With the World Series of warzone EU Finals just around the corner, we were lucky enough to catch up with Liam 'Jukeyz' James, who is part of Red Bull Gaming. Following phenomenal performances and ultimately taking home the title last year, Jukeyz will be looking to make it two in a row with his trio this year.
Read on to hear about how Jukeyz made it to where he is today, and what his strategies for today are.
A Catch-Up with Red Bull Gaming's Jukeyz
Hi Jukeyz, how are you doing?
I'm good, I'm good, thank you.
Nice, I'll guess I'll start where you started; how did you get into Call of Duty? What were you doing beforehand?
Well, obviously, I've always enjoyed Call of Duty growing up, I'm always playing, just not as much as I was about 5 years ago. That's when I started getting really into it, I had a lot of free time. And I was always in and out of jobs. I never really had a serious job, you know what I mean?
I was always in and out of jobs, say I'd work for 4 days or so then they'd get rid of me, then I'd be looking for a week or so, and during that time I'd just be gaming, and that happened for about 2 years. . And, and that was it really I just got a lot more free time on my hands and just got more and more into Call of Duty. Then i found out what Twitch was, and started just watching Twitch or Call of Duty Streamers, like Tommey, Callum Swanny, stuff like that.
Then I found the twins, you know Bradley and Matthew Marshall, and found out they were from roughly where I'm from, they're from Manchester and I'm from Liverpool, and I just started following them. And then I found out that they were like, playing for professional teams stuff like that. And I just realised that's what I want to do really just go down that route.
Nice. I'm guessing you started with multiplayer before you got into the war zone. And was there a moment where it sort of clicked for you? When you felt yep, I'm good at this now?
Not really, there was never that moment until Warzone came out. So there was like a Battle Royals Blackout, a few years ago right? I think Black Ops 4, around that year, and I was good at it, I was making a profit every day I was playing. Even if it was only $10 or something it was profit, and I was happy. I thought this is fun, and I wanted to get into streaming, so my mate lent me a PC and helped me set up the stream.
I'd be getting say 4 or 5 viewers, but consistently being a little bit known in the scene, just off being good and winning wagers etc. And I was like; this is what I want to do. I had no intentions of being where I am now, I mean I'm a pretty basic person, and if something seems too far-fetched I'm quite realistic and I probably won't waste my time. I was happy turning a profit and with a few people coming and chilling with me in the stream, and then Warzone came out and I was just different.
So I have to ask; Where did the name Jukeyz come from?
There's nothing crazy behind that, to be honest. On Xbox, you used to be able to change your username, and if it was available it would come up with a tick. I always wanted my name to have something to do with 'juke' but obviously, there are a lot of those about, say in other esports, then I just tried 'Jukeyz' and it was available so I just snatched it up.
You mentioned the twins of course, but do you have any other inspirations, from the Call of Duty Community or outside?
Yeah the twins are certainly the reason I pursued what I did. Then Matty made it even better, I remember I was just streaming one day, I think it was on Blackout, and he just came in the chat and chatted for ages.
From then onwards, he messaged me saying he likes the way I come across, likes my attitude and stuff, and wanted to try and help me grow as a brand. This was years ago back when he was on Faze but it was huge for me, it gave me a lot of motivation.
Those two are just the best people and huge mates of mine. Then Tommey was the guy I watched on Twitch, and he was a grinder too so whenever he was live I'd tune in.
So of course you've got the boys you're heading to the World Series with, but if you had to pick a dream team to play with who would it be?
Just playing warzone casually I like just playing by myself, because if I take pros into there it just takes the challenge out you know? But for tournaments, for a trio probably Tommey and Almxnd, then maybe for quads I'd drop Biffle in there.
Since you've just hit 2 months with the Royal Ravens, do you have much contact with those guys? How is the team environment?
Well, they're based in America, so most of the time they're doing their thing and I'm doing mine. I'm very cool with them, and been cool with them over the past couple of years with the few streams we've had.
It's nothing crazy. Hopefully next year we'll get to do some more content together that'd be sound.
