Interview: Judge Jules – 30 years of production, promotion and parties
After three decades in the business, there isn’t a lot Judge Jules doesn’t know about dance music. He is quite literally an artist, producer, promoter and even a music lawyer rolled into one. And, with new music set to drop April 30 and a must-see gig at Canvas in Bournemouth on April 13, he’s still laying down the law on and off the dancefloor.
“I aim to release at least six new tracks a year,” he said. “It keeps me current, keeps my sound fresh.”
Jules spoke to us this week and raved about the music scene in Bournemouth. “I’ve played Bournemouth several times: anyone who thinks the town is overrun by the blue rinse brigade clearly hasn’t done their research,” he said.
He first shot to fame in the late 1980s but a Radio 1 residency, almost two decades in Ibiza with his Judgement brand and now a host of new tracks keeps him current. It’s a stellar career – more than 100 tracks released, commercial success, sell-out tours, festivals, compilations for Ministry of Sound, Universal and Warner Bros, which have racked up millions of sales.
He effortlessly straddles the underground and the overground and continues to be on the playlists of millions with his weekly radio show The Global Warm Up, which notches up 750,000 downloads every single week via his podcast and is broadcast on over 80 stations around the world.
As a pioneer of the club scene, passion and persona behind the decks coupled with crowd connection and unrivalled mixing has earned Judge Jules unforgettable sets at the world’s most iconic clubs and festivals including Gatecrasher, Ministry of Sound, Global Gathering and Creamfields.
Earning his place among DJ legends, Judge Jules has been named Mixmag’s number one DJ, Best International DJ at the Dancestar Awards, Best Radio DJ at Smirnoff’s Dancestars and is a mainstay in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll, peaking at number three in the world.
When I suggest he is more famous than ever in the industry, he laughs. “I don’t know if I’m more famous but I’m certainly in a unique position,” he says modestly. “Being involved in production as well as music law, being an artist and advising up-and-coming talent… It’s a multi-faceted role.” He wears many hats, people. Not literally.
He is a fascinating mix of commercial and underground genius. Jules’ presence and reputation in Ibiza is legendary and his famous brand, Judgement Fridays (formerly Judgement Sundays), is the longest standing DJ residency in Ibiza history. The night continues to pack out its Balearics home from June to September and the night is close to notching up two decades on the party island.
He’s a huge fan of social media but warns emerging talent that they need to have something to promote before they hit up the internet. “You need to have a clear focus, a brand, then use social media to show off your personality,” he advises.
Certainly, he practices what he preaches, spending substantial time the day before our interview on Facebook Live answering fan queries.
He’s also on point with his own brand, taking the ‘Judgement’ brand to the next level in the form of a record label, and UK tour to influence a whole new generation of dance music lovers.
He’s also inspiring and advising a whole new generation of DJs, too. Jules is a music lawyer with Sheridans, advising labels, artists and other music industry folk. “I really enjoy my work as I draw on my own experiences as well as my legal training,” he said.
He says new technology and the rise of ‘laptop DJs’ is good for the industry. “It makes it easier to release music without expensive studio time,” he said. “Yes, that means there is a lot of medicore music out there but there is talent in the slipstream coming through that we may not have heard otherwise.
“It’s the democratisation of dance music.”
With multi-syllable words like that, you can understand why I needed a lie down after a lengthy debate on dance with the Judge. I look forward to concluding our intellectual encounter at Canvas on Friday, April 13.
Not got your ticket yet? Pick up Bournemouth’s Daily Echo this week for your chance to win two tickets.
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