In Conversation with genre-bending producer and world-class DJ, Joyce Muniz, ahead of latest ‘Toxic People’ EP
Interview by Arnold van der Walt
“Always follow your natural flow“
Joyce Muniz was born in Brazil but currently finds herself in the Austrian capital of Vienna, surrounded by diverse experiences and a melting pot of cultures to draw inspiration from. In her earlier days, she focused on mixing drum and bass cuts to fill dancefloors, but throughout the years she has evolved her collection of sounds to include house, techno, and dub. Throughout the years, she mastered her craft and started producing her own music during 2010. Since then, she has climbed the ranks as the world took notice, allowing her to release music on imprints such as Get Physical, 2020 Vision, and Exploited and landing her on tastemaker labels like K7!, Poker Flat, Gomma, 8Bit and SUOL.
Joyce Muniz not only manages to find time to DJ constantly, but she also hosts her own radio show on FM4 Vienna and London’s RinseFM, plus she is a regular speaker at Native Instruments MASCHINE and has been working with online audio mastering service, LANDR.
Recently, Joyce Muniz has been releasing remixes of her hit track, ‘Toxic People’ via International Deejay Gigolo Records, pulling in artists such as DJ Hell, Play Paul, and Jerome Sydenham to name a few. Tomorrow, she will be releasing the third instalment which includes a powerful club filler remix of ‘Toxic People’ from techno-favourite, SHADED. The EP also includes a track which was only previously available on vinyl; ‘Dreamz’. One listen to these tracks, and it’s evident why Joyce Muniz has been such an applauded producer for such a long time. The latest ‘Toxic People’ EP is a dark exploration of deep textures combined with elements of minimal techno, pulsating electro, and deep house. Each layer aims to hypnotize, as you can’t help but move along to the percussion and the entrancing vocal samples.
The third remix pack of ‘Toxic People’ including Joyce’s previously only available on vinyl track ‘Dreamz’ is out on the 7th December.
We sat down with Joyce Muniz and spoke about the importance of health, her upcoming release of ‘Toxic People’ and finding peace in Shamanism.
Hi Joyce Muniz! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us.
What have you been up to?
Hey guys! I am great thanks, I have been working a lot and have a whole bunch of new music coming out in the next few months. I have also been working on some pop crossover projects with a very talented singer and songwriter. I feel it’s important to try new things and this project was so much fun. I am really looking forward to 2019!
Before we get into things, to those not familiar with Joyce Muniz, how would you describe your sound?
Hmm that’s actually hard to explain my sound as a producer, as I can’t only focus on one style of music. Some people call it house, sometimes techno and other times just electronic. I think I don’t really have a definition about my style and like to change it up now and then. Sometimes I have had people say they can feel the funk and the Brazilian grooves in my music, so maybe I should try and find a name for this! ☺
You recently released your EP, ’39 Degrees’. What has the reaction to that been like? Do you think it’s best to enjoy ’39 Degrees’ with headphones or in the club and why?
The reaction to the release was really good, more than I expected actually. ’39 Degrees’ is an underground percussive house groove, and I am happy to see other DJ’s playing it. I think the lead track is one that you can enjoy listening to in headphones doing day to day things, as well as for a dance in the club. For me, the track is definitely a DJ tune especially because of its percussion groove.
The tracks on ‘Toxic People’ have a darker sound than what we usually expect from you. What was the creative process behind this decision like?
Toxic People is indeed one of the darkest tunes that I have ever produced and yes, it was a very special moment in the studio for me also. It actually happened on my first actually with the Moog Sub37.I turned the Moog on, got this sick bassline and that was the start. I did the majority of this track in one day. I have some techy productions but this one especially with the dope vocals and lyrics from Demetr1us. Funny thing was that I called it ‘Toxic People’ before I sent it to him, he felt the vibe and went in the direction of the tune.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
I start out super basic. Kick, drums, bass and synth pad, or sometimes just melodies with different instruments. My musical background comes from the percussion and actually almost all my sessions are jam sessions. I play around with tempos. There are no rules to be honest (It’s crucial that the sounds have to be mixed well). If I do not feel it, I stop and start again on a new project. Always follow your natural flow.
Gary Numan is quoted as saying: “I have always been far more interested in sound than technique, and how sounds work together, how they can be layered. I think electronic music, (in its infancy anyway) allowed us to create music in a way that hadn’t really been possible before. It created a new kind of musician.” What are your thoughts on this statement?