Since Warzone has blown up obviously a few other Battle Royales have taken off, have you played much of them? Apex Legends for example?
Nah I don't, strictly Call of Duty. It's been in the back of my mind to try those other games but I'm thinking why change what I'm good at?
With the World Series of Warzone coming up tomorrow, of course congratulations on your title last year, but do you have any major strategies or changes coming into this year?
Yeah, I'm probably gonna play a lot slower than last year. Because last year was the first year of Customs, and nobody really knew how to play, with the exception of my team and maybe a few others.
Customs has been a thing for a long time now so everyone kind of knows how to play. Because I'm the reason Customs plays as it does, you'll see everyone playing very aggressive and that started with me.
Because I remember when Customs first came in and we played the 40k Tournaments, me Fifakill, Warz and Xamzah, and the team was like 'play slow, play slow', so the way we're gonna play tomorrow is how my team wanted to play back then.
I remember the frst game I was sat in a window in the bottom of the building for like 15 minutes, and that's where Fifa put me, and I was like "bro you've got three of the best killers on your team, and you're one of the best players" and I remember having a speech, because we only got 10 points our first game, and we've got 4 games left, and we cannot just be sat in a building, players like us.
Next thing you know we dropped 35 to 40 kills in the second game, with some placement points, and we won the tournament just by kills without winning a single game.
That's how it was from then onwards if you were part of my team, just extra aggression but smart, so set up in the trio with a front and back man to help out, stuff like that. That was the game plan all last year, and me and Fifa mastered it, but how it's gonna play tomorrow is gonna be the opposite.
So you're looking to use your own strategy against people this year?
Yeah, I'm gonna try and feed off it because there's gonna be a lot of players who think like me. There's a lot of money on the line, so there'll be people hiding as well, but there will also be people just throwing their life away, so I'm looking to feed off them.
With Warzone 2 coming up, obviously we have some leaked information about that, but what are you looking for from the new Warzone?
I just wanna see buildings really, buildings and windows and jumps but not open space. Not loads of open space because Caldera is just field, whereas Vardansk only had a few bits where it was really open.
I think that's what made it great because it had loads of room for finessing and stuff. For the casual player, like people who only pick the game up every so often, it had loads of places to just sit and chill, and if you have to move from A to B, I think too much open field has stopped a lot of the casual playing, because you're just running in the open slide cancelling, and that's no fun. So yeah I'm just hoping for buildings really and less open space.
I don't know if you saw the beef on Twitter between CDL and Warzone pros, off the back of the 1v1s from Biffle, but did you get involved and what's your take on it all?
Nah I never really got involved, I mean I just had a kid so been busy being a dad, but no I never really got involved. I saw Biffle wiping the floor with a few of the CDL pros which is sick to see, I mean it's Biffle, he's the Warzone God and just smokes the guys and that's fun to see, but that's it really.
Massive Congratulations to you and Emily on the baby, how has it been juggling your gaming commitments with that?
Well at the moment I've really just been sticking to the normal grind with the World Series coming up, but after that, I'll probably be on nowhere near as much as I have been. I'm definitely gonna take some time off. But yeah hasn't changed much so far but after tomorrow it certainly will.
So outside of Call of Duty, what do you do to cool down in terms of hobbies, etc?
I play a lot, and sometimes, when I'm not playing I'm asleep, you know. That's how I've been since I blew up, to be honest, and when I wake up, I'll play again.
Do you deal with much burnout on that sort of Schedule?
Honestly no I don't really have much burnout, I'm a person that understands I've been put in a very blessed position, so for me not to grind is just pretty silly. It's not every day you get the opportunity to do stuff like this for a living.
Just to round off, if someone was looking to make it the way you have, on Call of Duty or streaming, what would your advice to them be?
For Call of Duty? God you know it's hard, but stay consistent. That's what got me to the top and got me noticed, just staying consistent and believing in yourself. And as a streamer, stay true to yourself.
You don't wanna be hopping online pretending to be someone you're not every day, I can imagine that'd be exhausting. And if any opportunities come up, grab them with both hands, because you never know when they might come up again.