Taylor Freels better known as Urulu has been a steady name in house music for the past half decade. Starting his career in his native Los Angeles with releases on labels such as petFood and Exploited, the Amadeus Records head honcho has since relocated to Berlin. With well received releases on Dirt Crew Recordings, Let’s Play House and more recently Andy Hart’s Voyage Recordings, Urulu continues to elevate his productions while staying true to his unwavering brand of house music. Get to know the man himself through his musical selection and this exclusive interview in our latest MIXED BY.
You have had quite a few different Twitter handles over the past several years. Usually some sort of quirky name like the current “señor friction”. Any reason behind the name changes?I wake up every day with a new identity.
It seems that your sound has evolved over the years since you first started releasing music but has also managed to retain a similar feel throughout many of your productions. How do you think you’ve progressed over time and are there any particular reasons for it?
Well, I think, progression throughout any creative career is necessary. Mainly (for yourself) to stay interested in what it is you’re creating, but also in respects to your audience. I also found it rewarding to go back 2,3 or even 4 years to sort-of re-live that mindset during each record. Some tracks I can safely say I would have wished never saw the light of day, but others are rather humbling and innovative (at the time) for me.
Have the cities you lived in influenced your music in any way? From Los Angeles to London to Berlin?
Yes, absolutely. My current surroundings always have an influence on my music. However, (I suppose) you’ll always tend to here, stylistically, what growing up in California has done to my output.
Take us through your studio. A recent photo you posted showed quite a bit of hardware. Do you have any go-to pieces that you use on almost every production?
Jomox 888, Korg Minilogue, Yamaha sy-22, Roland Jv-1010, Nord Rack mount, Novation Bass Station2, Allen&Heath Zed 14 Mixer and the Dx7 is my flatmates.
It’s funny, out of all the gear I’ve purchased over the past couple years, I tend to use the least expensive one the most, my Roland JV1010. That entire series of Roland sound modules have such a goldmine of presets.
Do you use a lot of samples in your music or do you prefer to start from scratch? What’s a good starting point for you when making a new track?
As of recent I’m trying to sample less. My goal is to milk these machines as much as I can. I’d normally start with simple drum loops.
You co-manage Amadeus Records. It seems like your output there has slowed down a bit with only four releases over the past two years. Is it something you plan to get going again at a more regular pace or maybe you’re thinking of going in a different direction?
I do (mostly) everything for Amadeus, it’s sort of my bastard-child. It’s been a project I’ve put a lot of time and money into, but as of recent I’m trying to emphasize the focus on each individual record. My tastes tend to teeter-totter quite frequently, so with this label, the fewer releases the better really. I want to grow a roster rather than an assembly line (of which you can already see). The next record will be a split from Steve Huerta and Ewan (of Youandewan) sometime mid summer. I am absolutely in love with this record.
Are you still involved with Rebel Magazine? Did that experience help you get to where you are today?
Ah no, rebel faded about four years ago, maybe even longer. It was a great project. I ran it with Brian Vu (who moved to NYC and is now doing graphic design full time) when we were in high school. It was a great outlet for us, I’ve always loved music journalism. Rebel definitely had an integral part to my current network of music-industry friends. A lot of them of which went on to work for some pretty sweet companies. I had a blast with Rebel but it definitely was created to have a shelf-life.
Side note, Brian will be designing the cover sleeve for my next record.
Your most recent EP on Andy Hart’s Voyage Recordings “Greetings From Namek” has been well received by fans and DJs alike. How did you get in touch with Andy and is there any reason for the Dragon Ball Z themed title?
I’ve known Andy while here in Berlin. I think we initially met through mutual friends. You tend to realize how small and connected the scene is here (in Berlin). That record was a good eight month long process, probably the longest time I’ve spent on a release. And I would like to think it paid off. I’m more than ecstatic to be welcomed into the Voyage family and have started to work on a follow-up.
As far as the title, I grew up glued to watching Dragon Ball and have been wanting to reference it somehow. Glad you’ve picked that up
When you’re not producing, playing gigs, digging for new music or rambling on Twitter, is there any particular way you like to spend your time?
I play a lot of video games. Always have. But in addition I’m normally just bouncing back between the EU and the states, trying to stay as active as possible. I also eat a lot of pizza.
Finally, what can we expect from Urulu in the latter half of 2016?
I’ll probably grow my mustache out, haven’t quite decided yet.”
Interview by Igor