I totally agree with him – electronic music is like playing with Lego. Everything is possible, but in the end, it’s all about the sound quality and mix.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
I like both. I think they are very important and different. I like to be in the studio to create, but I love to be on stage to perform my new tracks with the people who come out to dance with me. I also really enjoy playing music from some of my favourite producers that I have so much respect for. Sometimes you can get a little depressed when locked away in the studio for too long! So, you need to break that up with meeting amazing new people all over the world and to share new experiences.
Apart from being a producer and a live DJ, you are quite a busy person! Tell us a bit about all your projects:
Right now, I curate 2 different radio shows. 1 show monthly on London’s Rinse FM and the other on one of Austria’s premiere stations – Radio FM4. I love to do radio, so I am happy to be able to play all kinds of music on these shows. The radio gives me the chance to support my favourite artists and helps me a lot as a producer. It’s good to listen to other music styles besides my own projects. I have also been working on Demetr1us’s first album, which is going to be released in 2019. The project is more pop. It’s been a long time since I worked producing with someone else, the last time was a singers album for Louie Austen. The next few weeks I need to take some time to work on remixes for Anabel Englund, Rybo and Hannah Holland – I can’t wait! I love to remix tracks, especially for lovely friends. Music is all about good energy.
How do you manage to keep it all under control? When you become demotivated, how do you manage to inspire yourself again?
It’s all about having a good plan and good people around you. I never could make this all happen without my team, friends and family. It’s about self-discipline. I learned a lot in the last year and I became a very health focused person. I eat healthy and sleep a lot more. I have learned to stop working in the studio late into the night and become more of a morning and day time person. Sports have also been helping me destress and stay active. You can only find the balance if you love yourself.
You’re quite into meditation and health chats. Why do you feel it’s so important to take care of your body and mind?
I have a very spiritual family background, as my grandfather was a Shaman, my grandmother was a pastor and my favourite uncle is a minister at a Catholic Church in Brazil. My mum follows the Japanese knowledge of ‘seicho no le’ – it’s a religion but not really. Spirituality was always present in my family even though they are very different. It took time for me to find my path, but in the last couple of years I found my direction in the Shamanism because it’s very connected to nature. Therefore, nature becomes my god and will always be my inspiration. I learned to find gratitude and to that, better myself.
It’s a very hard job to find balance, and I had some major surgery in December of 2017 which changed my life completely, I learned a lot about myself during those 3 months of recovery. You can smoke, you can drink, you can do everything – just do not over do it. I never want to go back, and I am thankful that I am through the worst of it and now I can take my life back again.
You’re quite tech savvy! Tell us a bit about the gear you use to create your sound:
I have a very compact studio with a Moog Sub37, Electron analog keys, UAD Interface and of course my beloved Maschine MK3 with Komplete and yes, I use Ableton. I try to keep it simple. I am happy I found my favourite gear. It’s not about how much gear you have, but how you use it and how creative you are. Next up I do want to get the Arturia Mini brute 2S though ☺
What 3 songs do you currently have on heavy rotation?
Samuel L session – ‘Can You Relate’. This track is more than 10 years old, and luckily, I have this on vinyl too! I played this track so much in the past and also today. Its lyrics fit perfectly, making it a timeless track.
Dateless – ‘Ever Work’. Super dope tune, I love to dance to this one.
Claude Vonstroke – ‘Who Is Afraid Of Detroit’ (Wyatt Marshall) The original tune is an absolute killer of a track! But Wyatt did such a great job and refreshed the song once again. FIRE!
Apart from the ‘Toxic People’ release, what does the future hold for Joyce Muniz? (gigs, releases, projects, etc)
It’s going to be a year of collaborations! At the end of January I have my debut EP coming out on Desert Hearts. I love this EP and I made this one with my producer friend and techno pioneer from Berlin – Namito!
At the end of February, the next collab is out with Little Boots, which is on Exploited. I am super excited about this one after I produced her single ‘Shadows’. I asked her for vocals and she said yes. I just signed another EP on Gigolo for spring, and for that I got vocals with the amazing Kim Ahn. I’ll be in Europe after a nice little break and some down time in January. I’ll be on tour from February in the USA, South America and Asia too!
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