With Trance Anthems storming the charts & Judgement Fridays just around the corner, Judge Jules caught up with DMC World.
Judge Jules’ 30 year career condensed into 5 steps…
Firstly, a big hello from Ibiza. 2014 has already been a monumental year for dance music, with the UK top 40 crammed with dance tracks in a level of congestion not witnessed since the 1990s. The vibrance and aesthetics of the scene have kept Ibiza bubbling over with talent, with club nights and venues aplenty changing.
With this in mind, my night, Judgement Fridays, has also moved venues, although not too far away. Ten metres over the road, to be precise. We started Judgement Sundays at Eden in 2000. Back then it was a big risk, and I had no idea that we’d still be going strong 14 years later. In fact, the brand outlived the venue. Following a period of instability, Eden was taken over by Birmingham clubbing brand Gatecrasher just before Summer 2014. By this point, I’d already decided that it was time for a re-location. The increasingly corporate feel of some clubs in Ibiza makes Es Paradis stand out all the more, especially to someone who treasures the earthiness and soul of the way clubs in Ibiza used to be. Es Paradis is a one-of-a-kind superclub, with its Roman structures and uniquely Mediterranean feel. It’s already been a flying start to our 2014 season at Es Paradis. Adding a sprinkle of the Judgement magic, we’ve made a happy home for ourselves in 2014. We’ll loop back around to Ibiza a bit later in the blog, but needless to say we’ve got big smiles and big plans for 2014/2015 in Ibiza. More info via www.judgementfridays.co.uk
We kick off on Friday 2nd May for Spanked in Evesham. I shared driving chores with my mate (also called Jules). I drove as far as Oxford, where I parked the car in the Park and Ride. He then burnt the kilometers to Evesham. It was an 800 capacity venue that I’d played once before, so I arrived without the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect. An assortment of mates were in tow – check out the pictures via the Gallery section of the site. Adam Sinclair AKA Adjected Deleted was promoting/playing on the night, somebody who I’ve been supporting for many years on my radio show. After a great set and plenty more photos we hit the bumpy road back to London.
The next day (3rd May) I headed up to Belfast. Although I’ve played Northern Ireland regionally, I’ve not spun in Belfast for a while. Flying in from London Heathrow, the winds into Belfast can be quite unpredictable, making it one of the hairiest places to land at, compounded by the short runway at Belfast City Airport. I played Mono Nightclub, a fairly intimate venue that I’d never done before. The gig was well attended and it was a welcome contrast doing something more on the intimate side, being that the majority of my shows are in larger venues/festivals. The growth of DJ culture has generated many clubs where the DJ booth is situated a long way out of reach of the crowd. Give me close contact any day of the week, which is what Mono offered. Afterwards, the hotel was about 30 seconds from the club. If only every night out could operate with such synchronicity.
My next outing was on Friday 16th May, for a double header in the South West of England. Spending the majority of my childhood holidays in Cornwall, the place certainly holds a special place in my heart. I also have a large amount of family living there, including my uncle, chef Rick Stein. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to visit any family on this occasion – I’d left the office in London and my legal day-job at 6pm and flown down from London Gatwick. The first port of call was Boxx Hayle, a relatively small venue which was packed to the rafters. Afterwards, the club kindly provided a driver to whisk me to my next gig, which was Karanga’s 20th Birthday reunion in Bath. I used to play Karanga all the time in the 90s; it was a major institution. Therefore it was no surprise that the reunion brought such huge numbers out of their front doors in 2014. Traffic en route was kind to us on the 180 mile journey. We were only ten minutes away in the car, and running to time, when we were forced onto one of those extremely annoying motorway diversions, taking us about 30 miles off course. Thankfully we weren’t the only DJs late due to the motorway calamity, so the set times ran a little later than planned. It was rather a special moment seeing so many blasts from the past alongside clubbers from the 2014 generation.
