Judge Jules Diary Report 1st October 2011

It’s rare that I get to play a gig within London Underground distance of my house, but on Saturday 27th August I was invited back to play the mighty SW4 festival in Clapham, South London. If it wasn’t for having to play Creamfields in Liverpool straight afterwards I would have probably opted for the tube to avoid the traffic. The golden rule before any festival is to check the weather, and on Saturday 27th things looked reasonable, so I opted for my gore tex hiking boots rather than the other festival standard of Hunter wellies. SW4 was actually quite muddy, and in the artists’ reception area I quietly chuckled to myself at the amount of trendy Londoners sporting sparkling new white trainers, soon to be white no longer.

The festival was rammed to capacity, and I was invited to play on the Anjunabeats stage along side Above & Beyond and other DJs in the Anjunabeats gang. Even though I’m very close with the A&B boys, I really appreciated the invitation to play on their stage. SW4 only runs until 10pm, and I was on at 3pm, straight after Super 8 & Tab, in an arena couldn’t have been more rammed. It was my only annual opportunity to play a local London festival, and naturally plenty of mates were in attendance.

As soon as my set was over we jumped straight in the car and headed north to Creamfields. Unfortunately, the London traffic was typically awful and it took us forever to get out of the city. I was joined in the car by press duo from Zoo magazine, filming my movements for “a day in the life of” piece. I had to have a quiet word in the ear of the reporter, as he decided to start dancing in a wacky way on the stage next to me, which was a bit off-putting.

Creamfields was muddier than SW4, and there seemed to be less new white trainers knocking around. We’d intended to arrive earlier to catch some of the other acts, but due to the heavy traffic leaving London we only had about 10 minutes to spare. I played after John O’Callaghan just as the sun was setting – this can be the best time for a festival set, as everyone heads into the tents after the sun goes down. After my last tune, Pete whisked me straight to Birmingham airport for a 1am Monarch flight to Ibiza. After the long day, and amazing sets at two sold-out festivals, I kicked-back with a glass of wine and a big smile on my face.

The next night, at Judgement Sundays in Ibiza, I was paired once again with John O’Callaghan, who really tore the place apart. If you’re a regular reader of this report, you’ll know that this season in Ibiza at JS, midway through the night we have been switching ends of the club, putting our headliners on the stage at the opposite end of the club. The dynamic of changing the club round completely half way through has worked incredibly.

With two weeks’ sabbatical from BCM now concluded, on Monday 29th it was time to take the short island hop over to Mallorca once again. BCM in Magaluf is my longest-standing gig, and in the past 2 years have I developed the taste for patron (a feisty type of tequila). Playing a well-received back-to-back set, the bottle of patron fuelled things very nicely. I stayed unhealthily late in the BCM office after my set, and at 7am headed to Palma airport and back to Ibiza base camp.

There aren’t many weeks of the summer when I can spend an entire 7 days chilling in Ibiza, but the last few days of August was such a week. On Sunday 4th September it was time for another Judgement Sundays. Feeling nicely rested, I headed down to the pre parties at 9:30pm where the night begins. At Eden I was joined on the decks by Heatbeat and Marco V, amongst others. Once again, the stage set up worked fantastically and the atmosphere left other Ibiza nights standing in the shade. Check the photos in the Gallery section of the site.

On Monday Sept 5th we headed back over to Mallorca. Originally Jaguar Skills was due to join me on the decks, but unfortunately he had to cancel due to illness. Tristan D and I ended up doing a 2 hour back 2 back set. With the school holidays (and the much more expensive flight prices they generate) out of the way, early September witnesses a big boost in youth resort numbers, and BCM was heaving.

On Wednesday 7th September, Pete and I headed up to Shrewsbury to play the Onyx rooms. This was an awesome venue which used to be owned by a big leisure chain. However, private independent owners had taken over, giving the place a more personal touch. The night was promoted as a regular mid week student event. Throughout different regions of the UK a new generation of student-only promoters have become a force to be reckoned with in UK clubland, especially as they have the key to unlock the tricky midweek market. The club was rammed and I really enjoyed returning to Shrewsbury.

The following night I headed up to Dundee in Scotland for another huge student event at the University of Dundee. This time it was on-campus, promoted by the uni’s student union. Throughout their freshers’ week they had a hefty line up of artists including Nero, Kissy Sell Out and many more. It was my second consecutive year of playing the university’s freshers’ ball, and the crowd response was very euphoric.

I end this instalment in a similar way to how I started it, contemplating what footwear to wear, and choosing white trainers on a totally inappropriate day to a festival.

Inappropriately attired for the conditions, on Saturday 10th September I headed over to Ireland for the mighty Planet Love festival. I’ve played there many times in the past and the Irish crowed never fail you. I arrived at the gig around 3 hours before my set – there wasn’t much choice, because of the flight timings. I was joined backstage by John Gibbons and DJ Mog, both of whom I’ve supported a lot over the years, ending up MCing for Mog’s set on the outdoor stage. It was pretty daring of him to allow me, as I’d consumed a fair amount of vodka. He subsequently sent me a recording of the set, which included me wailing over the top. Later, I played in the main arena, managing to take some great pictures which are now live on the site.

After my set I headed to Dublin airport for an unhealthy 6am flight to Ibiza. I didn’t know until I arrived at the airport that Ryanair are experimenting with advance numbered seating at an additional cost. So far this is on Irish flights only – I hope it spreads to UK departures, as it gets rid of the hideous free-seating boarding scrum. Had I been aware I would have booked the exit row. I arrived into Ibiza feeling pretty shattered and proceeded to sleep pretty much throughout all of September 11th.

Exactly 10 years earlier, on Sept 11th 2001, I think everybody remembers what they were doing. In my case, it was in Ibiza with my wife Amanda, watching live as events unfolded.

More next time…

Judge Jules Diary Report September 11th 2011

With a 16-week Ibiza season nearly concluded, as I’m sure you can imagine, my body is feeling slightly worse for wear. As of the beginning of September, a semblance of normality sets back in, as I re-settle back in London for most of the week. This report commences at the tail end of July, and a trip to the place with the highest suicide rate in Europe, Finland. On that rather gruesome note, let’s get into things!

