Judge Jules talks to Mill Magazine
Regarded as one of the world’s finest DJs, Judge Jules is bringing his 10-piece band to Ingliston Estate & Country Club for an evening of spellbinding dance classics. In an exclusive interview with Mill, he discusses the show, his lifelong love of music, changes in the industry and more…
Since his teenage years, Judge Jules has been more at home behind the decks than anywhere else. A proponent of music’s healing force, Jules, who was voted the best DJ in the world in 1995, has seen subgenres and artists come and go while remaining a draw across the globe.
Alongside his busy DJing schedule, Jules has also devised a live show which brings accomplished musicians together to reimagine bonafide dance classics. Primed to bring the show to Ingliston Estate & Country Club, Jules believes that this set is a way for people to re-explore the music that they love in a completely enthralling and singular way.
“There are a lot of different ‘classic’ gigs,” Jules explained, “but what this involves is taking these legendary tracks as the bedrock, with loads of live stuff over the top. It was almost like a reaction against the orchestra shows that I did.
“Those are pretty magical when you see them for the first time, but an orchestra can only play the score that’s in front of them. Whereas with the band, a lot of it is ad-libbing with these incredible musicians who can play funky or delve into a latin style.
“I think it’s completely unique in that it creates these incredible live mashups. So, there can be two or three elements of different records played by varying musicians at the same time. Basically, in the style of a DJ, but done by ten-plus band members. That improvisation is what makes it different, as well as having musicians with real stage presence to bring the crowd in.
“It’s a thing for festivals and events to keep it special, so it’s always evolving,” he detailed. “The atmosphere is great and the crowd reaction is consistently amazing, so that’s why I wouldn’t want to do it every single week. It has to be special for me as well as for everybody else.
Currently in the midst of the Goes Large Tour, which pays homage to his connection to the Kevin and Perry film from 2000, Jules is as busy as ever. On top of his commitments in clubs and venues all over, Jules is still at the helm of his acclaimed Global Warm Up show. Launched in the wake of his departure from Radio 1, the show commands a massive listenership and in Jules’ opinion, this is all derived from his enduring passion for sharing what he loves.
“As a DJ, I’ve always been pretty genre agnostic. A lot of people just like house or trance, whereas I just like what I like,” Jules affirmed. “The Global Warm Up, which is rapidly approaching its 1,000th edition, is an extension of that. So, the evolution has been within my own music taste and in the records that I have access to.
“I think it’s a bit of both,” Jules says when asked whether the listenership is still filled with loyal, day one fans or is attracting new ears. “Obviously, it’s released as a podcast, but then goes out to radio stations across Scotland, Ireland and loads of different places.
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“There is that ever-fluid base of people who were into electronic music for years and then for whatever reason, they don’t fall out of love with it, but it ceases to be the soundtrack to which their life is set. So, you always get those people going in and out of it, as well as the legacy fanbase.”
In addition to his unrelenting work as a DJ, Judge Jules is also a practicing lawyer who, fittingly, specialises in the field of music. Operating at a time where the industry is in flux, Jules believes that while there’s more opportunities for a self-directed career afforded to artists than ever, there are just as many factors to consider if you want to obtain success.
“The percentage of streaming enjoyed by the major labels has gone down in the past twelve months, but when you look at the charts, you wouldn’t think that. So, it all depends on how you want to use statistics really,” Jules proclaimed.
“Fundamentally, I think the challenge for artists today is to stick your head above a very crowded parapet. The volume of releases today is so enormous. Depending on who you believe, there’s between 80-100,000 releases on Spotify every day. So, the issue isn’t releasing your music, but getting it into the hands of those who’ll help you make a name.
“Lots of people are capable of making six or seven out of ten records, but I don’t think there’s many more people that are capable of making nine or ten out of ten records,” he elaborated. “The issue is that with so many more songs out there, it makes it harder for the nine or ten out of ten records to push through.
“Two artists can have great tracks and the same degree of support on playlists or radio. But, if one of them is incredible on social media and the other isn’t, it’s not surprising when the former becomes a bigger crowd puller.
“A lot of people just like house or trance, whereas I just like what I like”
“You’ve got to be authentic and organic with it though, as people love that and they can see through it when it’s not. Sticking out through the crowd through more than just your music is absolutely essential.
“A big contributory factor to me becoming, dare I say it, successful, was the radio. Similar to social media, it gives you a connection to people and that ability gave me a huge head start over my peers, even though I considered myself more of a club DJ. Fast forward to today and those people who’ve got a natural and genuine basis are giving themselves a huge head start.”
Although he’s been active as a DJ for decades now, what enables Jules to still remain as vital as ever is that he still gets the same thrill from it now as he always did. To him, this is not only the key to the live shows that he’s bringing to Renfrewshire, but everything he does.
“Oh, 100%. I don’t think I’d still be as busy as I am if it wasn’t. You really can’t fool anyone in that respect, as it’s all in the eyes. Performers who still love it exude that energy and enthusiasm to the crowd. I think there was a period after I left Radio 1 [in 2012] when it took me some time to find my place in the marketplace.
“Basically, I was looking at how I appeal to the new generation and the legacy generation, while staying true to myself. It was a challenge, but now I feel like I’ve got that nailed down. I still love discovering new music just as much too,” Jules enthused, “hearing something amazing and thinking ‘s**t, what’s my gig this weekend? I can’t wait to put this on the decks’ is the same today as it was when I started at 16.”
Quickfire Q&A with Judge Jules
Favourite track right now? Richie Blacker – Wizards of E
A new artist on the rise? Fred Again
Favourite Sunday Morning track? AR Rahman – Mumbai Theme
Guaranteed floorfiller? Darude – Sandstorm
Guilty pleasure track? The Korgis – Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime
Favourite DJ? Carl Cox
Favourite album? Café Del Mar Volumen Cinco
Judge Jules will bring his ten piece band to Ingliston Estate & Country Club on Saturday 6th May, tickets cost £75 and are available here.