FUJU and the fiery art of DJing

The powerhouse duo FUJU, consisting of “TinkFu” and “Juliette,” have had a strong year so far. Their solid and energetic beats have found them supporting acts such as Candyland, drum & bass legend Goldie, and playing Utah’s biggest electronic music festival Das Energi. As of recent, their latest show was a self produced event titled “Something Wicked, a PrissCo event.” The show was a success and showcased some of Utah’s most talented DJs/Producers by way of an all female lineup. FUJU took some time to share with us some background, what the name FUJU stands for, and some history of PrissCo.

Mariam Nikolova

EDM UTAH: When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Julliette: I started DJing in 1995. At the time, I was playing a lot of breaks, but fell madly in love with drum and bass within the first year of playing. The first person I heard play it was Nate Metro in Seattle – I guess you could say he was one of my earliest influences, along with Hypa, Chris Sick and other originators in the Utah scene.
TinkFu: My initial influence came from SLC’s very own ‘DJ Sodie’. At the time, I had no idea that so many different genres of dance music existed (nothing compared to what’s out there today lol). But, all I knew is that I loved what I heard every time I saw her perform. One night I got the guts to ask her what she was playing. She told me the genre was ‘breakbeats’. I immediately went home and did some research on what ‘breaks’ actually were. That’s when I stumbled upon Baby Anne, whom happened to be coming to SLC that following weekend. I went to the show and around the middle of her set, I knew I wanted to be a breaks DJ. Long story short, around 2000, I went and got a little side job to save up for my first set of decks. I have been hooked ever since and have never looked back!


EDM UTAH: What are currently your main challenges as a DJ?
Julliette: I’d say my main challenge as a DJ is staying relevant without diverting from my passion. I learned early on that playing what I love meant more to me than playing what’s popular. So, it’s a welcome challenge to find what music will feed my passion as well as the crowds.
TinkFu: Local support. It’s as if we’ve gotten to a point where unless there’s a headliner, most people won’t even entertain the idea of showing up for an all locals show. Utah has gotten spoiled with some of the dopest multi headliner shows over the last 5-10 years. Which isn’t a bad thing! BUT, we have some seriously talented DJ’s in this state! I’d even be willing to put them up against any headliner and would throw down cash on our hometown heroes to “outplay them”! #SupportLocal


EDM UTAH: How did FUJU come together?
Julliette: We have been playing together through PrissCo for a number of years. It turned out that we kept getting bookings together, so we’d play b2b. Eventually, we decided to create FUJU, (the FU from TinkFu and the JU from Julliette).
TinkFu: FUJU came together many, many years ago. We got booked to tag at shows a lot and eventually decided we should come up with a duo name. We went with ‘FuLiette’ at first, but then our good friend Brandon Fullmer aka DJ Loki (you might have heard of him lol) suggested the name ‘FUJU’, and it’s been that way since.


EDM UTAH: What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?
Julliette: Track digging – finding the key tracks is always the hardest part of preparation! We pool our top tracks for the event (always considering the timeslot, who’s playing, who’s headlining, etc.), then we run through them and make sure they all work together.
TinkFu: Each set of ours is always so different. First, and foremost, we analyze the style of the show. Whether it’s a festival, club night, etc… Then we’ll look at the rest of the lineup and consider who is playing before/after us. However, more times than not, we’re going to give you a multi-genre set that consists of breaks, trap, drum & bass, and even some twerk. Sometimes we’ll even throw a little house and hip-hop into the mix.


EDM UTAH: How important is building a real relationship with the music you’re playing for your own approach? There’s so much music out there, is it even possible to build meaningful long-term relationships with a particular track or album?
Julliette: To me, it’s very important. If I don’t have a passion for, or like the music I’m playing, the crowd will know. It’s hard for me to fake it, haha! In fact, I have certain tracks that speak to me on a spiritual level and will only play them when I know others will feel that pull. (That’s also part of the preparation for shows: it’s necessary to adjust your music selection for the type of show it is. There are times when my favorite tracks aren’t appropriate for the show, so I find other favorite tracks that are.)