The next day was Arsenal’s first appearance in the FA cup Final for 9 years, an un-missable occasion – I had two tickets in very good seats. A couple of years ago the FA decided to move the Final time back from 3pm to 5pm, sticking two fingers up at tradition. I’d attended most of Arsenal’s previous finals in the past 15 years and succeeded in getting to gigs afterwards. However, the 5pm kick-off was a big problem for me as I was due to fly to Benidorm, Spain for a gig later that evening. After searching for a workable flight into every airport within a 300 mile radius, including options flying into the South of France and driving, I couldn’t find anything that allowed me attend the game and make the gig on the same night. The one thing about being a lawyer is that I have no excuse to break a contract, and my attendance was signed, sealed and delivered. Having got over the trauma of missing the match, but also having established that I’d be able to watch it in a sports bar, Amanda and I arrived into Benidorm. It was my debut at the venue, Jokers, and my first Benidorm visit for 9 years. The promoter put us into the picturesque Melia golf resort hotel with panoramic views over the city. After rather too many beers watching the football, a recovery siesta, in advance of a 3am set, was an absolute necessity. The club was slap bang in the town centre, as opposed to when I last played Benidorm, when I was based in a strip of clubs on the road out of town, which are rather inconveniently located. We had a lovely 36 hours in Spain, marking the beginning of my 2014 resort season.
On Wednesday 21st May my two worlds, as entertainment lawyer and DJ, combined, as I headed over to IMS in Ibiza, representing Sheridans’ interests. IMS takes place annually and has become one of the major institutions in dance music conferences, alongside ADE in Amsterdam and, of course, WMC in Miami.
My legal clients include DJs, musicians, labels, managers, start-ups, TV production companies, brands and other businesses in the electronic music sphere. Many were in attendance for two days of meetings and events, taking place at the all new Hard Rock Hotel in Playa D’en Bossa. Music conferences tend to be in quite ‘rock’n’roll’ locations and it’s hard to convince folk back at the office that you are there to network and get work done, as opposed to partying hard. But that was the truth, and I accomplished plenty. Each night, IMS held a showpiece early evening event high in the battlement walls of Ibiza’s old town (or Dalt Vila). As Balearic the sun went down on the Wednesday there was a special tribute to the sadly departed legend, Frankie Knuckles. His image was projected 100 feet across the centuries-old walls of Ibiza old town whilst 1000s of clubbers danced open -air to his classics. It was really quite moving.
After completing meetings on the Friday I decided to check out a couple of Ibiza clubs in advance of setting off home from the airport. We headed over to Es Paradis for the opening of Fiesta Del Agua, the event with whom we’ve joined forces in summer 2014. For those of you who haven’t been to Es Paradis, it’s well worth checking out (especially Fridays!) Es P embraces the trippy theme of bringing the outside, inside. It’s floor-to-ceiling full of lush vegetation, like a nocturnal Kew Gardens. The club was nice and busy, wetting my appetite for getting underway with Judgement 2014. More info via www.esparadis.com
Sunday 25th May was my first UK festival appearance of 2014, as I played the legendary Volksfest in Plymouth. It was a double header on this Bank Holiday Sunday, with an almost unrealistic drive between gigs (from Plymouth in the South West to Chelmsford, Essex (near London)). My brother Sam was on Road Manager duties and we headed down to Plymouth first. On arrival, the tent in which I was due play in was probably half full, but this didn’t deter. I was DJing around sunset-time, which is probably one of the best times to play at a festival. As the sun goes down everybody rushes into the tents, which is precisely what happened. Craig Connelly was playing before me and It’s always nice to check out the musical influences of a fellow producer. After finishing on the decks with a rammed out tent, Sam and I immediately wheelspun up to Essex. We made it with just 5 minutes to spare at Miya in Chelmsford.
On the subject of my brother Sam, his legendary ‘Serious’ clubbing brand, that took London’s The Cross by storm back in the day, has been re-born and is now based in San Diego, California and headed up by Tristan D. Check out www.seriousworld.com for more information.