On Saturday July 30th I headed to the Summer Sound Festival in Helsinki, promoted by DJ/Producer/Promoter Alex Kunnari. I flew Finnair from Heathrow and Jono from Above & Beyond was also on the flight, unfortunately sitting too far away to talk to. The event was a sell-out, with Roger Sanchez headlining the House arena along with Above & Beyond and myself on the Trance stage. The night was held in a large indoor industrial warehouse and, rammed to the rafters, it was extremely warm. I’m very friendly with the Above & Beyond trio, and it’s always nice spinning alongside folk you feel extra comfortable with.

The next part of my trip wasn’t so pleasant. It involved a 5-hour flight from Helsinki to Barcelona to catch a connecting flight to Ibiza. The flight length I could deal with, but a 3 hour delay caused me to miss my connection in Barcelona. In the middle of the night I called my nocturnal friend Nik in Ibiza to re-book me on an Iberia departure later that day. Luckily I made it to Ibiza in time for the four Judgement Sundays bar-based ‘pre parties’ and raced straight into action. That night in the club (July 31st), we were joined by Kissy Sellout in the back room. I’ve played with Kissy before, but never had a chance to properly study one of his DJ sets. They are truly amazing, and technical genius would be an understatement. We were also joined by Irish legend John O’Callaghan in the main room, who started off our new stage concept for that night. It’s hard to explain without you witnessing it, but basically we switch ends of the club mid way through the night so that the headliners play on a huge purposely-constructed stage at the far end of the venue. This has been working incredibly well and the pictures are amazing. Check them out in the Gallery section of the site and let me know what you think jules@judgejules.net

The next day, Kissy & I headed over to the mighty BCM in Mallorca for our Judgement Mondays party. Kissy & I played a back 2 back DJ set, which I do weekly with my guests at BCM. This works incredibly well, as the technical set up in BCM is huge, consisting of 2 mixers & 8 decks. Judgement resident Tristan D followed afterwards, and we all left the club at 5am slightly worse for wear! The next day I headed back over to Ibiza whilst Kissy & Tristan jetted back to London.

On Thursday 4th August I flew home from Ibiza to London to guest on Zane Lowe’s DJ soundclash slot on his Radio 1 show. Zane does this weekly with different guests and I’ve featured roughly once a year. I take my hat off to Zane for originality; he really pulled some tunes out of the bag and it was a close call. From the point of finishing the show with Zane I had 90 minutes to make it from central London to an Ibiza flight at Gatwick Airport, which is around 30 miles south of the city. Tristan & I left Radio 1 and he whisked me to Victoria station where I caught the Gatwick Express, making it with time to spare. London’s public transport system can work when it wants to.

The next day, Friday 5th August, it was all about BBC Radio 1 in Ibiza. In the afternoon we drove across to new venue Ushuia to catch the early Radio 1 proceedings with Annie Mac and Example’s live PA. Later that night we headed over to Space. Nik, who looks after our stuff in Ibiza, found us the perfect private ‘green room’ and we immediately set up base. The club were very generous with drinks and we had a nice little gathering including Elliot (Example) & Talisa from X Factor/N Dubz. Deadmau5 was on before me and I periodically did voiceovers on Radio 1 during his set, as it was being broadcast live on the Essential mix. My set was on the terrace at Space, which personally I prefer to the main room. The vibe was fantastic and my sound seemed to go down very well. It was great to catch up with all the guys from Radio 1, and the following day I held my annual Radio 1 BBQ at my house on the other side of the island. It was a good opportunity for everybody to relax and let their hair down a bit.

Sunday 7th August was probably biggest line up this season at Judgement Sundays. It included Eddie Halliwell & Ferry Corsten in the main room alongside myself. Once again we used the stage and the atmosphere was truly immense – the pictures are now live on the site. I find it hard to sum up Judgement Sundays in full technicolour detail in this report – you really have to experience it for yourself. If you haven’t been this summer, I hope to see you in 2012. That’s if the world doesn’t end of course!

On Friday 12th August I didn’t have my usual Radio 1 show due to the station broadcasting Ibiza highlights throughout Friday night (including my Space set). This meant I could travel a bit further afield for my Friday night gig. When I say further field, we’re not talking Mongolia but the Isle Of Man. I was booked to play at The Court House- very appropriate for a judge. The venue is apparently a disused courthouse, although I didn’t spot a witness stand or jury gallery . The gig was fantastic, smaller than most venues I play, but sometimes the intimate ones are the best.

Back in Britain, the next day, Pete and I headed down to Berties Nightclub in Newquay. Under normal circumstances I would have visited the Cornwall branch of my family, but on this occasion Arsenal were playing their opening match of the season against Newcastle, meaning that we couldn’t leave London til 7pm. Newquay was heaving and I played a resort-style set, similar to what I would spin in Greece or Majorca- after all, Newquay is Britain’s biggest youth resort. Following my set, Pete drove me 300 miles east to Stansted airport for a 9am Easy Jet flight to Ibiza. I managed to persuade Pete to drive slightly slower than normal so I could get as much shut eye as possible before jumping on the flight. Following a quick freshen-up and a bite to eat in excellent No1 Lounge I boarded the plane and slept the whole way to IBZZZZZZ!

Sometimes, the week after the conclusion of Radio 1’s Ibiza festivities can see the island take a bit of a downturn. However, Judgement Sundays was well up on numbers compared to the previous year, so it was smugness all round. DJs joining me at Eden were Cosmic Gate, Kutski, Krafty Kuts and The Squatters. Once again the atmosphere at Judgement Sundays set the standard in Ibiza. I ended up leaving the club at around 7am nursing a particularly sore head!

That’s it for this instalment. Just before I go; Please can I ask you to spare a brief moment to cast a vote for me in this years DJ Mag top 100? You can vote by simply heaing to www.djmag.com/top100/ . More next time!

Judge Jules Diary Report 1st August 2011

There are not many radio studios in the world where one can enjoy a cocktail and a panoramic view of the Mediterranean from the vantage point of the microphone. The studio above Café Mambo Ibiza allows such a luxury. On Sunday 10th July, I set off slightly earlier than usual on the pre party trek to make a guest appearance on Germany’s Sunshine Live Radio, hosted by Woody Van Eyden. Ibiza’s ‘sunset strip’ is only about ten minutes from my house, so we were there in no time.

