kinetica EP and much more.
What was the last video game you bought?
I bought Destiny back in September.
Have you ever stopped playing a video game because the music inspired you?
Actually, I played GTA V a lot last year, and there was a song in there by The Chain Gang of 1974 called “Sleepwalking” that I heard in all the commercials. I decided to add my own spin to it and sent the track off to Will [Holland] at Enhanced. He really liked it so he tried to get in touch with their team just to see if there was something he could do. One day while I was playing the game he called me and told me he was able to get the stems from them and they gave me about two weeks to make an official remix. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was! Stuff like that doesn’t really happen and their team was so nice to give me the chance. That remix is what helped me get the remix for Dillon Francis because they worked with him for “When We Were Young.”
Are you aware that your Kinetica EP is also the name of a racing video game?
No I didn’t! I didn’t know what to call the EP so I asked some people at Enhanced and they helped me come up with Kinetica which is a term in physics.
But “Wooloomooloo” isn’t related to physics. Did you make that track name up?
It’s a district in Sydney. I spent three weeks there over a year ago and I had this tourist book and I saw the name on the map and thought, ‘Oh! I’m going to use that name for a track.’ And it’s actually pretty cool because there’s a Twitter account for Wooloomooloo, so whenever someone tweets and asks me what it means they respond!
Your Just For Now EP came out just six weeks before Kinetica. Were two EPs always the plan or did you just have too much material for one?
I’ve had a lot of unreleased music so two EPs made sense. The track “Just For Now” is about two years old. The intro to the EP is a year and half old too. I actually played it at ASOT 600.
Will we be seeing more of your “Nothing But Love” Podcast in 2015?
Probably. I’ve been taking a little break from it because I also do Enhanced Sessions every month. The last few episodes had some overlap because there wasn’t enough tracks I liked to play out, so I decided that I’d only do it when I felt like there would be enough good material. It’s been a while though, I think there are plenty of new tracks waiting for me to discover.
What is the greatest lesson you learned about yourself in 2014?
I think the fact that I have to learn when to say no in certain situations. I’ve been taking on a lot of remixes and inquiries because I like helping people out. But then once everything starts to pile up and you have all these things to do it’s impossible to put your entire focus into each thing. So I have to focus on saying no and if people are disappointed then it’s not my fault. It’s a work in progress.
What makes you decide to say yes or no?
I have pick the ones that are the best for my profile first. I did that remix for Dillon Francis last year, and it’s one of those projects that you just can’t say no to. And they only gave me five days to do it, there was no other way. I don’t think I slept for a few days trying to make the deadline. The same goes for people like Gareth Emery. But then there are remixes I choose because I really just like the original song. If I still have time then I try to pick up everything else.
I found an interview from 2012 and you said that Trance had its peak many years ago and that it was time for another one. Did the peak happen or is it happening right now?
I’ve noticed with Armada guys like Andrew Rayel, they’ve taken trance to a new level. They have their own thing that’s been growing immensely over the past few years and it’s great for them because they now have a big following. But there’s also different subgenres within trance. The Enhanced sound is still growing and labels like Silk Royal who have the progressive sound are getting more followers but they’re not quite there yet. Plus, music is always evolving so it’s hard to say when something is peaking or not anymore.
Speaking of evolving, what do you say to people who get mad at artists for not sticking to the music that made them famous?
Right now, I wouldn’t say anything to them, not anymore. I’ve spent all my effort into telling people they’re wrong or shouldn’t be so hard on artists. I guess it’s something that you have to get used to. I remember being one of those people when I first got into electronic music and trance was everything I listened to and made. And I too got pretty pissed for example, when Tiesto changed his sound, and I was like, ‘what are you doing?!’ Though looking back now, I can see why he did it. If he had stuck to trance he would have been a completely different guy and not the same Tiesto he is nowadays. Artists make these changes for a reason and usually people don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Not to say those people are stupid or dumb, they just haven’t been apart of the process. It’s a little harsh to make those comments.
Do you think people still underestimate you because you’re only 20, even though you’ve been around for years?
Sometimes there are still people who call me kiddo and treat me like a teenager. But there are others who respect the fact that I’m younger than a lot of artists. Martin Garrix is younger than me, and I’m sure no one treats him like he’s 18. They treat him like he’s one of the top producers in the world.
You’re very active at Enhanced as both an artist and now a cohost on the show. Do you see yourself starting your own label in the future?
Maybe? I’ve had moments where I’ve had three tracks on three different labels and it’s been amazing to have that opportunity, but then everyone releases the tracks at the same time. If I started my own label I could dictate exactly when I want to put my music out, which is part of the reason why artists like Mat Zo start their own. Having your own label also means having the power to do whatever you want, genre-wise. I don’t think I’m at the point where I would be able do something like that but it’s something to consider down the line.
Won’t the industry eventually become over-saturated with labels?
From an artist’s perspective I can see why they start their own, but I guess I can also see how it’s confusing for the fans. People go to labels like Armada, Spinnin’, Anjunabeats, and Enhanced because they know these guys have a specific sound and can follow the labels to get all the tracks they’re looking for. And when there’s hundreds of different labels all with their specific artists you’d have too many to follow. I don’t know, maybe they can all get together and make some kind of super label? Then we’d just be back at square one..
I heard you don’t use monitors when you produce. Is that still true or have you changed your ways?
(laughs) I will never change. I love my Pioneer headphones. I’ve had this same pair for 5 years; I only replaced the ear pads because they were worn down. It’s a bit of miracle really. A few years ago Andy Moor forgot his headphones and we used the same pair so I let him borrow mine. There have been a few occasions where I’ve let people use them and they always find their way back to me.
What is your dream gig?
For a very long time I thought playing Ultra or Electric Zoo would be the dream performance and it’s still up there as one of my goals. Based on the music I like lately and what I’ve been working on, it would be cool to do something completely different, either as Juventa or maybe even a new name. But I would want to do something like Porter Robinson’s Worlds Tour where there’s so much detail in the visuals and every aspect of the show. He played here in Amsterdam and it felt like watching a movie for an hour and half; when it was over I immediately wanted to watch it all over again.
Would you rather have peanut butter all over your fingers or peanut butter stuck to the roof for your mouth forever?
Peanut butter…?! I don’t like the idea of not being able to touch anything, but I really don’t like the idea of not being able to talk either. Okay, I choose peanut butter on my hands and I can just have other people do stuff for me.
But then you can’t DJ.
Hmm, true. Nah, I’ll keep it on my fingers. I hate questions like this when you have two horrible answers. I don’t want either of them!
Juventa’s Kinetica EP is out now on Beatport.