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Yousef: Going Back To Basics



The longest running club night in England, – no, in the world, Back to Basics undoubtedly put Leeds and the North on the map forever. Pioneered by Dave Beer, the night is now gearing up to celebrate its 22nd birthday at Beaverworks, Derrick Carter’s favourite. Initially, this was intended to be held at the night’s spiritual home in The Garage, but due to its recent and sudden closure, another location had to be rustled up. When one door closes, a window opens however and the show must go on. The consequences of a troubling landlord traveled far and wide as venues all throughout Leeds dropped their schedules and made provisional time to keep Back to Basics’s 22nd birthday. Beaverworks it is. Circus boss and longstanding Basics supporter, Yousef spoke with us in the days leading up the event.

So 22 years in operation? Any memories that really stand out?

Yeah, I’ve been a fan of Basics for – well, forever really, but there’s been some amazing highlights like NYE about 10 years ago with me and Dave Beer or even Basics’s 10th birthday party where I just came along and it was a pyjama. Carl Cox played for 8 hours. That was epic actually. You know, the essence, the energy, of basics is all from Dave Beer – whatever that guy gets up to you, you just know it’s gonna be good.

Would you say anything to the recent move from The Garage to the Beaverworks?

Well Beer’s said it’s probably a really good move for the club. In Back to Basics’s history, there’ve been so many kind of hiccups along the road and usually just before the curtains open there’s another one, but Dave’s cool with it.

Do you think you’ll be dressing up ‘punk’ along with the theme?

I didn’t even know about this until yesterday, but you know me, I like a bit of dress-up, but punk – er yeah, I’ll get into it of course.

How do you think this line-up stays with the theme of Basics, staying true to the classics while also recognising the evolution of house and where it is today?

I think it represents it very well, in particularly with Doc Martin because the first person to ever bring Doc Martin to DJ in Europe was Dave Beer. He’s an LA legend and also he’s one of the best, most authentic DJs of all time. He genuinely is. He couldn’t have more pedigree if he tried. So Dave brought him over about maybe over 15 years now and he’s been part of the Back to Basics kind of history ever since. Then of course there’s me and Ralph Lawson and of course there’s Laura Jones, who’s from Leeds as is Gavin Herlihy. So it’s a proper kind of mixture of local talent, what’s current, as I said with Laura, and then there’s Doc and me. As always with Basics, it’s anything goes as long as it’s good.

So Circus on 30 November. How much are you looking forward to pairing up with James Zabiela’s Born Electric? Who are you itching to see play on the night?

Well James has been playing with us since Day 1, for the full 11 years. I always like to see James and what he does, but you know musically it might not be my thing, but he’s just a joy to watch. I’m more excited about the people that I’ve never played with before in the past like Huxley and Midland. It will be interesting to see what they’re gonna bring to the party. And of course Adam Beyer, who’s been playing with us for years too. You know, not everyone can handle the theatre, but Beyer is one of them. Superb.

Any chance we’ll see Charli Taft for ‘I See’ like we did with the Angel and ‘Float Away’?

I’ve kind filled in that project separately in my mind if you like. Charli’s already done one performance with me down in London a while ago. It’s a longer term plan to get everybody that collaborates with me and maybe do like an hour long show at some point with Charli, The Angel, Dave Williams. I’ve just been so busy, on so many projects at the moment. When it’s ready it’ll be ready.

How did you working with Charli come about?

Well I’d move back to Liverpool for a year to record my second album in this amazing studio and Charli was working in the studio next door in the same building. I wrote this song, like a backing track, and I wrote all the lyrics a long time ago and I needed a singer. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise it was the same Charlotte, who I’d know for about 15 years since she was really, really young. Anyway, she came in and she just smashed it out in a couple of takes and that was it. It’s nice because I’ve known Charli’s family for a long, long time so it was all very easy.

Will we see Circus return to Camp and Furnace in the future?

It’s not a case of, “We don’t want to”. Nothing to do with Circus, but Camp and Furnace has since decided to go against having club events. Noise complaints within the area, but of course we would love nothing more than to go back especially considering that we there at the very beginning before Camp and Furnace was really Camp and Furnace. It would’ve been cool to keep the momentum, but it is what it is.

Any upcoming works you’d like to tell us about in the near year?

I’ve got music coming along with Desolat, Loco Dice’s label. It’s difficult with me because one minute I go into the studio to do something and do something kind of tracky, just beats, clubby. Then before you know it, I’ve written a song. Then sometimes it may go a bit more vocally, just a loop track. But one thing I am doing is a track for ‘The World Cup Album’. It will be within the realm of house and techno, but it’ll be specifically released for the world cup. I’m getting in a meeting next week, coming back to Liverpool to speak to the Liverpool Samba Band to try to get the whole project coming out of the city for the album. When I was in Brazil, I had a couple of meetings with someone who’s going to guide me because I don’t want kind it to be comedy Brazil music. I want the people of Brazil to think that this actually cool and interesting more than just a comedy take on what we think is just Brazilian music. So I’m really trying to do my homework and make sure it’s authentic.

You can catch Yousef alongside Doc Martin, Ralph Lawson and Laura Jones amongst other at Leed’s Beaverworks for Back To Basics 22nd Birthday on November 23rd. Tickets are available below.

To buy tickets for this event please visit the events page: Back to Basics 22nd Birthday tickets from Skiddle.

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