On Friday 30th May I headed up to Scotland to play Kitty’s in Kircaldy. I chatted with the DJ on before me, Marko Liv, who got me extremely excited for Ibiza. This year he’s spending his first season on the island, promoting and DJing at some of the biggest clubs. We discussed 2014 strategies and some cool ideas for the season ahead. In the early nineties, it took me quite a few years to establish a firm foothold in Ibiza, so the number of quality residencies, including Pukka Up and Pacha, that Marko had secured in his maiden season was very impressive. Gig-wise, the Scottish club was typically noisy and I always love playing in this corner of the UK.
The next day I headed over to Carmarthen in Wales for 2Gether Festival, once again playing the sunset set, although it was a contrast to the muddy fields of Volksfest a week earlier. Whilst it wasn’t exactly Mediterranean summer weather, 20 degrees and clear skies in South Wales was a cue for shorts, vests and a general sense of underdressing amongst the crowd. That’s a UK summer for you – at a time when our Mediterranean cousins would still be donning their overcoats. The tent was packed, the crowd chanted throughout, and all my newest tunes were thrown down. What more could one ask for, with the rolling hills making for great backdrop. Check out the pictures via the Gallery section of the site.
Onto June the 1st. I played Solar in Navan, Ireland. Whereas in the UK we have a bank holiday during the last week of May, in the Irish Republic it’s a week later. As you can imagine, Irish bank holidays are somewhat crazy. The club was rocking and I played alongside Irish DJ/Producer/Mate, Paul Webster, who’s coming to play for us in Ibiza on 19th September. Suffice to say that I look forward to every Irish Bank Holiday experience.
Next up was a DJ disaster. On Tuesday 3rd June I was booked to play at Rescue on the Greek party island of Zante. Due to flight times and itineraries, the journey there involved a train to Gatwick, flight to Athens then a 240-mile car journey to the Adriatic ferry port of Killini to cross over to Zante by sea. After such a monumental journey and roughly ten hours travelling, I arrived at the port only to be told that the weather was too severe for the crossing by boat. Trust me, I was all for throwing on a life jacket and holding on for dear life, but they weren’t having any of it. The captain of the boat travelling over from Zante wouldn’t leave its shores, as the seas were too rough. With zero sleep, I headed back home to London with my metaphorical tail between my legs and my tunes still in their box. If you were there that night expecting to see me, apologies, if I could have swum there I would have. Very sorry guys…
The next outing was on Friday 6th June to Earth Nightclub in Derry. I always enjoy a trip to Derry – being the second largest city in Northern Ireland it always makes for a good party. The club had a booming sound system and it’s always a warm feeling to see so many friendly faces in attendance. The next morning, as I have countless times this year, I flew back to London Heathrow. I think they should give me a small apartment in T5 considering how often I transit through, but they’d probably reject the idea and turn it into yet more retail space.
Later that day, on 7th June, my brother and I headed up to West Yorkshire, where I was playing the Batley Frontier. We took the opportunity of us both being together to go and see our Dad, who lives around half an hour away in Holmfirth. Being from London, the contrast with undulating scenic Yorkshire couldn’t be more extreme. We had some dinner before Sam grabbed 30 winks, and at around 11pm we headed to the club. After a period of inactivity, Batley Frontier has re-opened and is doing extremely well. After an all too rare combination of work and family time, Sam drove me snoring all the way back to London, arriving just as the sun was coming up.
On Tuesday 10th June, I played my first Judgement @ BCM Mallorca show of 2014. Being my longest-standing residency, the place holds a very special place in my heart. Gordon Philips, BCM manager, is one of the biggest characters of dance music and always succeeds in putting a smile on my face. Gordon knows absolutely everybody in dancemusic, from DJs through to agents through to promoters, and I always join him for a couple of drinks before heading down and lining up my tunes for the night. BCM monopolises the resort of Magaluf so comprehensively that the next biggest club in the resort is less than a quarter of its size, and its seasonal line-up is the A-Z of global electronic music talent. Judgement will be there every Tuesday, alternating between BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard and myself. Check out www.bcmplanetdance.com for more info.