I jumped straight on the mic and completed a couple of interviews, both indoors and al fresco on Mambo’s rooftop. For the first time this season, my littleun Jake was out with me on the road for the pre parties, and once we finished at Mambo it was straight over to Kanya for a quick bite to eat with the rest of the Judgement Sundays DJs. Later that night, Eden was as busy as ever and it was the second date from Marco V in close succession. When it comes to understanding the core sound of Judgement Sundays Marco V ticks all the boxes. Trancey at the correct moments, and more groovy when it’s right to do so. Tony from Above & Beyond was also in the VIP and the partying went on into the daylight hours.

New to Judgement Sundays, this year we introduced DJ duo The Squatters as residents in the backroom. On Monday 11th, fresh from Ibiza, they joined me as back-to-back guests at Mallorca superclub BCM. In bygone seasons both Squatters had been to JS as clubbers, returning in 2011 in work capacity as growing-in-stature DJs and a solid part of the family. There aren’t many clubs in the world where 3 DJs could perform a back-to-back DJ set, however BCM’s DJ booth is the size of a small bungalow. It went off big-time. After finishing deck duties, for the first time in a few weeks I had the luxury of retiring back to the hotel for a bit of sleep before returning to Ibiza at 10am to spend some time pencilled in the diary as ‘chilling out’. In the event the chilling didn’t happen, and later that night we went to Ibiza Rocks, checking out Zane Lowe vs Mark Ronson doing a DJ soundclash on the main stage.

After a couple of days’ rest I headed back to Ibiza airport for a Thursday evening flight to Tenerife. This year, Iberia have slashed their domestic timetable from Ibiza, thanks to Ryanair and Vueling haemorrhaging their business. As a result, I had to get a Ryanair flight to Madrid, change terminals by bus and catch an Iberia flight to Tenerife North. Over the years, Tramps Tenerife has been consistently good for me, but due to the peak in their youth market being late June and July only, I had to squeeze my Tramps appearances in a bit earlier this summer. The venue was packed and another noisy night was enjoyed by all. The next day I jumped on a direct Monarch flight back to London for my Radio 1 show.

Saturday 16th was my first trip to Holland for quite a while, for Judgement Night in the Panama club, Amsterdam. Central Amsterdam is seriously beautiful and I contemplated staying in the city centre, but with a 6am flight back to Ibiza only two hours after my set finished, a hotel at the airport was the better option. I played alongside Marco V and hit the club a bit earlier than usual to soak up Marco’s entire set. Panama peaked earlier than usual for Amsterdam, and Marco had it away.

A few hours after finishing my own portion of proceedings I flew Transavia to Ibiza, sitting next to a mother and daughter. I’m very bad at sleeping in the small seats of short haul flights, but on this occasion I was so tired from the night before than I slept the whole way from take off to touch-down. I woke with a sense of paranoia: did I snore loudly or even lean over and sleep on the passengers next to me? I was getting slightly dirty looks, so either was possible.

Later that night we had Eddie Halliwell spinning at Judgement Sundays, and for the first time swapped around the orientation of the club, meaning that the DJs performed from a large stage at the rear end of the club. As I write, we’ve used the stage for three consecutive Sundays, and it’s worked incredibly well, generating a festival feel and even bigger crowd atmosphere. Eddie smashed it as always, and following his set hung around on the stage to watch my wife Amanda perform two new tracks as a live PA. The club was absolutely rammed and it was great to see Eddie deliver one of his ever-energetic performances.

The next day (Mon 18th) it was back over to Mallorca, this time bringing Eddie along for B2B duties at BCM. It was the first time I’ve done a back-to back with someone who uses a laptop based DJ program, but Eddie’s technical prowess made things work fantastically. The pair of us bounced off each other very well from the first record to the last. We’ve done the odd impromptu B2B set together over the years, but never in such a vast arena as BCM, one of Europe’s biggest resort clubs. Over 3000 clubbers gyrated in unison.

With no time for sleep, after my set I headed straight back to Palma airport to embark upon a 3-flight journey to Greece. On this occasion the journey took just under 12 hours to get to the island of Kos. Luckily, I had a bit of connection time in Barcelona and decided to try out one of the business lounges, which incorporated a darkened room with beds for siestas. What a fantastic idea- I’d had precious little sleep the night before. If only more airports offered the luxury of a ‘sleeper zone’ for weary travellers (and DJs.) Naturally, I set every alarm in my possession to ensure that I didn’t miss my connecting flight to Athens.

The Starlight Club in Kardamena Kos is a family-owned business, and after being taken out for an awesome Greek meal where I let my host do the ordering, we hit some bars and then the club. It was packed, and on arrival and the DJ preceding me was playing urban tunes. This wouldn’t have worked immediately before my set, so I quietly asked the owner if the style could be cranked a little more in my direction. I didn’t like asking, but it would have made my task very difficult, as my musical arena is so different. The resident DJ obliged, and it went onto be one of the best resort gigs of the summer- a brilliant atmosphere in a spot-on venue. Although Kos hasn’t blown in and out of fashion like Malia or Failaraki it’s a very beautiful island, and I hope I’m invited back next summer.

From Kos, I headed back to Ibiza for a couple of days. As crazy as the routing looks on a map, due to the flight connections being a complete nightmare, it was much easier to fly back via London. En route from Gatwick to Ibiza I sat behind Calvin Harris. In the summer months one sees fellow DJs on Ibiza flights more often than not… That’s why we love it!

More next time…

Judge Jules Diary Report 22nd July 2011

Firstly, an apology. This diary report should be delivered on a much more regular basis than it has been over the last six weeks. We had some major web server nightmares, leading to a partial meltdown of my whole site. These have now been rectified and normal service is resumed. Phew…

I start this instalment at the legendary Ministry Of Sound in London on Friday 3rd June for our penultimate UK Judgement Sundays pre Ibiza event. In the month running up to the Ibiza season we try to take Judgement to each corner of the country to supply a taster of what’s ahead.

