Jauz: "I was unconscious for ten hours – I looked like Two Face from Batman"
DJ and producer Jauz shares some of his life experiences – including a near-death accident – and some useful lockdown tips. Always look for those silver linings...
He may hail from San Francisco but Jauz is a dyed-in-the-wool Anglophile.
Indeed, the producer and DJ counts headlining a UK festival as one of his career goals. Well, he's already done Conchella so we guess Creamfields might as well be next.
After surviving a serious car accident aged 15 thanks to the heroic intervention of his backpack, Jauz had a simple yet vital epiphany: "life is way too short to do something that you hate."
The current situation is producing similar epiphanies all around the world – and they didn't require being hit by a 45-mph SUV.
What upcoming project(s) are you most excited about?
Considering the circumstances, the biggest silver lining is that I've been given a "pause" button to really hone in on exactly what I want to be doing with my music and career moving forward. I've been afforded a lot of time to just be creative, write whatever I feel like at any given moment, and I've been able to compile a ton of really different, amazing ideas. So I guess I'm just most excited about continuing down this path and seeing where it takes me.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
It would probably have to be a tie between headlining the Bill Graham Auditorium in my home town of San Francisco (three times now) and Coachella. Both of these are things that always felt so out of reach, that never in my wildest dreams I would ever be able to accomplish. And within 5-6 years of making music full time I've been able to accomplish both, plus so many other absolutely incredible things.
It still doesn't quite feel real to me, but I try not to overthink it and rather focus on what's next that we can achieve.
If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
I'm not sure I'd really change anything. There's obviously things I've done better than others, mistakes that I've made, etc. But that's part of the story and it's not even close to finished. You can't appreciate the good moments without the bad, and for the time being the good times have greatly outweighed the bad. So if I could go back to the beginning and do it all over again, I think I wouldn't change a thing.
What do you hope to achieve that you haven’t yet?
Even before electronic music, the UK has always so heavily influenced my music taste and direction. Whether it was when I wanted to play guitar in a metal band, found my roots in dance music through old school dubstep, or the bassline sound that helped influence my earlier Jauz sound, the UK has always felt like my second home musically. I spend more time touring in the UK than just about any other American bass music producer that I know solely because of how much the UK culture and sound means to me.
Over the years of grinding show after show, we're finally really starting to make an impact in the UK and to keep pushing that forward is one of my biggest career goals. To do something like headline SW4, Creamfields, a stage at Reading/Leeds, something like that would be just unreal. I'd also say one of the few festivals I haven't been able to hit yet which I'm dying to has to be Glastonbury. It's just legendary.
Outside of your family, who is / was your biggest inspiration?
If I really had to narrow it down, I think I wouldn't be making music today if it wasn't for Linkin Park and Metallica. There are so many bands, artists, etc. that have influenced me so greatly over the course of my musical life but especially in my formative years there were none more powerful to me than LP and Metallica. Linkin Park is still to this day arguably my favourite act of all time, and was the reason I started listening to Rock, Metal, and Electronic Music in the first place.
That being said, I feel like that #1 spot has to be a tie between them and Metallica because without them I don't think I would have ever picked up a guitar, which inevitably led me to where I am today. I first started playing guitar at 12, and by the time I was 14 I could play every single Metallica song from their first album (Kill em All) all the way through the last song on the Black Album, all in a row, without stopping.
Tell us something nobody knows about you…
I wouldn't say nobody knows this, but most people who know me as Jauz would never know this: when I was 15, I was hit by an SUV going 45 miles per hour and came pretty close to dying. I was walking home from school, and the backpack I was wearing flew up and protected my head and neck when I hit the ground and the doctors said that's about one of the only reasons I didn't die right then and there.
I was unconscious for 10 hours and woke up in the hospital with my neck in a brace, my collarbone shattered and I had such bad roadrash on my face I looked like Two Face from Batman. All in all my injuries could have been so much worse, but I took that as a sign that life is way too short to do something that you hate.
I look back on that and realize that was really the moment I had decided I was going to make music for a living and there was no two ways about it.
How are you finding lockdown?
As someone who spends most of their time at home stuck in the studio making music, playing video games with my friends online, or hanging out with my wife and dogs at home, nothing really feels all too different. I'm actually quite enjoying having time to rest and do the things I love to do so much, but not everyone is quite as much of a hermit as I am.
My wife is going absolutely mental, and as I bad as I feel for her, I can't really relate hahaha!
Best thing about lockdown?
Getting to wear pyjamas almost all day every day, except for when the wife forces me to work out with her. It's been a while since I've really had a moment to just sit down and do absolutely nothing.
Worst thing about lockdown?
Not getting to see my friends. As much of a homebody as I am, I'm also an extremely social person and being with my friends has always been an incredibly important part of my life. Like I said we can all hang out online and play video games together and whatnot, but not being able to actually hang out in person does suck pretty bad.
Top tip for surviving lockdown?
Stay positive, keep looking for the silver linings!
I've detailed a lot of my personal silver linings that have come out of this situation, and I'm sure if you try hard enough everyone can find a way to use this time to benefit themselves in a positive way and stop worrying about the things we can't control.
If you could be locked down with one person, alive or dead, who would it be?
I don't know if I'd even choose a person (other than my wife, who if I don't mention here will probably no longer be my wife by the time this article comes out. Love you Jo!). I think it'd have to be my dog Bailey.
No matter the person, after long enough you'll always get sick of someone. But Bailey is just always a bundle of love who just wants to cuddle and play and be paid attention to. Not sure I'll ever get sick of that!
What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown is over?
Going back on tour! It's been great to have a bit of a pause, but I know once this is over I'll be raring to get back out there.