Bay Area DJ Jauz, aka Sam Vogel, will perform at Coachella for the first time this year. In addition, his Bite This label is doing a Heineken Tent stage takeover on both Fridays and he's hosting an official Goldenvoice Dayclub pool party “Off the Deep End,” on Sunday, April 21. He's going to be busy, and we chatted with him about what we can expect.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you start creating music, and then know it would be a career?
JAUZ: I’ve always known that I was gonna do music, since I was a kid. It’s just knowing what capacity. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be in NSYNC, or be in a boy band. I thought that was my destiny. In middle school, it was to be a rapper. Then when I was in high school, I started playing guitar. Maybe even before high school a little bit. But when I started playing guitar, that was really when my actual music career in my mind took off. I was convinced that I was going to be in a band touring, playing guitar, and it just never worked out for one reason or another. Somehow I found electronic music. I started producing when I was 14 or 15. When I realized that making music electronically is completely dependent on no one other than yourself, I realized that if I take it seriously, then I can make something happen with it. So from the time I was 15, I was in it to win it.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
That’s tough. There’s been a lot. The pretty quick transition from looking up to all these artists and being like, “I could never even meet them or talk to them,” to now having worked with so many of them. Doing a song with Tiësto, Skrillex, Diplo, Dillon Francis, the list goes on. I’ve not only made music but also become friends with so many people that I used to idolize and are huge influences and reasons why I am here doing what I do. But I guess if there’s a crowning achievement, even though it’s not really fair to put one above the other because there really have been so many, I would have to say headlining the Bill Graham [Civic Auditorium] in 2017, because I grew up in San Francisco and I never even got to go to a show at the Bill Graham when I was a kid. To be able to come home and do my biggest headline sold-out show of all time to this day, that was probably if not the No. 1 moment, at least top three.
Will this be your first time at Coachella?
Yeah. I don’t really know what it is, but I kinda made this deal with myself that I wouldn’t go and do certain things until I ended up playing them. It’s kinda like, I made this pact with myself when I was in music school that I wouldn’t go to X festival or Y festival until I played there. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I think the only reason I haven’t been to Coachella is because I’ve been so busy. Now I could go if I wanted to, but before I was touring I was too broke. I couldn’t afford going. I’ve been looking forward to going to Coachella as a fan for such a long time. To get to go for my first time and do the whole thing is pretty surreal.
What can we expect from the set?
I’ve put a lot of thought into it. My goal is to ride the line between — at the end of the day Coachella is all about having fun. It’s a big party, there are so many people there. Especially something that I’ve thought about a lot is there’s probably a lot of people at Coachella who don’t know who I am. I’m sure there’ll be a lot of my fans there — the dance music scene is definitely very strong at Coachella — but it is also one of those crossover festivals where you are gonna get a lot of people who don’t really know who you are. So I think it’s a really good opportunity to be able to both give the kids a good show and a fun party, which is something that I’ve done as Jauz, but also be able to show them what I’m about, who I am and what I do. I’ve been trying to find that fine line. I don’t want to make this super serious, emotional, cinematic show, but I also do want to really have kids walk away knowing exactly who I am.
You're also hosting a Bite This takeover…
The Friday’s gonna be a little hectic for me, considering I’m playing and running a stage on the same day. The takeover is a bunch of the guys on my Bite This label. We’ve been up and running for a couple of years now, and the label’s finally starting to take off and pick up some steam. I couldn’t think of a better place for our first real stage takeover than Coachella. The lineups are stacked, both weekends. This is why I run a label and do what I do — to bring kids who might not be able to play Coachella and give them an opportunity to be in front of so many people.
After Coachella, what's next for you?
We just put out a single on Friday called “Dance Floor” with SUMR CAMP. Last year I put out an album, 23 tracks, that was super conceptual and more on the serious and cinematic side. This year for me is about putting out as many singles as I can, everywhere from house music to bass-heavy stuff and everything in-between, and really being able to write as much weird stuff as I can this year. Getting it all out into the world. Looking toward 2020, we have a lot of stuff planned around the album. We’re still in the beginning process of figuring everything out.