With so much music out there, I think we build relationships with the work of certain artists, rather than specific tracks or albums. There are specific artists that I know will never let me down.
TinkFu: I’ve always been a beatfreak. Breakbeats have had my heart since day one. I typically find myself telling people that I’m married to breaks, but have found BFF’s in drum & bass, trap, & twerk. If you don’t have that love and commitment for the music you’re playing, then why do it at all?


EDM UTAH: What do you try to communicate to the audience through your vibe?
Julliette: For the most part, my passion for the music we’re playing. We want them to feel the energy, love, groove and just let loose!
TinkFu: My passion for the music! If you’ve seen me play, I get super into what I’m doing! I find myself dancing around and singing along, sometimes forgetting that I need to mix because I’m SO into the track that’s playing. I’ve never actually forgotten to mix, but I think you get the point haha.


EDM UTAH: In your thoughts, what are some difficulties many female DJ’s are encountering in the Utah scene?
Julliette: I think the main difficulty female DJ’s encounter in Utah is not being taken seriously. It’s deflating to hear how often DJ’s are described as, “awesome for a girl”, or just “hot” instead of talented. It’s better now than it was 10 or even 20 years ago, but we still have an uphill battle to be taken seriously. Especially when a local producer publicly states that having a vagina is a gimmick and his followers agree – it’s sad, but makes us work even harder to change their perception.
TinkFu: Respect. Too often, we don’t get the same respect the guys do. It’s frustrating to still to this day hear, “…but you’re a girl.” Or, “Girls just don’t throw down as hard as the guys do.” Like, seriously? What year are these people living in?! I have friends of all genders that throw down just as hard as the next person.  Comments such as these are what drove us to form ‘Priss Collective’. *More on that below.


EDM UTAH: What is one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
Julliette: I’m a Junglist – Tribe of Issachar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1K9SsKoeqQ
TinkFu: There are waaaaayyyyy too many to choose from! I can’t give you just one example. So, I’m going to give you a few:

Baby Anne – She Said
Cleveland Lounge – Drowning
Stanton Warriors feat. The Beatnuts – Shake It Up


EDM UTAH: You’re a part of the local group Priss Collective (PrissCo) can you tell us a little bit more about it? How did it start?
Julliette: Priss Collective is a group of female DJ’s that work to support, build up, and encourage each other, as well as other female artists in the industry. Women in the electronic music industry are underrepresented, accounting for only 17% of artists on major festival lineups.
TinkFu: Because of this, PrissCo strives to support, promote, and encourage the talented women that are not only part of PrissCo, but those that are out there representing for themselves and other crews, as well. PrissCo was founded circa 2003 by SLC’s very own DJ Sodie and TinkFu. At the time, the roster consisted of DJ Merryl, Kinetik, Mizz Nici, TinkFu, & Sodie. Since then, Kinetik relocated to Denver, CO., and Sodie relocated to Baltimore, MD. Although two of the collectives’ core members transplanted, PrissCo gained two additional powerhouses by acquiring Julliette and Brieskie. In 2017, after many years of growth and success, two more talented ladies have been added to the roster: Decibelle, & Casanova.
PrissCo has held various weekly and monthly residencies for over a decade; always bringing a variety of genres and surging dancefloors. As a collective, PrissCo brings a broad knowledge of technology, skill, vast experience, and raw talent behind the decks. You won’t find pre-recorded sets or sync in use at a Priss Collective show.


EDM UTAH: Any suggestion or tips you may have to offer new upcoming DJ’s ?
Julliette: Learn as much as you can about older and new technology; step out of your comfort zone and be able to play on anything! Learn basic music theory and the circle of fifths. Play to your passion and do it because you love it.
TinkFu: Practice. Practice! PRACTICE! Also, learn how to DJ across all different mediums (turntables, CDJ’s, controllers, etc…). I can’t stress how important that is. Also, learn to mix by ear. Don’t rely on the sync button, wave forms, or BPM display to nail a mix. Because there will come a time where that option isn’t available. Also, stay humble. Us DJ’s are dime-a-dozen. We’re all expendable. Treat others how you’d want them to treat you.


EDM UTAH: Thank you!
FUJU: Thank YOU, EDM Utah!

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