On Friday 13th, I headed up to Edinburgh. Leaving the office straight after a day of legal manoeuvres, I headed immediately for LHR. During peak hours British Airways use a long haul Boeing 767 on the relatively short route to increase business capacity, and it was strange being in such a giant plane on such a minor hop. On arrival into EDI I saw the new Tram system finally working, which seemed to have been under construction forever. Travelling into Edinburgh by more old-fashioned means (a car, as opposed to a horse and cart), I played City Nightclub, somewhere I’ve spun before. During my set I tested out my new track ‘Fiesta Del Judgement’, having completed the final touches on the flight up to EDI. As a little summer gift, I decided to give the track away FREE for download, CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.
Finally, we wrap up this instalment with my commencement of Ibiza 2014. As I mentioned earlier, making the move to Es Paradis was a huge decision. On Friday 20th June we launched Judgement Fridays 2014 with Micky Slim and Harrison playing alongside me. Flying straight after leaving the office meant that I arrived into Ibiza just before midnight, taking into account the +1 hour time difference. On arrival I went straight to the first pre-party at Play2 in San Antonio to throw down a 20-minute preview of the soundtrack to come later that night. I was apprehensive, as you can imagine with a new venue for the brand. But on arrival to Es Paradis and seeing a packed club, it immediately dulled any pre-disco butterflies. We’re extremely excited for the rest of summer 2014. I’ll be joined on the decks by a whole host of DJ buddies, for full summer-long information check out esparadis.com
If you’re coming to Ibiza this summer and you want to be in with a chance of winning a pair of Judgement tickets, simply answer this question. How many years has Judgement been running for? If you’ve been reading carefully you’ll know the answer… Email your answer, along with your name and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Speak to you again soon… Jx
I wanted to start this instalment with a tribute to one of the most influential individuals in the history of electonic music, Frankie Knuckles. During my formative years it was the music that Frankie made/showcased that helped to inspire me and a generation of music fanatics to carve their own DJ careers. His remix of the Nightwriters ‘Let the music use you’ remains my favourite record of all time. I was fortunate enough to know Frankie; he was a truly wonderful kind, humble and engaging guy and will be sorely missed… RIP legend.
Onwards to a run-down of my gigging. 1st Feb 2014 was a blustery day to be flying into Belfast City Airport, with its extremely short runway and steep approach gradient. As a seasoned traveller, I’ve had my fair share of bumpy landings, but this was pretty hairy. After a safe, yet stomach-jerking touch down, I was collected by the promoter to head half an hour to the seaside town of Bangor as I was set to play ‘Status’ later that night. For convenience, at European gigs I usually opt to stay in an airport hotel, but the club owners owned a rather grand hotel on the quay in Bangor. Had it not been blowing an F8 storm, exploring the vicinity of the hotel might have been more of an option. The gig was fantastic as usual, with Status having become one of the strongest places in Northern Ireland to play and a staple of my touring schedule. Following the gig, I attempted to get as much sleep as time permitted, although the hotel windows were taking a battering from mother nature. That, combined with a 7am return flight, supplied my body with a bit of unwanted destruction.
The next outing was on Saturday 15th Feb, on this occasion to Corby in the Midlands. Paul Morrell has been one of the longest standing and most successful promoters in the area over the years, with particular emphasis on Coventry. My friend Jules Marshall kindly agreed to drive me up north for the occasion. It’s always a winner to visit a town where promoters aren’t fighting each other for the scraps with too may events and flyers vying for the available clientele. Corby is fresh territory and Paul has prospered as a consequence. The gig was busy, and the venue was my favourite type –where the crowd is so close to the DJ that you can high five people on the dance floor from the booth. My palms were ringing by the end of the night.
The following week (Sat 22nd) I headed up to Inverness in Scotland for a show promoted by dance music legend Si Paul AKA Lost Witness. Due to a lack of conveniently timed direct flights, I was forced to fly up to Aberdeen then drive the two hours north to Inverness. It was a great opportunity to catch up with Si, who kindly drove down to collect me. He gave me the lowdown on his venture ‘Acapella Heaven’, which provides pre-written topline songs for producers’ existing electronic music instrumentals. Many DJs are great music producers but lack the same degree of ability as songwriters, so it’s a marriage that works. Look up Acapella Heaven when you get a moment.
