WHEN it comes to legendary judges worth celebrating, only Judy and Dredd really come close to Jules, and as they aren’t British we give the lairy Londoner the number one spot. It’s a spot he is used to as arguably the top DJ of the last decade, combining his prowess on the decks with a popular radio show which has seen his popularity grow throughout the world.
Ahead of his trip Down Under for the Trance Energy tour, one of the regulars at the top of DJ Mag’s ‘Top 100 DJ’s’ poll spoke to Michael Dolan about trance, Ibiza, drugs and Chill FM (we left out their 10 minute chat about why Jules’ beloved Arsenal really aren’t very good any more).
You are most recognised as a trance DJ. Are you happy with that tag or do you feel it is an unfair representation of your style?
I’ve no problem being described as a trance DJ as I’ve been doing it for 10 years now but I do incorporate other styles into my sets. I’ve always liked music with a groove to it. Particularly after the rise of the electro scene, trance has had far more of a groove element. Much like drum & bass, trance is a broad church and there are lots of people within the scene doing different things which keeps it interesting.
You have DJ’d all over the world so where have been your favourite places to play? Are there any unusual clubbing locations we should be checking out and are there any places you are still dying to play?
Pretty much everywhere has a decent club scene apart from third world countries. Dance music is really thriving in Eastern Europe at the moment and is particularly strong in the old Yugoslavia, if anyone is looking for somewhere fresh to visit. Ibiza is still rocking with my Judgment Sunday night now running into its 10th year. Plus Australia which I’ve visited around 20-25 times now is always good. Australia is the most culturally similar country to the UK with the same humour and passion for music and the climate always makes for a good party. Its isolation definitely gives it a sense of purpose. Hawaii and Rio are probably the two main boxes I’d still like to tick.
You’ve just released album ‘Bring the noise’. Are you happy with the new material, and how has the reaction been so far?
The new album has been thoroughly road tested over the last 18 months in my DJ sets so I’m really confident it’s going to go down well.
How do you get your creative inspiration?
Really just going out and DJ’ing and hearing other tracks. You’ll hear something and try and take inspiration from maybe 10 per cent of a track you’ve loved and then take things on from there.
Who are your musical heroes and are there any DJs from the next generation that currently stand out from the crowd?
The one name that stands out above all others is Norman Jay. In the early part of my career he was a mentor and perhaps the biggest influence in me taking my DJ’ing to the next stage. For the new generation, tech-trance hotshot Simon Patterson is currently producing some incredible tracks and Will Atkinson, at only 18, has a bright future ahead of him.
What genres of music do you listen to when you are relaxing at home?
Taking a step away from dance music, one of my current tastes is chill out via the medium of ChillFM.
What’s the strangest thing anyone’s ever asked you in the DJ booth?
I often get asked that and the consistently annoying one is to get asked to play the record you’re playing at the time … brings a very sheepish smile once they realise.
Your Global Warm Up radio show is heard all round the globe. Are you more popular in Britain or other parts of the world?
I wouldn’t like to say. I don’t dwell on popularity, for me it’s not what it’s all about. Most of my gigs seem to be really busy, both wihin and outside the UK. In certain territories this perhaps paves the way for support for the radio show but I couldn’t use that to measure popularity.
After nine years your Judgement Sundays promotion remains the biggest night in Ibiza. Has Ibiza changed a lot and will it always be the No. 1 clubbers’ paradise?
There are other destinations that could claim to be a clubbers paradise such as Goa, Bali, Koh Samui but no, the mantle of ‘clubbers Mecca’ isn’t going to be taken away from Ibiza. There just simply isn’t a destination similar. The clamp down on the 24-hour clubbing after parties has certainly affected the island but I don’t believe this will damage Ibiza’s aura.
Drugs continue to play a major role in the dance music scene. How well do you feel the authorities are dealing with the issue and what would you change if you could?
I’ve always believed that education on the issue of drugs is the best deterrent. It is consistently proven that the UK and Australia have a huge binge culture and so the authorities’ time would be better spent preaching a sensible method which stands a better chance of getting through.
You’ve famously had a mini-Judge Jules follow you. How do you cope with being so well-known in a celebrity obsessed age?
DJs as a whole are only ever going to be D-List so it’s not really an issue.
Does DJ’ing still give you the same buzz and are there still things you want to achieve in the music industry?
Completely, if it didn’t I wouldn’t be doing it because you can’t fool anybody. Continuing with DJ’ing isn’t about striving for any particular ambition, when the love wanes I’ll call it a day but I don’t have any date set in stone as I still love it so much.
Trance Energy Tour: April 9 – Hordern Pavillion, Sydney; Apr 10 – Thunderdome, Calder Park, Melbourne; Apr 11 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane; Apr 12 – Belvoir Valley Amphitheatre, Perth.