Judge Jules Diary Report | 14th April 2014

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…



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