The night started with my live Radio 1 show at 11pm. A great advantage of playing the Ministry is the short distance between Radio 1 and the club, taking just over 15 minutes in the car. Pretty much exclusively at Judgement Sundays Ibiza, in the summer I play an additional funky set in the second room of Eden. As a Trance DJ I find it fun and a bit of a challenge to step outside of my musical box. The Ministry (being a huge multi room club) enabled me to do the same… It was the first back room set I’d played a quite a while, so all week I hunted down tunes in this musical area.. The night came together beautifully, the only complication being the unfamiliar Allan & Heath mixer in the House room. Immediately afterwards I headed into the main room, jumping on the decks after German duo Cosmic Gate to play my regular music style. It would be the first of 3 gigs I’d be doing with the boys that weekend. The atmosphere in the main room at the Ministry is always rocking and you can check out the pictures in the gallery section of the site.

The following afternoon I headed up to Glasgow for the mighty Coloursfest. Originally I was supposed to be playing two sets, but due to a lack of direct flights to Ibiza and the need to depart very early the following morning, I was only able to spin on the outdoor stage in-between Cosmic Gate and Richard Durand. The backdrop to the outdoor stage is impressive. The event is held on the banks of the Clyde, and with various vast Royal Navy ships moored alongside I wondered whether any navy sailors had sneaked over the fence and onto the dancefloor. The Glaswegian crowd is famously loud, and lived up to their reputation. As a bonus, the Scottish weather didn’t let everyone down (which it’s more than capable of doing.)

In the past there’s always been a good early Sunday direct flight option to Ibiza from Glasgow but this year I was forced to go via Mallorca. Feeling sleep-deprived and in need of my bed, I had the potent motivating factor of the Judgement Sundays opening party (Sunday 5th June) to keep me energised. After 9 months’ hibernation, in the back of your mind there is always an element of panic that nobody is going to show up, but as per usual Eden was packed from the word go. The line up included Cosmic Gate, Tristan D and me in the main room with Micky Slim bigging things up in room 2. The atmosphere was well and truly up to its usual JS standard and we were off to a very solid start to the season. Judgement’s USP is its incredible atmosphere, and 2011 began true to form. Check out the videos via the “Judgement Sundays” tab to the left of this text.

The 10th June was one of those hectic Fridays that included my live Radio 1 show plus a 100 mile drive to a gig. My driver Pistol Pete was ready and waiting to whisk me up to Sekushi night club in Cheltenham as soon as I exited Radio 1’s doors. I’ve played the venue on a few occasions before when it was called Dakota. The downside about squeezing in a Friday night gig after the show is having to play a late set when some folk have already left. The biggest amusement happened at the end of the night, as I was asking people whether they wanted ‘one more tune’ on the mic. My voice sounded very distorted and riddled with feedback, forcing me to abandon the mic and shout at the dancefloor at the top of my voice like a school headmaster. The following morning my tonsils throbbed and warbled.

The next day, Pete and I headed over to Swansea for Escape Into The Park. In recent years they have oscillated between having a Trance arena and going for other options. This time round they went for the indoor tented approach, which really worked for me. My set was just at the point of the sun going down, meaning that the arena got really busy as the night fell and people came in from the outdoor stages. Festivals are so weather dependent and (at the risk of tempting providence) the weather always works out fine for EITP. It finished at 11pm with my closing set, the early curfew having two advantages- people didn’t get too mashed and I was able to get a relatively early flight to Ibiza, allowing me to sleep-off any tiredness once I was there.
After finishing, we headed straight down the motorway to London Gatwick for my 5:40am flight to Ibiza. Thanks to Pete’s smooth driving I managed to sleep the whole way.

The Judgement madness continued heading into week 2 of the Ibiza season. For me, an Ibiza Sunday evening starts pretty early, with ‘pre parties’ scattered all over the San Antonio area. My Ibiza driver Kev collected me around 8:45pm with the first short set taking place at Savanah, next door to Café Del Mar on the sunset strip. Savanah is new for me this year, and has got off to a flying start. I play a slightly more laid back set but it’s something I enjoy, DJing variety being the spice of life. That night we had the Tidy Boys making an appearance at Judgement for the first time. It was a one-off step in a slightly different musical direction- the boys were on the island with a large group of Tidy followers on an Atomic weekender vacation.

The next outing was on Saturday 18th June, to Fever in Northampton. It’s a club I’ve done on many occasions for a promoter I’ve been working with a long time. For a while, club owner Simon had been suggesting that I come up and play a Saturday gig (as opposed to Fridays.) I’m glad I did. Fever was packed, with a really nice dark underground vibe to it. It’s nice to see promoters like Simon taking charge of their own venues. For a while I contemplated buying a club, but all the travelling would have meant that I was away from it too much.

The next morning (Sun 19th) it was back to Ibiza. It’s difficult to sum up each week of a 16 week summer season differently in this report, especially when the weeks fly by like they do. This year we’ve introduced a new music policy in our third room at Judgement Sundays. It was important to make all three rooms completely different in genre, and the new focus in Room 3 is dubstep and D&B. With a bit of time to spare after my sets, I popped my head in and did some toe tapping. After another rammed week, I sat up at home in Ibiza until 10am blasting out the tunes with a few mates. Needless to say, the neighbours weren’t impressed, and I received a very angry chastising phone call that evening. I hadn’t stayed up so late in God knows how long, but you’ve gotta let your hair down every now and again…

The next day (June 20th) I headed over to Mallorca for the first of our weekly Judgement Mondays parties. BCM is one of Europe’s biggest clubs and boasts an equally vast DJ booth. This makes it ideal for doing back-to-back DJ sets. I was inspired to experiment with this a couple of years ago when I tried a back-to-back session with Krafty Kuts, who is one of the most technically skilled DJ’s I know. So this season, using two mixers and eight decks, I’m doing a back-to-back set with a different guest each week at BCM. On this occasion Micky Slim was on the other pair of turntables, and we played one track each before handing over to the other. The energy of two DJs works the crowd beautifully.

I headed straight from BCM to Palma airport with just over an hour to spare before embarking on a draining 3-flight journey to Greece: Palma-Barcelona-Athens-Zante. As you can imagine, on arrival I was pretty exhausted. Under normal circumstances I would have headed straight to bed for a pre-club nap, but Amanda had flown from the UK to meet me in Zante as it was her Birthday. We headed to an awesome Greek restaurant, where we let our local host Jake choose the dishes. I love Greek food in the UK, but the British-produced ingredients don’t compare favourably to those in the Mediterrenean. In Greece I’ve had some of the best meals of my life and it was a fitting birthday celebration for Amanda.

