It’s the summer season, and I figured that individually listing and commenting, in a generic way, on each and every one of the countless summer gigs that I play probably wouldn’t make for the most gripping read. Especially when part of my summer itinerary consists of the same two gigs 15 weeks in a row. I can happily sit here and reminisce about every molecular detail of each event, but I’m sure the majority of you have equally busy lives. So here’s a summary of what’s been going on in my world.
Summer 2012 began for me with the opening party of my weekly Ibiza club night “Judgement Sundays”, on June 10th. We’ve been running for 13 years now, and the anticipation for the opening party is just as nerve racking as it was back in 2000 when the doors opened for the first time. In the weeks running up to the opening, my brain activity clashes with my body’s desire for sleep. Detailed thoughts of every aspect of JS jump from one neutron to the other and back again. We’ve never settled for anything less than quality, and for 2012 I was keen to introduce some new elements to JS proceedings. For 6 dates during Summer 2012, Judgement Sundays has teamed up with Ferry Corsten’s Full On Ferry, which includes a breathtaking stage-based LED show. The concept involves creating a “boom box” effect on the stage, with the DJ being encased in multiple LED screens. Keeping things fresh is essential with any long term business, and the tie-in with FOF has been a fantastic success. Check out some of the pictures in the “Gallery” section of the site- I think you’ll agree that the LED boom box is pretty spectacular.
Summer 2012 has seen the ‘bar’ for Ibiza venues and DJ talent raised massively. We’ve recruited some awesome new residents for Judgement Sundays, including BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard. Danny has become a real asset to Judgement Sundays throughout summer 2012 and we’re chuffed to have him as part of the gang.
Enough about Ibiza for the time being, and onto other bits and pieces. Some of you may have read that over the past 5 years I’ve been refreshing my legal qualifications. This was my game-plan for many years, and in early June my final law exam was done and dusted. From October I will be taking up a part-time position practising law at a top entertainment lawyers Sheridans, in addition to carrying on with my regular DJ and music production duties. Confidentiality prevents me from listing them, but suffice to say that Sheridans represent some of the biggest names in global music, including some huge individuals from the world of EDM/dance. They also cover other aspects of entertainment, including film, music, theatre and sport. I’ve learned a huge amount from my many years in the music business, which will hopefully position me as a strong and insightful advice giver… I plan to continue DJing for many future years as well.
On to ‘home turf’ DJ affairs. Generally, when summer kicks in, UK club appearances trade for foreign offerings. However, on Friday 22nd June I played the legendary Slinky at Voodoo Lounge in Southampton. Around 5 years ago, Slinky was one of my most regular gigs. Slinky’s former home, “The Opera House” Bournemouth was always a guaranteed outstanding night, and the UK’s South Coast still has an envied reputation off the back of that glorious era. Southampton lived up to Slinky’s iconic reputation and promoter Lee Haslam was in great spirits as always. It’s a shame that these days Slinky only stage roughly 5 shows per year, but they’re always up there with the very best.
One gig I was especially looking forward to after my exam period was Gatecrasher at The Gaudi Arena in Moscow, Russia on 23rd June. I’ve played the Gaudi before, and it’s a venue with so many dancefloors, nooks and crannies that one could never get bored. Being a large-scale Gatecrasher event alongside Paul Van Dyk, an outstanding experience was all but guaranteed. Pointing my camera at a very willing crowd, I grabbed some pictures, which are lodged for posterity in the “Gallery’ section of the site. I’d recently completed a remix of Armin Van Buuren’s ‘We’re here to make some noise’, which I dropped at a strategic moment in my set. When the bass kicked in after the breakdown, the crowd could probably be heard miles away, as they screamed in unison. Large-scale events in Russia are always something to look forward to, and later in this blog I’ll describe visiting Russia for the epic Global Gathering. The morning after involved a lengthy crack of dawn flight from Moscow to Ibiza via Palma, but needless to say it was worth every second.
