judge jules diary report 9th june 2013

Let’s kick this instalment off with some significant, but exciting news. As many of you have noticed and asked me about, there’s been something of a delay in announcing this year’s Judgement Ibiza line up. This is all for good reason. After 13 years of hosting Sundays at Eden, we’re moving our operations to Fridays. Henceforth known as Judgement Fridays

This is for multiple reasons, the most significant being that the San Antonio super club has been sold within the past few months to new owners, and every night at Eden is being freshened up. They’re spending major money on a top-to-bottom refurbishment of the club – this summer it’ll be like going into an unrecognisable venue. I’m pleased to announce the launch night of Judgement Fridays on 28th June, featuring yours truly, along side Kissy Sellout, Ashley Wallbridge & Paul Webster. For full season-long line up information, please head to judgementfridays.co.uk . You’ll notice lots of new DJ faces appearing on the line-ups. I’ve tried to incorporate many new names whose music productions have formed a significant part of my DJ sets over the past twelve months.

On Friday 29th of March I hit one of my most regular long-haul haunts, Dubai. On this occasion it was for the annual EDMX at the Atlantis Beach resort. The event was open air, located directly behind the iconic Atlantis Hotel. Folk living in a permanently warm climate often take the conditions for granted, but I never fail to appreciate an open air festival, and I was lucky enough to do quite a few in the period covered by this instalment. Joining me on the line up were ATB, Example and plenty of other heavyweight artists. The vista of sand and shoreline from behind the decks was picture perfect, and with plenty of UAE friends in attendance I couldn’t fail to enjoy. The next day I headed over to a neighbourhood full of bespoke tailors to get some new stuff made.  Although not as inexpensive as the Far East, Dubai is a much cheaper tailoring option than the UK. Following a morning of shopping and eating, I headed over to Dubai Airport to fly British Airways back to London and then onwards to Ireland. On the subject of British Airways, if you’re travelling long haul on BA in the near future, check my Global Warm Up, now featuring on BA’s inflight entertainment channels.

The next outing was the first of a few trips over to Ireland within the last few months, as I played “Queens” in County Clare on March 30th. Flying directly from Dubai, via London, I was absolutely exhausted and running on empty.  The Irish always possess so much energy, and it’s amazing how a raucous crowd can pick one up from even the most shattered moments. Being the bank holiday weekend in the UK, the next day I was set to play Blackpool, with this in mind, I headed to bed at an airport hotel pretty much immediately after leaving the decks in County Clare.

Onwards to Blackpool, and Easter Sunday 31st was bitterly cold, as the UK suffered one of the coldest springs in living memory (50 years, to be precise). The conditions didn’t make for the perfect evening to stage a fully outdoor Judgement event on the Pier in Blackpool.   The promoters booked the night on the basis that a year earlier their Easter event on roughly the same weekend had been so balmy that the crowd turned up in shorts and flip flops.  Fast forward a year later, and the temperature for this outdoor party was zero degrees.

Although I feared that numbers would suffer big-time, the night was actually busy, going to prove how thick skinned Northern Brits are. The atmosphere in Blackpool gets a comfortable ten out of ten, but, as a Southern softie, I must confess to having deejayed in a thick overcoat.

Since commencing my role with London based media law firm Sheridans in October, I’ve successfully balanced gigs and day job, enjoying both in equal measure. Occasionally it can be exhausting, but I’ve managed to lose 2 stone of weight, which has not only increased my energy levels, but probably aided my mental focus too. On Thursday 4th April, I left work and set off for London Gatwick heading for Barcelona, en route to Salou on the Costa Blanca. I was booked to play the legendary Pacha for a vast crowd of UK students who’d travelled down from the UK by coach. Although I can see the “fun” element of the journey, I personally struggle to spend more than 2 hours on a bus, let alone 18 hours or more, not to mention the ferry crossing. The gig was absolutely packed, with over 5000 students inside and coaches parked outside as far as the eye could see. When you get a moment, check out the pictures via the gallery section of the site.

On Friday 5th April I headed up to the “Lowlands” of Scotland to play Falkirk, somewhere I’ve visited on a few occasions. The beauty of flying domestically is the reduced time one needs to be at the airport before boarding the plane.  Who needs too much wasted down-time in departure lounges? The gig was noisy as always, and I enjoyed my interaction with a bunch of louder-than-life clubbers.

The next day I headed over to Bergen in Norway, which involved flying back down to LHR and connecting out to Scandinavia. During my career I’ve visited more beautiful cities around the world than I can count, but there’s not always the time to soak up enough of the local sights and sounds. On this occasion, the promoter took me on a whistle-stop tour of Bergen and it was a fantastically beautiful city, just basking in its first days of snow-free springtime after the long Scandinavian winter. Red Bull sponsored the event, and on arrival back to my hotel room I found a case Red Bull outside my door. Although this would be a dream for some, I’m not a massive energy drink consumer, in fact almost never.  They make me feel too edgy. Thanks for the hospitality I received in Bergen – I managed to snap a few pictures that you can check out via the Gallery section of the site.