I played ‘Home’ Nightclub, which was packed and extremely loud. The Scottish love to chant from the dancefloor, which gives rise to nights with a standard-setting atmosphere. The next morning, for the second consecutive week, I had a horrible departure time back to London, 7am to LGW. On arrival, I met up with my family and we headed down to my in-laws who live on the South Coast. Over the years my mother in law has grown used to me turning up, acting like a vegetable and falling asleep on the sofa, and this visit was no exception. Suffice to say I’m not the most exciting company on Sundays.
On Saturday 8th March I played for the mighty Cream at Regal in Southampton. With the combination of the Cream brand and a student city awash with clubbers, I expected it’d be a good one and it certainly proved to be. Before heading onto the decks, the promoter took me into the Green Room (the pre-gig backstage area where artists hang out). It seems to be the norm for promoters to apologise for the state of the green room prior to entry. I pointed out the same thing I always do – it’s the quality of the beverages and not the soft furnishings that counts. Most green rooms are windowless and furnished with very old looking sofas, with walls that have been signed and generally scrawled-upon by every visiting artist. Rock’n’roll baby!
On Thursday 13th March I headed to one of my favorite countries to tour, Australia (my 33rd visit to Oz). I flew with Emirates via Dubai, mostly focusing on my lawyerly commitments en-route, with the required work leaving little time for sleep. Working at 38,000 feet is very productive, with no phone ringing etc, although the first flight (an Airbus A380 from London to Dubai) did have (rather slow) inflight internet connection. After nearly 24 hours travelling I landed into Perth, checked into the hotel and should have collapsed immediately for some sleep like a sane person, but who needs normality? I literally threw my bags down and hit the shops. With two careers to juggle, just about the only time I get to do any clothes shopping is when I’m away on my own on a long-haul trip.
It was two shows on the first night, as part of the “Lost Tour 2014”. The first gig was on a boat along Perth’s Swan River, and boat parties are always different and fun. Unlike a normal gig, where one can turn up 30-60 minutes before a set, on a boat party one is there for the duration. Roughly two hours elapsed between the boat setting off onto the river and my set starting, and by the time I played my first track I reckon I’d spoken to and posed for pictures with the majority of the people on board. No DJs’ backstage green rooms in this environment.
Following the boat gig I headed back to the hotel for an attempted (and failed) hour’s before a further night time club show in Perth. The venue had high ceilings and a great sound system. It’s an interesting and unspoken rule that, regardless of how loud and distorted the DJ’s tunes are sounding, the venue’s sound engineer never touches and turns down the mixer without first informing the DJ. However, the sound engineer in Perth appeared out of nowhere and knocked down the volume very unsubtly without a hint of prior warning. It was frustrating, because it’s better done gradually and gently, to avoid affecting the atmosphere on the dancefloor. Despite a relatively late set it was still a very enjoyable experience, packed with loads of Irish for St. Patrick’s Day. It’s crazy how many Irish folk have upped ships to Australia to escape the economic crisis – I overheard so many Irish accents on my last Aussie visit in February 2013, and this time round it was even more noticeable.
It seems like a recurring theme in this instalment, but the next morning I had an unpleasantly early (7am) domestic flight from Perth to Darwin. It’s only when you take a flight across Australia, that you realise how vast the country is. We flew for 4 hours without passing any discernable signs of life down below. During the final 45 minutes we overflew the most beautiful untouched and unoccupied beaches. Even as we approached the city of Darwin the beaches remained deserted. Australia has some of the world’s deadliest creatures: salt water crocodiles, sharks, lethal jelly fish etc, hence the lack of beach action. I wouldn’t fancy a swim either.
On arrival into Darwin the first thing that hit me was the climate difference. Perth had been dry and Mediterranean-like, whereas Darwin is tropical with stifling humidity. Although I should have gone straight to sleep, with less than 24 hours remaining in Australia I hit some more shops. I barely arrived on time – strangely, all Darwin stores close at 3:30pm on Saturdays. In most major global cities this is the single busiest time for shopping, so why they’d shut so early in Darwin is anyone’s guess.