After dinner, we headed straight to the club. As a DJ, Greece is very important to me – it’s essential to keep reinventing your self to a younger audience who are the new generation of clubbers. The Greek islands have the youngest British market of all the Mediterranean holiday destinations, and Zante is having a hugely successful season.

Saturday 25th June contained a last minute booking. I was originally due to be playing EDC in the USA but the only day I could perform was Friday (due to needing to be in Ibiza for the Sunday), and Friday wasn’t available. The replacement gig was in Donegal in the Irish Republic. It’s about 100 miles from Belfast, and the local accent is deceiving, sounding Northern Irish. I flew into Belfast and the driver took us to an Irish pub midway through the journey. I’m partly Irish but completely UK-raised, so a taste of Irish culture is always appreciated. On arrival, the club was busy and I played right up until the police outside said a very definitive ‘Stop!’.

Afterwards, we headed straight back to Belfast Airport. Frustratingly, there was no direct flight to Ibiza so I flew from Belfast to Barcelona with Aer Lingus, with a 2 hour connection time before departing for Ibiza. A bit of a killer when you’ve had zero sleep.

On Sunday June 26th it was back to the Ibiza madness. Not that I experienced any beaches or sun, spending most of the day in bed ahead of Judgement Sundays that night. This year we’ve recruited a new weekly photographer at Judgement who’s doing an awesome job capturing the mood and the vast crowd numbers. When you get a second, check out the pictures via the gallery section of the site. The end of June is when Ibiza numbers start to hit their peak, and guest DJs included Marco V, Claudia Cazacu, Krafty Kuts, with a PA from Angelic, all performing to a packed Eden.

The following evening we caught the small 50-seater regional flight over to Mallorca for Judgement Mondays at BCM. On this occasion my back-to-back partner was the scratch master Krafty Kuts. It’s a shame that there aren’t many UK venues with a large enough DJ booth to accommodate the very visual back-to-back sets that we do in BCM. It’s hard to put a foot wrong.

After a couple of days’ rest in the UK it was travelling time again, on this occasion to Tenerife. The Canary Islands’ summer ‘youth’ peak is shorter then other European holiday destinations, so this year I’m cramming in a couple of trips early in the summer spell. The club is owned by two Lebanese brothers who are good friends – they speak fluent Spanish, English, French and Arabic. I was proud to slowly learn Spanish to a high standard, but their linguistic skills put me to shame. Tramps is always a guaranteed outing for a great night and a bouncing low-ceilinged atmosphere. If you’re a regular listener to my BBC Radio 1 show you will be familiar with the voice of Tenerife-based Ronnie Canada who does many of my jingles. He sings/MCs over the top of my Tramps sets. It’s an experience that has to be witnessed in person. His outfits are worth the ticket price alone.

Saturday 2nd July was my first trip to Russia in a few months. I was booked to play the Ultra music festival is Moscow. I flew direct from Heathrow with Aeroflot, who (luckily) have a flat bed service in business class- unusual for an intra-European flight. Needing to grab sleep wherever possible, I slept pretty much the entire journey. Upon arrival, I jumped in the car to be told that the venue had changed due to police festival licence revocation. As an alternative, the different genre arenas of the event would be held in separate super clubs around the city. They combined Psy Trance and Trance in one location, the only downside being that it resulted in a 20 minute reduction in my set time. Although a club can never truly replace an outdoor festival, the venue they relocated us to was impressive all the same. Three hours after finishing, I flew 5 hours to Madrid and then onwards to Ibiza. A shattering itinerary but worth every second.

Sun 3rd July was all about Judgement Sundays, and once again Eden was rammed. We had a very solid lineup – in the main room I ws joined by Russian rising star Arty. He has received massive support from my DJ peers and it was a proud moment to watch Arty smash Ibiza for his first time at JS. With me having just arrived from his native Russia earlier that day, clearly we had plenty to talk about afterwards. Micky Slim was throwing it down in the back room letting the bass go so low it hit the bottom of your stomach and stayed there.

We choose the Monday night BCM back-to-back co-DJs carefully, with stage presence and technical ability of paramount importance. On this occasion (Mon 4th) I was joined by fellow Radio 1 DJ Kutski. Although his musical style is much faster than mine, we adjusted our respective BPMs and met somewhere in the middle. Later on, my cohort Tristan D also smashed it on the decks.

Following BCM, I had an identical grueling itinerary to two weeks previous, heading towards Zante on three flights, starting with an 8am departure to Barcelona from Palma. Having rested before BCM, there was almost no time for sleep afterwards, so I decided to stay at the club chatting to club manager Gordon until everyone had left. At 7am, I caught I cab to Palma airport and boarded the aircraft to Barcelona with my fellow passengers, only to be told (after an hour) that we needed to get off the plane due to a technical problem. The lack of information that followed was infuriating, but the plane was clearly going nowhere. In the end I had to book new flights via Milan to Athens, get driven 200 miles in a taxi across Greece, plus travel by speed boat (at night) across the Mediterranean sea. This may all sound very “007” but I assure you travelling across the ocean on a speed boat in total darkness is pretty scary. On arrival there was no time for sleep- it was straight to the gig. Greece is always a cert when it comes to a good night, and having travelled for nearly 20 hours, the insane itinerary seemed worth it.

The following evening I played Corfu, and to get there we jumped on the smallest commuter plane I’ve ever travelled by. It roams between the Greek islands like a bus and literally lands at each island with an airport, one after the other. We arrived into Corfu with plenty of time to spare and headed straight out for some more amazing Greek food. Amanda joined me on the trip, but unfortunately injured her self quite badly en route back to the hotel from the restaurant, falling into an damaged storm drain. Luckily she didn’t break any bones but was unable to come to the gig at Futures in the resort of Kavos. A big shame, as it was rammed and awesome.

