Much like the ultimate predator from the deep blue, Sam Vogel, better known as Jauz, doesn’t back down from anything. It’s this fearlessness that has made the young L.A.-based producer a veritable shark in the studio, using his razor-sharp skills to devour any genre he comes into contact with. The very fluid nature of his style has positioned him to work with big-game acts including Diplo, Netsky, San Holo, Marshmello and Ghastly. Both extremely agile and hungry for innovation, Vogel has established one of the strongest artist brands in the business.
He’s reaching for the next level now, as he embarks on the most pivotal tour of his career. Off the Deep End is an entirely new show he’s been planning, built around a dope customized stage and a meticulously thought-out set that will see Vogel diving further into his broad musical influences. Insomniac jumped on two of the 14 stops—the first taking place in his hometown of San Fran and the other in Los Angeles, his current stomping grounds. With both events happening over the next two weekends, we felt the need to track down Jauz and find out how deep he’s willing to go.
Let’s start by talking about the concept behind your Off the Deep End tour. How do you intend to differentiate these sets from what we would see at a “normal” Jauz show?
I think the Off the Deep End shows really differ from my normal club gigs, because these are the most calculated shows I’ve ever done. From working on my sets to building our own stage—syncing lights and video, etc.—we’ve really worked on making this a true seamless “show” instead of just a gig at a club. This is what a Jauz show would be in my wildest dreams—well, almost as good as that, but there’s still room to grow. 😉 This is a great start, though! These shows are kinda like my “Hey, you might know who I am and what I do, but you’ve NEVER seen it like this, and now you know exactly what’s up.”
This weekend, you’re going to be hitting up your hometown for a sold-out show at Bill Graham. Do you tend to give special treatment to these visits back home?
It’s always special playing in your hometown, but now, honestly, Los Angeles almost feels as much home to me as SF does—just two different “homes” for two different parts of my life. San Francisco raised me, turned me into the creative person and artist I am today. Even though I live in L.A. now, I’ll never stop feeling like San Francisco is really home and trying to do the best I can to represent my city.
I mean, last time I played in SF was for Outside Lands, and I played FOUR damn sets that day—three at the festival and an after-party! There are not many places in the world I would agree to something like that, but for that day, I was like, “The more the merrier—bring it on!” just because it’s so rare for me to play at home. But this time around, whether you’re in SF or L.A., you’re gonna get a show from me like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
E-40 and Too Short were invited on as the special guests for the aforementioned stop. What made you want to go after them specifically, and how did the conversation go down when you pitched them on the gig?
Man, I’m almost more excited for their sets than my own! Haha. Growing up in the Bay, those two guys were absolute legends—idols to my friends and me, for sure. It just felt right that if I was going to really “Do it for the Bay,” I should go above and beyond. And the fact they agreed to do this show with me still blows my mind. Selling out 8,500 tickets in my hometown is one thing, but doing it with two Bay Area legends? Priceless.
Do you think it might open up the doorway for a collab with either one of them? Hypothetically, what would you want something like that to sound like?
I kinda feel like I would LOVE to produce some hyphy Bay Area beats for them. I feel like I could actually do a decent job now, haha! I’d almost rather do that than an actual “collab” electronic track. To be part of the culture and history of the music that really defines the Bay Area in the last 20 years would be so cool to me. That and to produce a track for/with Metallica; then all my Bay Area bases would be covered. 😉
When was the last time you felt like you were caught up in the deep end? What was going on, and how did you pull yourself out of it?
It’s almost our job to live in the deep end as performers and touring artists—between insane travel schedules, zero sleep, trying to get music done on top of all the pressure and criticism, so on and so forth. If you can’t keep your head on straight in the “deep end,” you’ll pretty much drown. It definitely took some getting used to, but now I feel just as normal a dude as I’ve ever been, even though I still deal with all of that stuff on a daily basis. I guess it’s about remembering how fortunate we are to even be here doing this and staying appreciative that keeps the drive alive—for me, at least.
What aspect of your life has changed the most drastically or was the hardest to adjust to?
Like I was saying, I honestly don’t think too much has changed, other than being gone 90 percent of the month. When I AM home, I’m the same dude who just wants to hang out with his friends, play video games, make weird music, and pretty much never leave my house. In the last five months of 2016, I was NEVER home for more than three days in a row. For example, I’d be gone for five weeks, home for three days, gone for a week, home for three days, gone for three weeks, etc. Getting all of my “me” time in AND getting music done in such short periods of time definitely wasn’t easy at first, but now it just feels like normal life.
Is there anything your success has allowed you to experience that you may have never had the chance to otherwise?
TRAVEL. Sometimes, yeah, the travel sucks, and we fly a million hours and sleep two hours in three days, and all of that. But other times, I feel like I’m being paid to go on vacation. Getting to experience Asia, Europe/UK, South America, Australia, and New Zealand are things I LITERALLY never thought I would ever do in my entire life, and now I’ve been to all of them at least twice.
The moments where you’re walking around a temple in Thailand, going about your normal life and acting as if this is just regular—because, at this point it IS more regular for me to be somewhere like that than in the USA—and stop and think, “Holy shit, this is my life. How did this even happen?” Those are the moments I live for. And even crazier than that, there are people in those countries who KNOW who I am! Maybe we can’t even speak the same language, but seeing someone’s eyes light up just because I happen to be walking next to them or just stopped for a hug or a high five, on the opposite side of the planet from home, is one of the most insane feelings ever. That’s what I appreciate most: that through music we really can connect with people across the whole planet, regardless of race or religion or language or anything. That shit is crazy to me.