The last outing on this mini Australian visit was at the Darwin Entertainments Centre, once again as part of the “Lost 2014 Tour”. The gig was a sold out event, with so many in attendance it was impossible to calculate the numbers. I’ve just finished a new track called ‘Naked’, which I tested on the steaming dancefloor. It’s an absolute banger, with a preview coming on my Sound Cloud very shortly. On that note, a HUGE thank you to everybody who bought my latest release ‘Monte Carlo’ on Vandit. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, CLICK HERE!
The next day it was time to head home to London, unfortunately in the shape of 4 flights: Darwin – Alice Springs (where I was attacked by flies leaving the plane) – Perth – Dubai – London. 30 hours of travelling and then straight into lawyer mode in my London office at Sheridans for a full day’s work, directly from the airport.
I’ve now running up to my two year anniversary of dividing time between being a media and entertainment lawyer during the week and a DJ at weekends. My legal client base and workload has built up steadily during this period. It would require too much space in this column to supply a comprehensive summary of my legal work to date, but recent highlights include recording agreements, DJ and band management and agency contracts, brand and trade mark protection, various Ibiza-based projects, TV sponsorship and endorsement deals, TV and film scriptwriter agreements, radio presenter agreements and music publishing deals. I’ve found the perfect balance between both roles, and they cross-pollenate one another excellently.
Before signing off this instalment, more words of thanks are in order – over 650,000 of you around the world have now subscribed to my Global Warm Up podcast, consistently making it one of the top ranked music podcasts in the world on iTunes. Big love to one and all.
More next time…
Firstly, I’d like to briefly touch on the recent passing of Nelson Madela. During my various DJing visits to South Africa I went to Robben Island and visited the tiny cell that held Mandela for so many harsh years, also taking a tour of Soweto, amongst other points of South African historical interest. When someone passes at a ripe old 95 years it’s only really possible to celebrate their life, rather than mourn their passing. And what an important life. RIP Nelson Mandela.
Moving on, or back in time, as it were. This instalment kicks off with the annual Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in late October, the undisputed number one global conference for the electronic music industry. This time round I was predominantly heading there wearing my lawyer hat (not literally), travelling with one of my Sheridans colleagues Neil. It’s all well and good spreading the word that I’m now a DJ who’s also a lawyer (or vice versa), but getting out there and talking the talk with folk from the industry is what really sends out the message. The trip was extremely productive on the client front, and we also went and checked out plenty of ADE club events. These included Paul Oakenfold, Armin van Buuren, Pete Tong and Defected. In previous years I’ve deejayed and/or spoken on panels at ADE. Doing things from a different perspective this time round was a wholly new and rewarding challenge.
On Friday October 18th I headed straight from ADE Amsterdam to San Diego, California via LHR. The relatively new direct BA flight from Heathrow to San Diego saves a lot of travel time. In the past one would have to connect via LA or Chicago, which added many hours. The one thing to bear in mind when travelling through small US ports of entry is the limited immigration processing area, meaning that if you’re last off the plane, you can write off a couple of hours from your life. Luckily I raced through first. Partner in crime Tristan D moved to San Diego just over a year ago, a move that plenty of other British DJs have made during recent months. San Diego is considered by many to be California’s little secret, a dreamy city 100 miles south of Los Angeles. I was picked up from the airport and headed to the hotel for a disco nap ahead of that evenings show at Stingaree, a special event which Tristan and his “ZDM” crew put together. My hotel was literally opposite the open-air venue, which made for fairly difficult pre-gig napping conditions, as I could hear every record Tristan was dropping. Most DJs will agree that there’s nothing better than spinning in the open-air, and even better on the roof terrace of a tall building. The show was packed, with just under 1000 in attendance under the stars, amongst the downtown skyscrapers of San Diego. After a very enjoyable set, I stumbled back to my stone’s throw hotel room at the Solomar. After 15 hours of travelling and 2 hours of DJing, I was out like a power cut.
