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In Depth: D’Julz – Part 2

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Continued from Part 1

With parties and dancing being at the core of this kind of music, it’s good to hear that things don’t have to stagnate and become samey after twenty plus years of being involved.

Possibly the biggest of all parties is the Circoloco opening… You’ll of course be playing there again this year. Does that feel like the start of the summer for you?

Totally. It’s like going back to school! I mean going back to school is not always fun actually, but going back to Circoloco is a lot of fun. It’s a great reunion of a lot of artists and friends. I just love playing there and feel really fortunate as a DJ to be able to play there six times a year as a resident. It’s definitely my favourite club in Ibiza and it’s like being a part of a family. There’s a little more to it than just being a resident in a club. The whole approach is really special, and although most of the DJs playing the opening see each other throughout the year, the first one is always a lot of fun. Everybody is still very very fresh. All the people working on the island are there, they haven’t started working yet and they’re a lot fresher than they’ll probably be for the closing parties! The first two weeks are actually like a festival, absolutely packed and then the subsequent two weeks are great too because you see people from the island who can have fun partying before the hard work starts.

Any friends you’re playing with who you won’t have seen in months?

There are loads of people I’m looking forward to seeing. I mean I hung out with Apollonia last month in Miami but it’s always nice to see them even thought I see them all the time! Cassy is a really good friend of mine so it will be great to see her, also DJ Qu who I haven’t seen in a while. I haven’t seen Tania Vulcano since last summer. So it’s great…we all get along really well. That’s the one thing I like about Circoloco, there’s a mix of styles of music but the vibe is generally positive with a mutual respect amongst all of the artists. I don’t feel any competition or disregard as for whether you’re a super big star or a newcomer. The vibe is just that you’re part of Circoloco and you always feel that there.

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So is it this family vibe that makes it so special?

That’s part of it but the other part is the history of the club. Even though it’s a big brand with huge line-ups and lots of headliners, somehow the vibe is different to all the other clubs in Ibiza. It’s difficult to explain, but somehow they have managed to preserve the magic from when they started as an afterparty. To preserve that underground vibe in such a big industry is really quite special but exactly putting my finger on what it is is difficult. The other thing that is very important for a DJ like me… I’ve played all of the other clubs on the island like Space and Amnesia and you always feel like you are there to warm up for the big headliner. You feel very small in that kind of environment but this is something that you don’t experience at Circoloco. They give you your chance and if you do a good job you get a good slot in the future. It’s not based on where you are in international DJ polls. They change you around from inside to the terrace, from early to late. I’ve had some great sets there; once I played between Richie Hawtin and Derrick May for the closing and that’s not because I’m in the top ten best DJs worldwide. That’s what I really appreciate, that if you do a good job they will always give you a good slot. I don’t see that in any of the other clubs on the island.

When I’ve seen you DJ you like to play quite fast. Do you change the way you play for Circoloco?

I started with the early rave scene in the early 90’s at which point all of the DJs were used to mixing it up, because simultaneously around that time both house and techno were becoming very popular. We were mixing Underground Resistance with Strictly Rhythm, there was no problem with it. I think I’ve kept that with me all of my career. I’m definitely more of a house DJ than a techno DJ but I like to mix it up. I like to build it up and bring it down. When I play Circoloco, depending on the time that I play and the room that I play I will mix it up for sure. For example if I play inside after Dubfire I’m definitely not going to play deep house; I’m going to have to bang it a bit more, but I’m going to do it my way. If I play early on the terrace with the sun down I’m probably going to play something deeper and warmer. It’s about choosing from within my range things that are appropriate for the moment. You have to do it in your own way so it still sounds like you though.

You’ll be playing your tracks out from The Rex release this summer I’m sure. Have you already tested any of them?

Yeah. I have already played them out quite a lot. I find it a lot easier when it’s a collaboration actually. I have this different perspective on the work when I’m working with someone. It’s actually very rare for me to play my own tracks, especially after I’ve finished making them. Sometimes I have to hear other people playing them to realise that they aren’t so bad! In this case though because it’s not just mine I can’t always see as clearly where it is in the process, so early on we both tried the tracks and found they worked.

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A really useful way to use the club environment.

Yeah, I do that too for the mixdown just to make sure that everything is well balanced, for example the kick isn’t too heavy or too loud… also for the arrangement you can see what works well and what doesn’t. It’s the best test to fix little problems. I don’t always have the opportunity to do it but when I do it’s always good for the track.

Ok. So that’s some of what we can look to expect from you yourself but your record label Bass Culture at present has an old release re-pressed and I know you also like to, in your sets, mix old tracks with the new. Why, up until only the last few years, have we been so obsessed with playing only the latest releases?

I think right now, especially with the vinyl resurgence, I see a lot of experimentation in the younger DJs who are playing 80% old music because for them it’s actually new. They have such easy access to the history of the music and to the records themselves that enables them to form most of their sets with old stuff. I personally always mixed it up, I couldn’t just play old stuff because it would have felt like repeating myself and not progressing. At the same time there are so many amazing older tracks that sound as good, if not better, than the new stuff so why would I stop myself from playing them again. Sometimes I would forget I had those tracks and would stumble across them and they just sound perfect for now. It’s cyclical too, I think right now the music is sounding a lot closer to the music that was being produced in the 90s. You see young producers who are stopping using computers and just want to work with analogue synths and other hardware because they want it to sound like the old stuff, the stuff they prefer. Right now it’s therefore easy to mix new and old together because a lot of new music is influenced by the old classics. It totally works, with both new and old sharing a common energy.

Personally I don’t think about what is new and what’s not. If I buy a record it’s new to me regardless. You just have to play what you like if it makes you excited to play it. On a separate note the re-issuing on the label is not something that I want to do too much because there is enough new and interesting music. I don’t want my label to be an old school label, I want my releases to be timeless so that you listen to the releases in ten years and still like them. It’s true though that every now and then I play an older track that people really react well to. In the case of some releases if they’re difficult to track down and if I know the artist I am happy to re-press it. As I say though, this is something I only do from time to time and not something I want to do too much as Bass Culture is primarily a label for new music.

Catch D’Julz at Lola Ed vs Half Baked Open Air @ Off Week Barcelona 21st June. https://www.facebook.com/events/646527265466316/

Connect with D’Julz online:

www.facebook.com/djulz
www.soundcloud.com/djulz
www.bassculturerecords.com

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