On Friday the 8th July, following my live Radio 1 show Pete and I headed up to Walsall in the West Midlands. Birmingham and the surrounding area are just within the reach radar for Friday night gigs after finishing Radio 1 at 1am. We made it up in good time, and the night “Simma” was rammed. Promoter/producer/DJ Will Bailey was behind the event and booked me to play a funky set. This is something I rarely do outside Ibiza, but with it being the middle of summer and having the funky tunes at hand, I though why not? A couple of people were slightly bemused that I wasn’t playing my usual banging stuff but they soon got into the swing of things. I certainly hope to make a return visit in the near future…

The final 2 gigs covered in this instalment are The Syndicate in Blackpool and the Essex Polo Club event in Epping. We started the night with the local gig. Essex is pretty close to London, and within 45 mins of leaving home we were in my tent. The night was a large capacity event with multiple arenas and very celebrity driven. The gig was a highly dressy affair, and the only down side was one of the co-promoters getting in my face every 10 minutes trying to tell me what to play. This is something I never experience, and I ended up having very harsh words with him. The crowd loved the vibe, and in typical festival fashion, things were very muddy on the way out.

Following the slight dramas of Essex, we headed up to Blackpool for a venue I haven’t played in a while, The Syndicate. The club now has a new bookings manager/promoter called Nick, who seems to be doing a corking job. The Syndicate always reminds me of BCM, Mallorca… The big crowd were very up for it and as loud as ever. The Syndicate has a revolving dancefloor, which can be turned on or off at will by the DJ. I kept it switched on until it made me dizzy, and then turned it off for a while. Then on, then off, then on then off, etc… Check out the pictures online.

Commencing very soon is the yearly DJ Mag Top 100 DJ’s poll, voting commences very soon via http://www.djmag.com/top100 if you could spare a minute to cast a vote in my favour when things open it would be very much appreciated!

Until next time…

Judge Jules Diary Report 4th June 2011

Since September 11th, terrorism is something that’s worried every frequent traveller. On the 16th April I was booked to play in Minsk, Belarus, an area of the world I’d never travelled to before. Three days prior to my trip, central Minsk was rocked by a terrorist bomb. Although Belarus has witnessed hardly any terrorism, I wondered whether the event would go ahead and if it would have an impact on turnout.

There was nothing for it, but to put any security concerns to the back of my mind. “Urban Wave” was a massive event with a cool line up including my good friend Eddie Halliwell. Minsk isn’t served by a great deal of direct flights, meaning that I had to fly via Prague. When travelling to a country you’ve never been to before, a frequently encountered problem is getting your head around the currency and what it’s worth. Luckily I have a currency converter app on my iPhone. Whatever did we do before the smart phone?

The gig was chocka on arrival, and Eddie was trying out a new DJing concept, using an iPad to control his tunes wirelessly. I was fascinated – not only could he control his mixing via his iPad from anywhere on stage but he could also implement wide ranging effects. On the flight home I chatted with Eddie and his sound guy Duncan. They explained the concept in more detail and sold the idea to me. I’ve now purchased an Ipad 2 and I plan to give it a test run at home in the next couple of weeks with a view to experimenting with it at Judgement in Ibiza this summer. What’s your view on new applications of technology to DJing? Let me know via jules@judgejules.net…

After a couple of days rest at home it was time to head back to LHR. This time I was off to Salou on Spain’s Costa Dorada (Tuesday 19th). Salou may seem like a strange destination for a midweek gig but it was an event where masses of British-based students ship out for a week’s break ahead of the exam period. I was chatting to the event organizer who brings thousands of students on the trip and was surprised to learn that they do the entire journey by coach, taking over 24 hours. Apparently there isn’t the flight availability to do it any other way.

The gig was at the world renowned Pacha which has ‘branches’ all over the world. A stand-out feature of top end clubs like Pacha and Ministry of Sound is the very high spec DJ booths they have. The stage area in front of the DJ booth was strictly guarded to make sure clubbers couldn’t get close to the booth – the club seemed to feel that there may have been some sort of riot. Trust me, I when I was a student, unless it was some sort of political rally, a riot was always the last thing on the agenda.

Needless to say, the atmosphere was awesome, and I left the club with a smug smile on my face. The next day I flew back from Barcelona’s new Terminal 1 and found an amazing tapas bar hidden away through departures. During the summer I frequently use Barcelona airport as a connecting hub to and from Ibiza. The Spanish aren’t great believers in pre-made food, and when it comes to ‘small bite’ dishes, no country does it better. Believe it or not, the Spanish have started attaching Michelin starred restaurants to key airports such as Barcelona and Madrid Barajas. I boarded my BA flight to London very full and ready for a siesta…

On Thursday 21st April I played a Time Flies event at Kirkhouse in Merthyr Tydfil Wales. With it being the first night of the Easter bank holiday weekend, Pete, Tristan and I set off with plenty of time to spare. You can never be too careful with traffic on public holiday weekends. Pistol Pete got us there in rapid time and we met up with Time Flies promoter Henry on arrival at the club. The venue looked quite small from the outside but once you walked in and up the stairs it opened up into a large location. I had plenty of mates in attendance- it always seems to be at the clubs with the smallest DJ booths when lots of friends come along. The only problem of the night was the monitor speaker in the DJ booth, which was the worst I’ve encountered in ages. As a DJ it’s important to be able to hear the music without any delay or distortion, which was impossible. Apart from that the night was a great success and the crowd were definitely up for it.

The next outing was on Saturday 23rd April to Cornwall. As a kid, I was dragged to Cornwall to spend time with my family there for my entire easter and summer holidays every April and July, and by the time I was 15 I was completely sick of the place. I wanted to rebel against where my parents were forcing me to go. Now, later in life, I absolutely love Cornwall, and with the exception of the 4 hour drive I always look forward to visiting.

The first stop on the Cornish double header was to Berties in Newquay. Thinking of the traditional British seaside towns that have continued to prosper in full glory as tourist destinations in the 21st century, it’s hard to name more than 3: Brighton, Blackpool & Newquay. Newquay has become the UK holiday hot spot for students and 18-21s wanting a hedonistic domestic get away. It’s very important as a DJ to expose yourself to the future of dance music and the young crowd in Newquay really understood the tunes I was putting across.

