Interview with J.u.D. : Getting at the Artistic Heart of St. Flower
It’s late Sunday morning and I’m on a call with J.u.D, the electronic maestro whose craft is built with emotional soundscapes, intended to drive experience rather than just replays.
His music feels beautiful, almost aesthetically driven. This makes a lot of sense when you find out that J.u.D’s other passion and mastery is in graphic design. His visuals and palette of colours elegantly come together in all of his mediums. The testament: his self-designed album cover for St. Flower, his most recent exploration of acoustics.
Today, however, is a big day in the life of the 24-year-old Judrick Saint-Fleur. He is on the verge of making a really big step in his musical journey on the main stage of Igloofest alongside Keys N’ Krates and Tiga.
After some introductory conversation involving talks of breakfast and the day ahead…
Sorin Olaru (SO): How are you feeling about tonight? Any pre-event routines?
J.u.D (JD): I’m very very excited and looking forward to it. As far as routines go, I prefer to just sleep all day and make sure I’m fresh for my set. It’s my way of keeping stress at bay. I’m happy that a lot of my family and friends will also be there to experience it with me.
SO: I definitely feel your excitement, hehe. It’s quite refreshing. Speaking of excitement, walk me through the moment you got the call for Igloofest.
JD: I missed the actual call but I called my manager later who told me the news. I was definitely jumping around screaming. I was in a “victory lap”-type mood. What’s interesting is the fact that I knew right away what I wanted my set list to be. Igloofest is something I wanted to do for a long time so naturally I gave it some thought.
SO: So tonight you’re making a dream come true, so to speak. That’s very exciting.
The artist’s newest collection of compositions come together as St. Flower. It’s a very well-received cinematic effort with nuances of melancholy and introspection with plenty of emotional force.
SO: Not too long ago you were doing some strong trap and now you went to a very mellow and melancholy-filled sound. Yet, you still managed to keep some trap elements in a subtle, non-intrusive way. How did this transition come about?
JD: I was always very fond of this sound. I just enjoy experimenting with other sounds and at that time I listened heavily to trap, which also played a role [in my music]. Ultimately this is very much my own style that I got the chance to express with St. Flower.
SO: Speaking of different sounds, you had a very successful collaboration with Majestic Casual. What’s the story there?
JD: Well the first time, it really came out of the blue. It was a real surprise. The second time was also somewhat random, but they had started following my work and selected the Rihanna flip I did, which proved to be very popular. After that, for the third time I was featured, it was me who sent them a couple of tracks and they selected the one which they were most fond of.
J.u.D is actually still a full-time graphic designer and while it’s clear that this has impacted his aesthetics I was curious about the influence on his acoustics.
SO: Does your music pour into your design, and your design into your music? Or something along those lines?
JD: I would say it’s complementary. The lines are a bit blurry as the two processes are intertwined and they both feed off each other.
SO: You seem very aesthetically driven and your music sounds the same way. Do aesthetics and visuals play a strong part in your creative process? Do you draw acoustic influence from visuals?
JD: Well, it’s actually quite interesting. For example, for St. Flower I started with the design of the cover and the palette in my head and drew the whole album around that. I still use other music as an influence, but visuals do play a big part.
SO: Speaking of the process, take me through your motions of crafting music.
JD: I usually have an idea that pops into my head in the form of a melody and I start working on it right away to take full advantage of the creative spark. I begin by laying-down the synths and the bass and then I go through the percussion. Finally, I add more substance with live instruments.
SO: That’s interesting but I’d like to expand a bit on the process. For example, St. Flower is very emotional. How do you stay emotionally linked to the tracks, since you might be in a certain state of mind when you begin and then transition to another one completely by the end?
JD: My trick is not to rush. I take my time with the production, somewhere from one to three months per track. Like this, I let the tracks “breathe” and I can work on a few at the same time, alternating between them as the moods naturally ebb and flow.
SO: Your process is working very well for you and St. Flower is quite the opus. Are you working on something new at the moment? What should we look forward to in 2015?
JD: I can’t discuss some of the projects I’m working on but you can expect to feel my presence on a few albums, and I’ll be coming out with some remixes as well. I’m also in the process of conceptualizing a new project and “maybe” you’ll see a video for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles ;).
SO: I’m actually really looking forward to that after seeing IRIS.
We continued to speak a bit about his upcoming show at Le Belmont. I suggested we end with some rapid-fire questions. Here are his answers.
Biggest influence: Teen Daze
Favorite Artist: Loud Larry Ajust
Up and coming recommendations (artists): Planet Giza
Food: burgers, fat ones, the ones you eat with a fork and a knife hehe
Night time spot: moonshine after parties
Daytime spot: my bed
Best place in Montreal: my friend’s house
Music Trend of the Future: deep house
Quote to live by: tu es une grande personne, tu fais qu’est ce que tu veux by J.u.D
If you did or didn’t get to see J.u.D at Igloofest, make sure you catch him at Le Belmont on Saturday February 7 for a lovely escape through emotional sounds of edgy melancholy.