The next day, we drove up to the rather fancy La Jolla district of San Diego. Tristan’s fiancé Nicole’s parents live up in the hills there, with a fantastic panoramic view of the whole of San Diego, pretty much stretching all the way down to Mexico. We enjoyed a few afternoon drinks in the sun before hitting the road to Los Angeles. Shortly afterwards, we stopped at a cool little Mexican restaurant for some “on the road” munch. With Mexico just over the horizon, as you’d imagine, there’s no shortage of mouth watering Mexican food in SOCAL. On the drive up we listened to plenty of new music, planning out our sets for the mighty Avalon in Hollywood later that evening.
On arrival into LA, we met up for dinner with one of dance music’s most respected individuals, co-club owner/promoter of the mighty Avalon and “Giant” events, Dave Dean. Dave’s legacy stretches back over 25 years, starting his career in London, opening up one of the most legendary clubs in the late 80s called Limelight. I’ve known Dave for many years, he’s one of the nicest guys in the industry and I hold a lot of respect for him. After a huge table-congesting sushi dinner on the corner of Hollywood & Vine (boy do Americans do sushi well), I headed for some much needed rest, with my body clock rooted in a time zone 8 hours ahead. It’s been a while since I last played Avalon, which holds 2500 people in an old 1920s theatre – its mystique and ambience is truly majestic. Playing alongside Leon Bolier and Tristan D, the club was very busy. I’m already excited for my next visit to Hollywood in 2014. Check out the pictures via the Gallery section when you get a moment…
Having gone to bed at 3am shortly after my set, I had the unpleasant task of waking a few hours later at 6am on Sunday 19th Oct. In store was a 9am flight to Chicago so that I could then connect on to London. In case you’re asking “Why didn’t you just fly direct from LAX to London”, I needed to be in the Sheridans offices in London in lawyer capacity at 9am on Monday morning. There are no direct flights from LA to London allowing one to do this – they all arrive too late in the day. Thankfully, everything went like clockwork – Chicago to London allowed for just enough sleep in business class and I felt relatively refreshed upon landing into LHR and onwards to the office. It was a great trip Stateside and I’ll be back over there in Jan 2014.
Friday November 1st was a semi-local outing, heading up the M1 to Milton Keynes, situated around 40 miles from my North London home. Joined on the road by my IT wizard friend Jules Marshall, we discussed the ins and outs of the technical world for the semi-short drive North. The club, “Wonderchild”, was a venue I hadn’t played before, the perfect dancefloor capacity with a wacky dressed-up atmosphere, a Halloween celebration with fancy dress all round. Where did the UK’s no holds barred celebration of Halloween come from all of a sudden? I’m well aware of its enormity in the United States, but in the blink of an eye the UK has caught up. Promoted by Jamesie, a promoter/friend I’ve worked with on many occasions before, it was smiles all round.
The next day (November 2nd) I headed to Scotland to play Coast Club in Arbroath. Flying into Edinburgh, the club was around 80 miles from the airport. I’m 6’2” tall with an occasional bad back from the stooping posture of DJing, and in clubs that have the decks and mixer relatively low I sometimes have to remove my shoes to lower my height. On this occasion it was a big mistake, as there was broken glass all over the floor of the DJ booth. I had to tread gingerly between huge shards of glass throughout my set, worried that my socks would have picked up small bits of glass if I put my shoes back on, making mattes worse. That aside, I had a great gig, and then headed back to my airport hotel, where I was in the airport terminal 5 minutes after rolling out of bed the following morning.
The next gig outing was on Friday November 8th for the Naughty Reunion at Butlins in Skegness. Around this time of year I play a series of reunion events for affiliates that we work with in Ibiza during the summer with Judgement. On this occasion I took the train up to Skeggy, staying in a modern Chalet on-site. It housed 3, but it was just me (sans mates) rattling around in there. I never experienced the joys of Butlins as a child, so I’m making up for it now, although the British coastal weather is unlikely to make the Mediterranean resorts quake in their boots. I performed straight after a live set from JLS, a somewhat incongruous support act, although they would probably say the same about me in return. I was joined on stage during my set by Harrison who recently sang the track with David Guetta and Glow in the dark called “Ain’t A Party” – he performed it live, receiving an awesome reaction. You can check his song out here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zv809IhklRA
On Saturday 16th November I headed to Wales, once again on the train. Firstly, I caught a Virgin service to Birmingham, which took just over an hour from London – very fast indeed. Personally I’m skeptical about the need for the HS2. Instead, the British government should be improving our creaking current network and re-opening some of the bulldozed branch lines of the 1960s. At Birmingham I boarded the slowest, smallest train on a 3-hour journey into mid Wales. It was only two carriages in size and rammed to almost Indian train-like proportions with Welsh rugby and football supporters. Arriving in the dark, I checked into my hotel ahead of the gig at “The Venue” in Barmouth, playing my set about half an hour later. The next morning I woke up, drew the curtains and caught my first daylight view of my location. I was on the edge of Snowdonia and it absolutely breathtaking. I felt like a small boy on holiday again.