It’s quite unusual to be able to squeeze in a same-night gig double header in Cornwall but Penzance was just within reach and radius. Sound Nightclub booked me for a late set from 2-4am. It’s a gem to find a non-city club that stays open that late and is still rocking when you arrive. The venue was perfect, capacity was around 1000 and it was well and truly erupting with energy. It was truly refreshing to play such a great late night venue in the south west- I really hope to come back soon. After my set I cocooned myself in pillows and slept the whole way back to London. Pistol Pete didn’t look too enamoured with the prospect of a 300 mile drive at 4am.

Easter Sunday 24th April was the first of our Judgement Sundays UK parties, ahead of Ibiza 2011. Staged at Gatecrasher in Nottingham, the club was heaving from the moment we arrived, and I headed straight to the back stage dressing rooms to chill out with mates before my set. Marco V was playing beforehand, and in anticipation of using the new Pioneer CDJ2000s, which allow DJs to play their music off a USB memory stick, Marco had only brought a couple of pen drives of tunes. Much to his despair, the club had the older CDJ1000s, which only take CDs. This meant that Marco had a mad rush to quickly burn some CD’s ahead of his set. I’m all for new technology, but I don’t think I’ll be quite as daring as to travel without any CD’s at all. It was great to catch up with all the Ibiza summer crew, and after 2 tune encores from the crowd we called it a night. Pete, Tristan and I headed back to London, well and truly feeling the Ibiza vibe.

Friday 29th April was all about Will & Kate. I can’t say that I revel in the pomp and pageantry of run-of-the-mill royal events, but a royal wedding is something special. We had a BBQ at home in North London with some friends – any excuse to get out the Pimms and lemonade. Later that night I did my Friday night Radio 1 show until 1am. Following that, I raced over to play at my regular London haunt, The Gallery at Ministry Of Sound, celebrating its birthday. For the second weekend in a row I was on the bill with Marco V, this time using CDJ2000s. The Gallery asked us to do a 1 hour back-to-back set before my main set, something I haven’t done at The Gallery since NYE 2009/10 (with Sander Van Doorn). The Ministry has an amazing DJ booth set up which includes 8 Pioneer CDJ2000’s, 2 Mixers, 2 Effects units and kick ass monitors. The guys recorded my set, which is now live on the site as the “May Mix” to download.

The next day Pete and I hit the road again, this time to 53 Degrees in Preston. It was the first time I’d done the venue since a massive overhaul, and the club looked fantastic. The night was a difficult one to do, the day following a nationwide party and drink-up for the royal wedding. It was good to see some familiar faces in the house.

On Sunday 1st May I headed over to Ireland for the next Judgement Sundays pre summer event, at the Temple in Carlow. Arriving into the shiny new Terminal 2 at Dublin I was collected to make the 1 hour drive to Carlow. On arrival at the venue I spent an hour or so prior to my set in a private bar back stage – going to Ireland and getting merry go hand in hand. I was joined on the decks by First State, who really impressed. The loud Irish clubbers did what they do best – shouted loud and smiled loads.

On Saturday 7th May I made a long journey for a short visit, to Korea for the Seoul World DJ festival, a massive event that I’d been looking forward to for quite a while. Due to BA not flying there direct, I routed via Helsinki. Seoul Airport is probably the world’s furthest airport from its home city. I arrived at 9am in the morning, and although the traffic wasn’t too bad, it took seemingly forever to reach the hotel.

The artist liaison collecting me from the airport was American Korean. On the journey I told her that I’d just got into Korean food. She went away and brought me a such a massive Korean take away that would last the whole 24 hour trip. If there’s one thing guaranteed about a trip to Asia it’s that I always return home a stone heavier.

The event was huge and had multiple arenas. I was collected from my hotel with plenty of time to spare, as the promoter was unsure on how the traffic would be getting to the site. It turned out to be absolutely fine and we arrived with time to spare, so I went around and checked out some of the other arenas. Plenty of other DJ mates were there, including Judgement Sundays back room resident Micky Slim. Before going on I hung out time backstage with Russia’s Bobina and Australia’s Tydi. The arena was open air, and slightly colder than you would expect for an outdoor event, around 12 degrees – luckily I’d brought a jacket. Markus Schulz was on after me and after 4 hours sleep in the hotel it was time to head back to the airport for the return flight to London.

Over the years Radio 1 have held their ‘One Big Weekend’ festivals in some slightly random locations, done strategically as to boost awareness of the station in specific corners of the country. The 2011 instalment, on Sat May 14th, was held in Carlisle. Being a 300 mile drive from London, it was the furthest OBW drive to date. The location was Carlisle airport. I must confess that I didn’t know that Carlisle had an airport until then. Had I known I would have scrambled the private jet (only kidding) but instead my driver Pistol Pete weaved his magic and we arrived in good time to check out some of the other acts. Unlike the previous year, the dance stage was quite central to the rest of the event. I was sandwiched in-between Pete Tong and Jaymo & Andy George. I really enjoyed myself and it was great to catch up with all the Radio 1 crew. OBW in Carlisle was another huge success for Radio 1 and I managed to take some pictures which will be live on the site shortly.

After OBW, my management booked me into a second gig. I had no idea how it was going to be but I was very pleasantly surprised. I played Glam in Stockton On-Tees. Carlisle, being in quite a remote location, didn’t give us a huge radius to look for Saturday night gigs but Stockton was just within reach. The club is owned by the same people who run The Syndicate venues in Blackpool and Bristol. As always they really looked after me and the club was heaving.

We are now in the final run up to Judgement Sundays Ibiza 2011 and in the next instalment I will fill you in on our last few UK pre season events…. See ya next time!

Judge Jules Diary Report 27th April 2011

During my career as a DJ I have witnessed multiple comings and goings of clubs around the world, and for me, loyalty to a club/promoter who looks after you is super important. BCM in Mallorca is my longest standing residency, and during the summer season I host my weekly Judgement Mondays at the Spanish super club BCM. They normally hold a couple of reunion weekenders around the UK during the winter months, but this year the BCM brand went on a mini club tour. On Saturday 26th March I was booked to play ones of these at Mood in Edinburgh. It was busy, and provided a nice flavour of the summer season to come.

