A force in Aotearoa's drum and bass scene, Paige Julia is gearing up for the summer circuit. But first, she answers a few questions.
Describe yourself as an artist in one sentence.
I am a strange creature that combines electricity and emotions to paint vibrations into the air of your favourite memories.
How have the global pandemic and lockdowns affected you and your music?
Being in lockdown was very good for clearing me of distractions and to allow focus for creating new music. I wrote my debut album, Morphling, in the first 2020 lockdown and then had the opportunity to tour it throughout Aotearoa for 12 months straight while we were virus-free. However, I think on a larger and less personal scale, this pandemic has been very disruptive and emotionally taxing for artists, venues and supporters and I feel this way too. It's an incredibly uncertain way to make a living and we have all had to be very flexible.
What one thing in your career so far are you most proud of?
Creating the body of work that formed my debut album this year, having done every aspect of it myself, from writing and mixing to publishing and marketing. Then having it received the way it has been with a finalist nomination for Best Electronic Artist at the Aotearoa Music Awards and a full touring schedule in 2021. I'm proud to have done that!
What's the secret to the perfect set?
Authenticity, vulnerability and as much new music as possible.
What's the current state and what's the future looking like for NZ's drum and bass scene, and why?
NZ drum and bass is on a huge upswing and has been for a few years. All of the major festivals love to fill the ranks with DnB artists from abroad, so that is very healthy for this particular genre and has offered a lot of opportunities for everyone. I think the future is always uncertain, I remember when I started DJing in 2011 it was all about Americanised Dubstep, and then other subgenres after that.
I would play drum and bass music in clubs and have some dance floors walk out, and other shows would have very small turnouts for this particular music, it was a very underground sound. Trends tend to cycle so I tend to think a new thing may come over the top someday just based on the history. There will always be a place for DnB in the people who love it but maybe we will see techno, house, hip hop or some new form of electronic music take the top seed in Aotearoa.
What's the best thing about the NZ music industry? And the worst?
If I am being honest the best thing are the people and the worst thing is how married the music industry is to alcohol.
What aspect of festival season are you most looking forward to?
The vibrations on my skin from the sound systems.
What would you say to any young person thinking about getting into music?
Talent is overrated. Be obsessed and learn as much as possible and don't be concerned if you don't think you are naturally inclined. Hard work will always overcome natural talent.
What are your plans for 2022? Where do you want to be five years from now?
This will be my fourth year of full-time touring, so I will try to make it to every corner of Aotearoa again and play shows every weekend. I have some exciting releases planned with some labels I have looked up to, and I want to continue to expand my teaching to get more people into electronic music. Five years from now, I don't want much to change personally! I am quite in a good spot today.
You're putting on a music festival with any artists you like, alive or dead. Who's on the bill?
Nirvana/Billie Eilish/Lacey Sturm/Otep/Tool/Prince/System of a Down/Nightwish/Linkin Park. Then EPROM b2b Alix Perez on the electronic stage, six-hour set! As long as possible please.
• Paige Julia has a full summer festival run upcoming, including: New Year's Eve festivals Rhythm and Alps, Northern Bass, Aum Festival and Twisted Frequency. She will also be a part of Coro Summer Fest, Shipwrecked Festival and Electric Avenue as well as at Matakana - February 5, Matakana Country Park With, Shapeshifter Scribe and P-Money (with the Harmony and Rhythm Brass band). Lee Mvtthews, Paige Julia and Half Queen. In between these festivals she will visit Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Wanaka, Nelson, Whanganui, Raglan and Raetihi for indoor events.