The second of my weekly summer residencies is the longest standing Dj commitment of my career. The legendary BCM in Mallorca is a two level 8,000 capacity superclub with a world-class sound system, breathtaking light show and a ‘Who’s Who’ of the world’s top DJs stopping-by throughout the summer. For the previous few years we’d done Mondays at BCM, but for 2012 our Mallorca operations have moved to a Tuesday. In keeping with its mammoth capacity, BCM has a gigantic DJ booth, which includes eight Pioneer CDJ2000’s and two DJM800 Mixers; all linked together for ideal back 2 back DJ action. 2012 is the third year in succession where my BCM set has been entirely back2back with a different weekly guest. Amongst others, new BBC Radio 1 resident Danny Howard has been a regular behind the BCM 1s & 2s. The market in Mallorca is younger than Ibiza, requiring a slightly more commercial musical delivery, and the back2back sessions fit the bill perfectly. It’s been a market dominating season at BCM, and club manager Gordon Phillips’ antics never cease to amaze.
Back to home turf, in-between foreign excursions: At the tail end of June, the 30th, I played a Saturday night double header which consisted of the legendary Escape in Swansea and the Xstatic festival in Walton on Trent. The Escape is a long standing haunt for me. Promoter Big Al is a true legend and I’ve recently been supporting plenty of his releases including his latest track, “Trunk”. The Xstatic festival was sweaty and intense. Afterwards, my tour manager Pete was (as usual) not blessed with ample time between gigs. We arrived at The Escape with moments to spare. Both gigs hit the spot, and it was great to see plenty of familiar faces in attendance. The following day I took the slightly overpriced but very convenient BA flight from London City to Ibiza, getting me there just in time for Judgement Sundays pre parties.
Having previously only visited on one-off occasions, I’ve been a regular visitor to Cyprus in summer 2012. Castle Club in Ayia Napa is internationally recognized as the island’s best club, and Napa’s long-established musical heritage always attracts a crowd who know their tunes. Cyprus has always been somewhere I’ve enjoyed, personally because of the fantastic food, and professionally because the crowd are relentlessly up for it. On my third and final 2012 trip to Cyprus, on the last leg of my journey from London Heathrow I sat behind the president of Cyprus, alongside a Cypriot delegation returning from the Olympics opening ceremony. Every PA announcement from the captain and the cabin crew was preceded by ‘Mr president, ladies and gentlemen…’
Normally speaking during the summer, I base all my operations from Ibiza, where I have a second home. However, for summer 2012 I opted to return back to London for a couple of weeks in early August, sandwiched between two multi-week Ibiza stays. The timing wasn’t deliberately planned that way, but I felt lucky being back in London (and the UK in general) during the Olympics. It was a truly special time. I’m not one for phony and superficial patriotism, but the Olympics has been a huge unifying factor, coming exactly a year after the urban riots that did the country’s sense of identity so much harm.
Not exactly covering things in chronological order (in fact not at all), on Saturday 21st July I headed back over to Russia for the mighty Global Gathering in St Petersburg. Alongside Laidback Luke and a few others, we were ferried to the event by speedboat, as the sun set to the backdrop of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Russia’s weather is a pendulum between winter and summer. My previous trip had been snow-covered, with treacherous driving conditions. In July, things had gone full-circle, and the crowd were out in shorts and T-shirts. Tune of the night: 4 strings – The Other Side.
Finally we round things off with a trip to Scotland, to play the noisy Lorenzos in Dunfermline on 28th July. It’s a club I’ve played on a few occasions before; always a banker for a great atmosphere. The Scottish crowd certainly know how to have it, chanting and throwing things during eccentric moments of excitement. I can’t wait to return.
It’s been a fantastic summer so far, and I thank each and every one of you that have come to see me in Europe so far. Remember, you can find out where I’ll be spinning via my website www.judgejules.net
One final prompt, voting is in full swing for this year’s influential DJ Mag, Top 100 DJs poll. If you could spare a moment of your time to cast a vote in my favor, it’d be very much appreciated! You can vote simply and quickly via www.djmag.com/top100
More next time…