I’ve been working hard on new music recently, including two forthcoming singles on Vandit, “The March” and “Modulation”. I’ve also got a new record on Junskter coming out this week called “Meteor” under my alias “Megadrone”, this includes an awesome remix from Garry Heaney. I’ve got loads planned on the production front for 2014. But, if you’re looking for a good Christmas present, check out the VONYC Sessions | Best Of 2013 mixed by Paul van Dyk, it features 4 tracks by yours truly. CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Saturday November 23rd contained an extremely local gig in Kingston Upon-Thames. Before hitting the gig, Amanda and I went to a Sheridans colleague’s birthday party near to Shoreditch. It’s been a while since I’ve checked out this cool, charismatic area of London. Although Shoreditch is no mystery to any Londoner, my DJ travels elsewhere mean that I’ve rarely been there on a Saturday night to witness just how rammed and vibrant the place is. The bottom of Kingsland Road has a 200m stretch dedicated to Vietnamese restaurants, and Amanda and I are slowly working our way through all of them. Amanda drove me – what a pleasure to be chauffeured to my gig by the hottest driver in clubland.
Thursday November 28th was the next outing, heading back up to Edinburgh, immediately after finishing my day in the office. The LHR – EDI route in an extremely popular business commuter route, proved on this occasion by BA putting a wide-body B767 on the service. The Sheridans office in central London is particularly well-positioned for rapid access on public transport to all of London’s five airports, so I don’t have a preference, other than choosing Heathrow and BA because of my frequent flyer status. I played Castle Club, which was a predominantly student-based event and very rocking. The loud, excited and enthusiastic Scottish crowd always pumps me with energy and sends me on my merry way post-set with a silly grin plastered on my face. I stayed in the EDI airport hotel, which matches its total lack of glamour with extreme convenience, flying home early the next morning so as to be in the office at 9am.
The next evening I took the train from London Paddington to Hereford for the mighty “Play Nightclub”. The train defied the laws of geography, taking 3.5 hours to cover 150 miles’ distance. It was an old “125 high Speed” diesel train from the 1970s – smokey, cold, rattling around and generally getting from A to B with a sense of grim despair. Precisely my point about where government money should be invested. I had a great gig in Hereford, although somebody managed to drunkenly stumble over, knock my USB stick and rip the casing off the very sturdy Pioneer CDJ2000. Luckily they have a linking system, meaning I could happily switch “master” devices. The night rocked on nicely.
The final gig covered in this bloggy instalment, was up to Birmingham for a Cream Classics event at the HMV Institute. Seb Fontaine preceded me on the decks and the club was rammed. Pete and I arrived slightly early, so as to catch up with plenty of mates who were in attendance. The Saturday DJing night norm is to turn up early, do the social thing pre-set, spin my tunes and shoot off straight afterwards. Stumbling out of the club when it’s light outside looking ugly and tired can only end in tears…
It’s a rarity for me to play a classics event, and my aim was to keep it unexpected and with a modern bootleggy flavour. Even at a night focused on classics, a modern twist helps to sell electronic music to the next generation.
That’s about it for this instalment. I wish you a very enjoyable Holiday Season, wherever you are in the world. Remember, music has no boundaries… Feel free to get in touch on any subject that takes your fancy via email@example.com . I reply to each and every one received.
More next time! Jx