Not bowing to any single genre is part of what gives Juli Lee’s music it’s attraction. In an unconventional way, she combines groovy rhythms and driving basslines with elements of a broad variety of well-selected styles creating a signature sonic identity. The need to share her musical discoveries with others has always been present in Juli Lee’s life. Nightly sound orgies have kept up her neighbours in her old city apartment. However, as her sounds have moved from ear to ear, she has found herself booked regularly across Switzerland. When demonstrated her skill as a DJ is obvious. Given the platform she has the crowds moving and dancing long into the night.

We sat down with the young Swiss prodigy to discuss life on the road as part of our Tour Baggage feature.

The city I would love to move to one day…

A small town by the sea. Where exactly I haven’t decided yet, but probably on the Mediterranean. The sea makes me happy. Its smell and its sounds trigger a feeling of well-being in me, which I can compare with little else. But as I am a city child, the combination of a city by the sea is my absolute dream.

The last place to blow my mind was…

Rome. It was love at first sight. You can feel the history that took place there with every breath and yet the city lives completely in the here and now. I just love to stroll aimlessly through the streets and discover the small wonders of a place. In Rome, every little side street is worth a discovery. Of course, the well known, well-visited attractions are also worth a visit, but it is much more exciting to simply drift through this inhabited, lively and not at all dusty museum-like city, where antiquity meets modernity. There is probably no need to mention that the Italian food culture is not a disadvantage.

I never get on a flight without…

I never travel without my neck pillow and my noise-cancelling headphones. No matter what kind of plane and seat neighbour, these two things make me immune to all nerves.

I listen to a lot of music when I fly. Especially important for me is the track I’m listening to when the plane takes off. The combination of the loss of gravity and a great track gives me goosebumps. One such moment was when after three days without the sun (it was December and I was playing in Helsinki, Finland) I was allowed to watch the sunrise in the plane. In my headphones was running: Larry Heard, Mr White – The Sun Can’t Compare.

 

The most unique place I’ve ever played was…

I once played in the desert during a sandstorm. It was night and the stage was open air. The sand whipped around our ears and the people were wildly dressed up with lots of lamps and light objects as accessories. To the left and right of the stage, there were two big firecrackers, which could be operated from the DJ desk and added some drama to the whole situation. Everybody looked like elves, as the fine dust settled on the face like powder and eyelashes and eyebrows were covered in white.

Fascinating for me was the sense of community that the dancing crowd radiated. We are in this together and we will go through this together. One had the feeling that the dancing lights and music were an oasis in the wild hustle and bustle of nature. At first, I thought I would be playing on an empty dance floor, but the opposite was true, more and more people joined in. It was surreal and magical.

The daftest thing I’ve ever done while travelling…

I once missed a flight because I was eating Weisswurst at my leisure 150m from the gate. I don’t know until now how it could happen that I was more than on time at the airport, but then somehow completely lost track of time. Besides, there were three of us and for some inexplicable reason, our names were not called out. We made it to the next gig, but since then, there is a strict ban on Weisswurst at airports.

The loneliest I’ve ever felt travelling was…

After four hours of queuing in the immigration hall at JFK in New York in unimaginable heat (after 3 hours, airport employees started handing out water bottles because more and more people fell over). I finally arrived at the passport control desk and was told that I had to follow an officer. The only information I received was that something needed to be cleared up. I then came into a room where I waited another four hours with a couple of others. This was whilst the probably very badly paid counter staff leisurely rang through chasing the relevant people.

After what felt like an eternity, I decided once again to ask about the problem. I received a harsh response urging me to remain patient. Another 5 minutes passed and I heard my name. An official came to me and said: “Have a nice stay in New York” and accompanied me to the exit. I still don’t know what was going on at that time and I understand absolutely that you have to do random checks from time to time, but the way to lock someone up without any information about what is happening, as if you did something wrong, made me feel very lonely and at the mercy of others.

My Lost in Translation moment… 

I was on my way to Ibiza, it was the first flight in the morning and we were the only two people on the platform waiting for the train to the airport. When the loudspeaker announced the delay. We looked at each other and realised that we both had to get on the same flight, which we would probably never make now. When we finally arrived at the airport we noticed that the plane had a 4h delay. It was a pretty ugly, barren airport, but with my new travel ally, the time went by pretty fast. We took turns fetching a coffee. Watching the luggage while the other one went smoking, and shared our insider tips of the ‘places to go to’ on the island. When we arrived in Ibiza, we said goodbye at the baggage claim.

Two years later, a friend of mine, whom I had put on the guest list that evening, came and said she had a surprise for me. Her +1 was my travel buddy, who is now her boyfriend. It’s a small world.

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