Interview w/ Under Black Helmet

Hello Julius, it’s good to have the chance to ask you a few questions.  So, for the beginning…why Under Black Helmet, can you tell us that?

To be Under Black Helmet is to be under a ‘barrier’ which prevents you from seeing the outside world for what it really is. It’s a metaphor to remind ourselves that reality has many forms and faces and that we should not get stuck in a particular way of thinking and be always open to different possibilities.

You are from Lithuania, how you feel about electronic music in your homeland, the scene there, and how does it deferre from Berlin’s vibe?

The scene in my homeland is relatively small if you compare it to cities like Berlin, however, there are a few promoters and clubs worth following. People behind Digital Tsunami, Kablys Club, Opium Club have been pushing the scene forward in many directions for years and are always striving to bring well established international artists and educate the local party goers as much as possible.

Did your life change a lot since your move to Berlin, or not at all, in terms of lifestyle?

My lifestyle has slowed down since I came to Berlin. Now I have much more time to concentrate on myself and on the music. Here I have a studio where I can go and lock myself in for a few days and get lost in experimenting with sounds, and look for new ideas, without having to worry about pissing off the neighbors with my lovely kick drums. Berlin is a great city for creatives, it’s full of inspiration and you can meet so many like-minded people here.

How you feel about support from artist like Jeff Mills, Rebekah, Dax J… Do you feel like you and your music are growing up?

It always feels great to be supported by others. It’s nice to find out your music was played at some cool event. As a matter of fact, support from anyone matters to me a lot – not just from DJs. Even a “thank you” message or someone saying they enjoyed my set, or a comment on my tracks, matters to me, as I don’t make music only for myself, I always imagine the listener.

Do you ever find yourself in a club thinking: “How the hell am I going to mix out of this track? Or onto this track?”

It happens, but it occurs less and less, the more I do it. Usually, I like to plan my set in clumps of tracks that I know will work well together – like 3 or 4 tracks at a time and then I’ll follow the flow to where I feel it should go.

Thinking about when you were starting out, were there any particular DJ’s who inspired you from a technical or creative standpoint?

Indeed, I remember some inspiring times at Ear To Ground label parties at Jaded, or Blawan at one of the Blueprint parties in London. Some of those were completely mind-blowing moments and they had strongly pushed me in a certain direction in the pursuit of my own sound.

Can you tell us something about your creative process? How is UBH music being “born”?

I like to experiment. I rarely start the track knowing where it should go, except for the basic concept. Sometimes I might start with a melody or a bassline and see what kind of elements may fit. Or sometimes I can start with some percussion. There are no rules. I always go with the feeling and I will be only be happy when the feeling is right. Intuition is very important in my creative process and I have the best intuition when I’m most inspired, which doesn’t happen every time I’m in the studio, unfortunately. Sometimes it takes days or weeks until I catch the flow and I’m happy, but when I do – it’s game on!

Do you mostly work in the night or day?

I produce music mostly during the day with a nighttime session sometimes in between.

What about music gives you the most satisfaction?

The state of flow, my brain neurons firing like crazy, the feeling of connectedness.

Have you ever felt that you lost your starting point, your base, when you’re touring? In some way do you ever get “lost in translation”?

Producing music and DJing are two separate jobs with a completely different skill set. Since I DJ on tour nowadays, besides playing my own tracks, I play a lot of other artists too. However, I try not to let that influence me in the studio as I want my ideas to be as authentic and as close to me as possible. I am not sure how much I get ‘lost in translation’ subconsciously, but consciously I try to resist it.

Have you ever had a dream?

Every day.

When I say Impulsive behavior, you say…

Inability to control oneself in the heat of the moment.