Up-and-coming electronic music producer and DJ Julian Ragland, also known as Julius Jetson, will be making his headlining debut at U Street Music Hall this Friday. On Tap caught up with this local talent to get the inside scoop before his upcoming show.
On Tap: First things first. Where did the pseudonym Julius Jetson come from?
Julius Jetson: I was in a history class junior year of college doodling and spelling out my name in different ways when I wrote “Julius Jetson.” I kept rereading it and thought, “That has a really good ring to it.” And it just stuck.
OT: How long have you been playing music in the DC area?
JJ: I began playing back in 2012 when I was in undergrad at the University of Maryland. By 2014, I was playing four days a week while I was still in college. It was during college that I started my first company where we would host two parties a week and max them out. While I was DJing a lot, the frequency of shows helped me pay my way through college.
OT: In electronic music today, more artists are saying they don’t have a genre. What genre of electronic music would you say you fit into, and what differentiates this sound?
JJ: I would say I fit into house music, and a subgenre called G-house. My sound is unique because it’s heavily influenced by 2000s rap from Atlanta. I’ve been able to study it and implement samples from old Atlanta vinyl. It’s basically the glory years of Atlanta hip-hop, and I think that period speaks more heavily than other time periods [in rap music]. The combo of hip-hop and house music is something that I want to introduce to everyone. I get to use throwbacks while incorporating house sounds without changing the vibe completely. I love that I can introduce my two favorite music types in one.
OT: Why is Friday’s show significant to your career, specifically in the DC area?
JJ: I started learning the ins and outs of planning events at U Street Music Hall in 2011 for a group of guys that were regularly throwing parties at the location. I then became an intern for U Street, and after that my first event collaboration with them was in 2013. It’s cool that I can return to the venue where I first starting gaining experience in DC. We’ve kept a great relationship over the years, so this is really exciting for me.
OT: If you could perform with one artist, who would it be and why?
JJ: Probably Bijou. I first heard his music two years ago, and hit him up on social media to connect musically. From that point on, we have been friends and kept in touch. We both resemble the same genre, and it’s awesome to see that he’s coming to DC and bringing more light to our genre. [You can catch him at Flash this Wednesday.]
OT: What are you plans for the spring and summer? What’s your ideal venue or festival for performing?
JJ: I’ll be playing a local festival in June, and I’ll liking be making my way out to L.A. and Miami this summer. My ideal set would be played at Coachella’s Do LaB stage.
OT: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JJ: I would love to be touring in five years. Ideally, I’d like to have my own label and throw major parties in Miami, Barcelona, Ibiza and Amsterdam for all the main house music conferences.
Hear Julius Jetson and Rawle Night Long at U Street Music Hall this Friday at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 or free before 11 p.m. if you’re 21+.
U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; 202-588-1889; www.ustreetmusichall.com