BCM in Mallorca has one of the world’s biggest DJ booths, with a 2 mixer, 8 deck set-up, making it ideal for back-to-back DJ sets. This is something I really enjoy, and the 2011 BCM programme will see me doing double deck duties with a number of DJ friends. I’d thought about trying to incorporate a similar set up into Judgement Sundays Ibiza, but the size of the DJ booth in Eden means that it would be a bit of a squeeze. This season’s BCM outings kick-off on Monday June 20th, two weeks after Judgement Sundays gets going in Ibiza (June 5th).

Wednesday 30th March contained a pleasant surprise in the diary, a trip only 20 miles from my front door. I was booked to play in Uxbridge at the Electric Lounge. Being a midweek gig, I’d made the decision beforehand that I wasn’t going to drink, but the owner of the venue was very persuasive with a Tequila bottle. The venue was a cool bar with a studenty crowd. I played a slightly more Funky set, which is always a nice change, and a good opportunity to test some Ibiza backroom tunes ahead of the summer. It was a rare post DJing luxury to be back at home in bed by 1:30am…

Sometimes, my manager likes to throw random darts on a map of the UK to see where Saturday night DJ double-ups are going to take place. On Saturday 2nd April he sent my road manager Pete and I to Rhyl in North Wales and Coalville in the Midlands. It was just about doable in the same night, but it’s better to build 30 minutes’ danger time into the itinerary. We arrived into the Welsh Holiday resort of Rhyl with plenty of time to spare, and had a drink with gig organiser DJ Kuta. The club soon got going, and the DJ preceding me was a former DMC world mix champion. It was fun to watch – even though he was using a laptop and midi controller, his set was very much about the effects. I really liked the concept, but I’m not sure if I would be up for all the wiring up required on arrival at each show…

Afterwards there wasn’t much time to hang around, as we had 150 miles to travel to Coalville. Passion at The Emporium is a long standing gig for me, formerly promoted by dance music legend JFK and now run by rising star Genix. Luckily, traffic was sympathetic, and we arrived with enough time to catch up with Genix, where he handed me some of his new tunes, which are always very strong. It was Passion’s birthday and they’d really gone to town on the club, including moving the decks to a much more prominent onstage position. Eddie Halliwell had been on earlier, and the atmosphere was truly pumped-up Eddie style. I managed to take some great pictures from the elevated stage position, which you can check out in the Gallery section of the site.

Normally speaking, my US trips are spaced out with a couple of months in between. However, this time round we were returning within the space of 3 weeks. On my previous visit I played the massive Beyond Wonderland festival in San Bernadino California, but this time round it was all about the clubs, including venturing back to Southern California in San Diego.

First stop had us saying ‘Viva Las Vegas’. Due to direct flights from London being so expensive, we routed into Vegas via nearby Phoenix Arizona. It made a killer journey on the body clock even longer. Recently, my wife Amanda lost her Passport and was issued with a replacement. On our last trip into the US, her previously-lost Passport flagged her up for private room ‘secondary immigration screening’ when going through customs. It caused us to nearly miss an internal flight. With this in mind, we raced first off the plane, and headed straight to the front of the immigration line in Arizona. This time round, the guy behind the desk was very friendly. Thanks to my work visa the whole process was much quicker, and ultimately we didn’t need to go through the hell of secondary screening.

I was booked to play at Eve nightclub, which, unlike most of the other Vegas clubs I’ve played, wasn’t part of a hotel/casino complex. It was located in an upmarket shopping mall. Our long journey didn’t leave me with much pre-gig rest time, but after a brief hour’s shut-eye we were fully charged and ready to rock. The gig went off in a venue that was very hi-tec and expensively fitted-out. With Vegas such a popular holiday destination for Brits it was no surprise to see plenty of British faces in attendance.

I’ve probably been to Vegas around 15 times and never gambled, but on this occasion I bit the bullet, and decided to have a flutter on a blackjack table in our hotel (The Wynn). The one great thing about hitting the tables in Vegas is the provision of free drinks whilst you’re playing. I set myself a betting limit of just $100, but between 3 of us we must have drunk $150 of free cocktails. This left me feeling that the house hadn’t profited at our expense (except our sobriety.)

After leaving the Casino, we headed straight for Las Vegas airport. It’s conveniently located very close to the centre, as was the airport in our next location, San Diego. We landed into San Diego’s Lindbergh Airport feeling pretty shattered from the night before and a full afternoon of Casino action.

We headed straight to our hotel “The Hard Rock”, which (conveniently) was the location of the gig too. Straight away we had disco nap ahead of the gig, which was pretty much a necessity by this point. The event was in the basement ballroom of the Hard Rock, and was promoted as a ‘halfway to Halloween’ party. This proved to be a great idea, as people in the US go crazy for anything Halloween-related. I played the epic Monster Massive in Los Angeles last Halloween and some of the costumes I saw in San Diego took me straight back to October 31st. Also on the bill was rising star Morgan Page, who has done some great tracks with Deadmau5. Halfway to Halloween was a great success- if you get a second check out the video on Youtube.

The final gig covered by this instalment was in Chicago. It was a late booking into the diary for one of America’s legendary dance clubs, Vision. We flew Southwest Airlines from SAN-CHI, and on arrival we were whisked straight out to lunch with the promoter Lynn at an Asian Fusion restaurant within the Dana Hotel. Later that evening, we met up with some Chicago-based friends in the reception. There were a fair few in the group, and Amanda started chatting to one of them, pinching some of his French fries. He didn’t say anything, but later we found out that this guy wasn’t actually part of the bunch of friends at all. Amanda had been randomly chatting to a complete stranger, thinking he was part of our group. He tagged along with us for the rest of what must have been a very surreal evening for him.

Later, we headed around the corner to the club. The gig was packed- I had intended to get some photos for the site but Vision was a bit too dark to get any good shots from the booth. If you were there and you have any pics, please feel free to send them over to jules@judgejules.net . After a great night and a lot of fun with our friends we decided to call it a night.

The following day we met back up with the same local friends at their house in the Chicago suburbs and did quintisentially American things… We watched baseball on TV and ate steak from the BBQ. The weather in Chicago was amazing and we were sad to leave that evening and head back to London.

The following week we headed off to Ibiza for a family holiday and to do some pre season preparation for Judgement Sundays, more about that next time…

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