Miss Jools: Berlin Calling
Jools Porter aka Miss Jools, is a one of a host of British DJs and producers currently residing in the global hub of all things house and techno, Berlin. A firm staple of Anja Schneider and Ralf Kollmann’s Mobilee crew, she’s also found time of late to hook up with the burgeoning Sol Asylum label, for whom she just repped on a stunning V/A alongside Dana Ruh and Patrice Meiner. Busier than ever but clearly loving life, we dialed her up recently to find out more…
Hey Jools, how’s life at the moment? You been keeping busy?
I’m good! Keeping busy and staying out of trouble.
Where did you grow up? And what was your first introduction to house/techno music?
I grew up the English countryside, in a town called Weymouth. At the end of the 80’s I moved to Plymouth to study a degree in Photography and it was here I first got into the scene. It was my first experience of many things and we were just crazy kids totally dedicated to going out raving and living for the weekends. Often we’d hire a big van with 20 mates bundled in the back and we’d trundle off down the motorway in search of the next party adventure. In the early 90’s we going to the Universe and Tribal Gathering festivals, which were amazing, life-changing times for most of us. Naive, happy sincere times where you just danced till you dropped with a big grin of your face and no bullshit. Happy days.
How would you describe your current style? How has it changed over the years?
Hmm, I’ve always loved the deeper side of things and still do. When I first started DJing I was lucky enough to be introduced to Girls FM’ the underground pirate radio station in London by the late Kenny Hawkes, after handing him a mixtape to listen to around ’95. He brought me into the Girls FM crew and I was given a twice weekly show there. This period was an amazing learning curve for me musically, as I’d total freedom to express myself; playing music from Herbert, Moodymann, Kerri Chandler, Ron Trent, Francois K and the like. I remember when Francois released ‘Hypnodelic in ’95…it blew me away and is still one of my most adored vinyls. I’ve always been a house head and still love mixing up a lot of the old classic gems in my sets today. I guess if I had to try to pinpoint – which I hate doing – I would describe it as a blend of Deep, dubby house and minimal tech.
You relocated to Berlin a few years ago. Is it very much home for you at this stage?
Yep, Berlin is absolutely where I call home and at the moment, and right now there is still no other place I would be rather be living…
Was it more a case of you wanting to leave UK or wanting to move to Berlin?
To be honest it was a bit of both at the time. I’d been living in London for 15 years when I just felt that I had reached a point where it was time to move on. It wasn’t because I was unhappy in London, and to be honest I had the best 15 years there and wouldn’t have changed a thing. It was the city that nurtured my DJ career and moulded me into who I am; the person and artist I am today. I still hold London very close to my heart.
Making the choice to relocate to Berlin came pretty easily though. Berlin’s music scene and the city itself felt totally the right choice to make for my life, both professionally and personally. Sometimes it’s good and necessary to take yourself out of a comfort zone which I felt London had become for me and throw yourself into a fresh new environment and challenge. Berlin was absolutely that for me.
Do you think the scene in the UK is on par with that in Berlin these days? Or are they wildly different?
I think the UK has a great scene but I think one big difference is that Berlin has an advantage of less restricting licensing laws, allowing so many clubs to go on for an entire weekend and then some. Berlin also has so many beautiful old industrial buildings that have been turned into unique clubbing spaces, Berghain being the most obvious example.
A great deal of dedication has gone into giving the clubber a special experience over long periods of time. Bar 25 was another example of the kind of place that really thought about this, knowing that many would walk through the door on a Saturday and probably not leave till, whenever. The club was designed to keep you entertained for the duration that you were there; cool outdoor areas, lots of differently themed rooms. It’s not just a four walled room with a sound system, it could be much more as with so many of the clubs here. I don’t get back to the UK as much as I would like, but I do know London still has a very positive thriving scene going on and a lot of very dedicated promoters putting on some amazing parties!