THE JEWELSSEA INTERVIEW
What's the story behind your name?
My full name is Juliana Concepcion. My friends used to call me “Jules,” growing up, I didn’t really take to spelling it like “Jewels” until I was in high school for whatever reason. Then one day I was in the shower thinking about what my artist name would be, and you know I really like the ocean. So I was thinking well my last name begins with a C, and the sea is basically the same thing as the ocean. So JEWELSSEA it was!
Are you from Philly originally? What does the local music community mean to you?
I was born and raised in South Philly! I grew up pretty involved in the music scene here. I started guitar lessons when I was 8 and I played it for a few years. Then I went to Girard Academic Music Program for middle school, which is a really small public school that incorporates music classes and performance into the required academics. I’ve always been surrounded by people in the music scene here. A lot of my friends were in bands in high school and I got introduced to the basement show scene. The music scene here means a lot to me. My dad grew up in North Philly and he was showing me some philly hip-hop from back in his day, and it’s just so interesting to see how music has evolved here over the years. And I’m happy to be part of the scene here. Everyday I realize there’s so many musicians and artists coming out of philly, there’s so much talent here. And I really don’t know another place that has what Philly’s got going on right now. It’s just a really special movement.
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new mix?
I get inspiration from listening to a bunch of different genres of music. Listening to a wide variety of artists helps me curate my own sound. I also like to go to parties and see what other djs are doing, and what people like to dance to the most. I find inspiration everywhere honestly. Even from my uber drivers, I’ll just sit and listen to the music they play, shazam it, add it to my library. Shazam is really one of the best music tools out there for real. You can find so much music like that.
What are some of your favorite types of events to spin at? Do you hope to 'perform' at more events in the future?
My favorite event I spun at was at Vox Populi back in May. There were live painters and projection art, and 3-4 other djs played sets with me. My friend Karla Cortes set up that event for her Capstone at Drexel University. It was fun getting people to dance in an art gallery space, I definitely want to do more shows like that. I also used to play a lot of house shows, and probably my favorite house show was with Lucifer’s Lounge. So many people showed up and the bill was stacked. I remember there wasn’t a table for me to set up my gear so I had my board and my laptop on top of two amps and a milkcrate. They had some funky projection art going on in that space as well. That show was a lot of fun. I definitely want to play more shows with live art, it adds a whole other element to the experience of going out to a party.
Tell us about your most recent, or your favorite, mix or playlist you've created.
I’m working on an electro/techno/hip-hop mix right now. Definitely my favorite mix yet. I’m gonna put that out before 8/30. I’ve also got a nice lofi mix I played at The Living Gallery Outpost in New York that I love. A lot of lofi hip-hop is around 80BPM so it’s easy to mix. This mix is like nice coffee shop music, but a little more upbeat.
Have you faced any prejudice as a female in the creative community? How do you deal with that?
It’s definitely intimidating at times. There’s just so many creatives and musicians in philly and it’s not often I come across other women producers or djs. But honestly I’ve also gotten a lot of good opportunities being a woman dj because we’re in high demand right now. People want to see something different. Honestly the best thing I can do is just worry about myself, and making sure my mixes and production are tight. The more confidence I can have coming into a show, the better. If I can be good to myself then I don’t have to worry so much about what men think of me.
Do you have any upcoming music drops or events coming up we can look forward to?
Yeah I’ve got a few things going on! 8/30 I’m playing at Pink Sotano in North Philly. Haven’t played a warehouse show yet so that’ll be sick. I love that space too. My best friend and manager Vic (@vicdeni hit her up on ig you know) helped organize that with our friend Keenan. She’s been wanting to do a Rave style show for awhile so it’s great to finally see it happen. I’m also playing a house show on September 1st with Devil (fka Prison), Ray Gun, and Sewer Pope. I haven’t been doing too many house shows but a lot of people are going to show out to this one so it’ll be good.
I’m also looking to release a little lofi hip-hop mixtape before the end of the summer. Mostly throwaways and other beats I’ve been working on for the past year. I feel like my style is changing a lot right now as I’m transitioning to more electronic and hip-hop beats. I’d hate for those older songs to just get forgotten, because I still like them a lot.
What's next for you?
I’ve actually got a lot coming up that I’m excited for. I’m headed to Berlin September 22nd for three months. I’ll be studying the music scene and media arts there, working at a radio station, and I’m working on securing an audio design internship at the moment. Also got a few shows lined up which will be insane. I can’t wait to connect with other artists out there and produce some tracks. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve never left the country but I only hear good things about Berlin. And they’re like the audio capital of the world pretty much. Which is like heaven for me. After Berlin I’ll be back in Philly finishing up my degree at Temple, and then who knows what’s next! I just want to keep doing what I love. And I will.
CATCH JEWELSSEA AT ALT+ESC THIS FRIDAY AT PINK SOTANO!