I’ve been saying this for more than a year now, and it still holds true: Sam Vogel, better known as JAUZ, is most definitely the shark to watch. Aside from having the talent to produce music, it’s essential to have a marketable brand that enables the DJ to get their music out and really make a name for themselves, and JAUZ does exactly that.
“For every one kid like me, Kayzo, Slander, MAKJ or whoever that is successful, there is at least sixty or seventy kids who are just as talented, and yet for whatever reason they just don’t make it.” – JAUZ
The difference between Sam and those other kids is that he has the full package, including the brand to market himself and hold it all together. He first learned these steps at Los Angeles’ ICON Collective. Then, he ran with it. Quite frankly, the entire JAUZ brand is genius.
It may seem obvious now to connect the JAUZ brand with Jaws the shark, but surprisingly, Sam had not planned for JAUZ to be a shark.
For him, the entire branding process happened organically, which is probably the reason why it took so well and has been so successful – it just made sense.
Marketing genius, fan movement, or somewhere in between? This JAUZ interview explains the Shark Squad from its inception to current status.
I read that “JAUZ” was actually a slang-term from your high school. What does it mean?
Yeah, exactly. So to use it in context, it would be like “jauzin” – like you’re talking out of your ass, you had no idea what you’re saying or you’re bullshitting. I thought it was the stupidest word ever – I hated it, I HATED it. When I was trying to come up with a new name for my brand, for some reason or another that word popped into my head, and I was like it’s short, it’s simple, it could be catchy, and I thought it would be funny for me to re-appropriate it.
I guess it’s kind of like what came first, the chicken or the egg – did the entirely shark-themed branding come about first or was it the “music has no boundaries” and “no genres” mentality? What was the driving force of the JAUZ brand?
It was definitely the “no genres” stuff because a lot of what we had to do at ICON in the last semester was business, branding and marketing.
So was the branding of JAUZ a school project?
Yes and no. I wanted to re-brand myself right when that class came along so everything that I did in that class coincided perfectly with everything I had to do to actually get my brand off the ground. But, I could pull up that school project slideshow, and there is not a single word in there about being a shark.
How did the whole “Shark Squad” thing come into play?
The whole Shark Squad thing happened because I would introduce myself to people or my manager would introduce me to people, and they’d be like, “Oh what’s your name?” or “What do you go by?” And I would say JAUZ and they’d be like “Oh, like the shark! Oh, like the shark!” So eventually we were like, okay we have to do something with this and make something that fans can be a part of, like Carnage with his ‘Chipotle Gang.’
Yeah, that is what I was going to say, there’s the Shark Squad, Chipotle Gang, Mello Gang and many more with a lot of other artists. I feel like that would be good for garnering your fan-base.
Yeah, but it’s not just a marketing technique; it’s something to help your fans feel they’re really apart of something. For me I’d really like to see “music has no boundaries” turn into a movement. I’d like to have a group of my fans show other kids types of music they wouldn’t usually listen to or help kids who are where I was three or four years ago – just SO stuck on making one kind of music – and blossom into multi-genre, multi-faceted producers. Fans will come up to me at shows and say, “You know I only used to listen to dubstep until one of my friends showed me your music, and I came to your show. Now I listen to all this different kind of music.” That means so, SO much to me. That’s when I feel like I’ve done my job.
Tell me about this master plan; what did that entail?
So that’s what the big benefit of the business classes at ICON was; we had to make a three-month plan, a six-month plan, a year-long plan, where we want to see ourselves in five years and more, which really motivated me to buckle down. Before I put out my first track as JAUZ, I had fifteen tracks that were already done, so if I realized if I release one every two weeks, I will have 30 weeks of music. And in those 30 weeks of music, I’ll still be writing tons of NEW music. Granted, I think maybe only six of those tracks ever came out, but once I had all of those, I started reaching out to all of my connections that I had.
What was the process like to actually put out those tracks?
The first track that I ever put out as JAUZ was a remix of “Work” by Iggy Azalea with my friend Clark Kent (who’s now producing under Echos). He was already relatively established so when we put out the track, EDM.com and ThisSongIsSick.com featured him. Because of that I made connections with those guys. I set up another song with ThisSongIsSick.com, and two weeks after that, and another one with EDM.com two weeks after that. I had to make sure that every track I released had a strategic purpose. I also tried to make the tracks all different genres. The first one was trap, and the second one was a remix of “Jack” by Breach, which is a deep-house track. I basically tried to change up the genre with every track and that helped me a ton. Then, because I wasn’t so worried about having to make a track that was going to come out in a week, it really let me write tons of new stuff.
How did you end up on Buygore Records?
Even before Tchami played my track, the first guy who ever supported me was Kennedy Jones. I had reached out to him and bugged him a million times, then I sent him one track and he said, “Yo, this is sick!” and started like playing it out all the time. We hung out a few times and reached the point where I had sent him enough tracks where he put me in touch with Moe, who is now my manager – and that’s how I started working with Buygore.
What is it like having Borgore as your label boss?
He definitely helps out new talent and brings new faces to the forefront. He is really good about going out and finding new stuff that he really likes. He brought me on tour for the first time and really helped me get my name out there. I’ll always really appreciate what they’ve done for me.