Remix Project’s Juno Moss: “Knock On Wood, We’re Gonna Be the Next Big Thing in the Music Industry.”
Juno Moss, a musical duo comprised of members John McLachlan and Mike Nelson, dish up only a pair of ethereal remixes on their Soundcloud page. For those of us who've never had a chance to catch one of their DJ sets live, that sampler is appetizing enough to make us want to hear more. The deliberate hold back is all part of a bigger plan for The Remix Project mentees, but that doesn’t mean they’re not keeping busy behind the scenes.
We Skyped in with John McLachlan of Juno Moss the day after their Spring Awakening set to chat about Chicago and their place in its music scene, and what impact The Remix Project in Chicago is having on his craft and growth.
Hey man. You just finished playing a festival show, Spring Awakening? How did that go?
Awesome. We played a Silent Disco. It was a smaller stage inside of Soldier Field but we had the crowd going so it was good.
Have you ever been to a Silent Disco before? Do you know what it’s like?
No, I don’t.
So what it is, obviously it’s completely silent. Everyone has headphones on. They’re listening to the DJ, so it’s like a weird concept. I love the whole thing. It was crazy. Everyone took every headphone. It was all sold out basically. Everyone was vibing really hard, so it was really good.
That sounds amazing. I’d rather put on my headphones, get in my zone and be in that perfect solitude rather than dealing with everything that’s happening outside sometimes.
And I feel like that’s what everyone does. During the festival they take that time like, OK, I just need to go chill out for a little bit, go to the silent disco, get in tune with myself again.
Right?! Why don't you introduce yourself to the world and tell everyone what you do.
Well, World: I am Johnny. I am a producer, DJ. My main focus is production. I’ve been playing piano for… I’ve been classically trained for fifteen, sixteen years now, so I have a huge classical background in piano. I started producing two-and-a-half years ago. Ever since then it’s been music. I went to school at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, for two years before I left to do music full time but hmm, yeah; that’s my background musically and now I am affiliated with The Remix Project, which Green Label has an affiliation with.
Now I’m a part of this and everything is going really well and I’m really excited for everything that’s coming out.
I’m glad you mentioned The Remix Project in Chicago. How has that helped throughout this whole process?
For instance, my learning curve’s gone insane. I’m meeting great people, networking. Every workshop that we have, I meet new people everyday. I get to work with some of the best artists in Chicago. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s awesome to realize that I am in the beginning stages but it’s about to grow exponentially, really. It’s gonna be insane!
Speaking of Chicago, where do you see yourself in its music scene amongst everyone else?
What I like to think is that, me, along with all the other Remix people, we’re the next big thing out of Chicago because honestly, we have LA and New York, East and West side, what’s up with Chicago? We’re the melting pot. I feel like we’re the next ones about to pop. We’re gonna be the next big thing in the music industry. Knock on wood…
Knock on wood. For sure, man. As far as Electronic music and EDM, who are some artists you’re currently listening to?
Since I DJ I have to listen to everything, but artists that I really, really listen to a lot, they’re good friends of mine: Antics. They’re from Milwaukee.
You guys did the track “Konnichiwa” together, right?
Yeah. I did that with them. It’s doing good so far, so that’s awesome. I love that song. I’m listening to a lot of Zhu. I believe he’s based out of LA. Really good music. I listen to everything, really. Since I’m a pianist as well I listen to Chopin, all the classical, romantic period, everyone. That’s where I get my inspiration. Electronically, there’s Zhu, Antics, Dillon Francis, Jack Ü, a lot of people. A lot. I can’t even think off the top of my head.
Chicago’s influence on dance music is indisputable. Obviously, there was DJ Rashad and other great artists. What do you take from the past and do you incorporate that in your own music?
What I really do now a lot are hybrids. So I try doing a lot of house music mixed with Trap stuff, try to get that grit Chicago style too. Coming from Chicago, which is one of the biggest House cities in the world, I really always try—even if it’s certain type of sounds, deep-house chords, anything like that—I really try to incorporate, just to always stay genuine and true to where I’m from. Always. If you listen, you can tell, “Oh, that kid’s probably from Chicago.”
Share with us some anecdotes or wild stories that you’ve experienced as an artist, anything crazy happen at Spring Awakening?
Nothing too wild—that’s good though—but the simple fact, I mean I had an artist wristband, so I got to see everyone. I’m super shy but I got to hangout with Yellow Claw, Keys N Krates, Figure, TJR, huge artists, so stuff like that was a huge impact, inspiration, and motivation for me.
Tell me about your background in Chicago.
I grew up ten minutes outside of Chicago in a town called Berwyn. Not far at all. I lived there all of my life. I've just been musically affiliated my whole life. Always been trying to work on my craft through all of the influences here in Chicago. I have great mentors now that are really teaching me the Chicago way. I’ll put it that way. I’m really humbled by that, too. I’ll never take that for granted. Ever.
Any last thing you'd like to mention? What can we expect from you going forward?
Right now I’m trying to be as low-key as possible, trying to perfect my craft, gonna come out with a bang soon. There’s going to be a lot of music coming out from different ends, even if it’s not Juno Moss. You’ll see my work in a lot of other places; that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m producing for rappers like Frankie 08. He’s an up-and-coming rapper from Chicago. Very, very talented. Producing for him. A lot of his records. His EP should be coming out very soon. I have some stuff on that. Yeah. I’m just trying to work with as many artists as possible. I like to delve in every genre really.
Sweet, man. What did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, my father’s stuff! I have to give that to him…
Wow. That’s epic.
It’s awesome. It’s the best music!
Images: Remix Project Academy of Creative Arts, @pandah___