Saturday 13th April was the next outing, and on this occasion it was a “Revolution” double header. First, my road manager Pete and I headed up to Loughborough, which takes about 2 hours from London. Later, we headed down to Milton Keynes to play an event for the same promoter. Both gigs were suitably noisy, and Pistol Pete got me to both gigs in plenty of time with his mastery of burning off tyre rubber. It was rewarding to see so many mates in attendance at both shows, and I appreciated playing in relatively close proximity to home for the first time in a while.

The next outing was on Saturday 20th April, as Pete and I headed over to Swansea for Judgement Night at Oxygen, local hero Big Al’s new venture.  In many UK cities the existence of the entire local dance scene can be credited to a handful of visionary individuals who laid the local clubbing foundations.  Big Al is one such guy, and it was gratifying to see his new venture working so well after moving over from the Escape, where he’d been for such a long spell.

On Friday April 26th I headed east, flying with Qatar airways to Bahrain.  Although there had been hints of revolutionary trouble reported on the UK news about Bahrain, I saw no evidence.  It seemed like very much the same prosperous and vibrant city-state as on my previous two visits.

It was open-air time again, as I played the Amwaj Marina for a large-scale beach event. My management had mentioned to the promoter that I’m a Grey Goose vodka fan and they took the suggestion seriously, enlisting Grey Goose to sponsor the entire VIP area.  If there’s one product I don’t mind endorsing, it’s Grey Goose.  The gig was packed and memorable (despite the vodka trying to interfere with said memory), and I hope to be invited back sooner rather than later.

The next day I was performing in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia at Music Conference Asia. With the flight from Bahrain to KL taking 7 hours, there was no room for delay, especially taking into account the west to east time difference. I went pretty much straight from the decks in Bahrain to the airport to make the itinerary work. Thankfully there were no delays, and I landed in good time.  After checking into my hotel, I headed straight down to a conference suite at the event to give a speech and take a Q&A on all things dancemusic-related from the audience.

The gig that night was huge – check out the pictures via the Gallery section of the site to get a sense of the scale of things. The DJ following me (who’s well known and I won’t name-check) was playing from laptop, which, sadly for him, broke. This meant that I got a double length set, something I was more than happy to accept, considering I was playing in from of 10,000 people outdoors.  DJs’ technical choices have branched into two different schools of thought – turntables (which I use) and laptops.  This wasn’t a good advert for the laptop fraternity.

The next day I flew home to London via Doha, Qatar, with a fairly lengthy connection of around 6 hours. There’s always plenty of work to be done on planes and in airport lounges, so I’m never short of stuff to occupy me, but I’d prefer not to be separated from my nearest and dearest for any longer than totally necessary.

Friday 3rd May saw a trip down to Bournemouth to play one of my favorite venues in the UK, the O2 Academy, formerly The Opera House. Slinky at The Opera House used to be one of the biggest weekly Trance events in the UK, but in recent years has only hosted special events.  I have a whole (metaphorical) album’s worth of memories from the place, back when it used to be weekly. This time round I played alongside Gareth Emery, who harks originally from nearby on Britain’s South Coast, and the club was rammed. I hope Slinky continue these events as it’s important to keep the culture alive in Bournemouth.

The next night was the Judgement Street Party event in Maidstone, Kent. I was slightly worried about how much of a success a street party would be with the unpredictable UK weather, but I should have paid more attention to the venue spec, as (despite its name) it was covered-over and not exposed to the elements. Both the weather and clubbers were on top form. I played two sets, one in the House orientated room and one in the more banging arena, joined on the decks by Orjan Nilsen, Simon Patterson, Claudia Cazacu and many more. Whenever the “Judgement” banner is attached to a UK event I care even more than normal about its success, as my name is on the line.  The Maidstone event was an absolutely storming finale to the bank holiday weekend and a standard bearer for the Judgement brand before the summer.

Wednesday 15th May was a one-off occasion where I squeezed in a gig overnight in between working days at the Sheridans office in London. It took place in Waterford, Ireland, and (pardon the cliché) the craic was there in abundance.  Although its economy has not enjoyed the best of times of late, the Irish transport infrastructure has improved out of all recognition.  Whereas, five or ten years ago a cross-country journey of any length was impossible because of the poor Irish roads, Ireland is now crisscrossed with a spanking new motorway network.  This means that recent visits have allowed me to fly into Dublin and be driven to destinations elsewhere in the country, which is the preferable option as there is such a huge choice of flights into the Irish capital, compared to regional ones. Following the gig, I stayed in a Dublin Airport hotel and made it back into the Sheridans offices for 9.30am, feeling pumped up and ready for the day ahead.

On Thursday 16th May my new Pioneer CDJ2000 Nexus set up arrived. It’s been a while since I played around with DJ equipment at home, but this kit is truly amazing, especially when connected to the new DJM900 Nexus mixer. If you’d told me 15 years ago that this is how far DJ technology would advance, I’d have called you crazy.  Over the course of the same week I went to Pioneer’s dedicated DJ studio in Shoreditch for some tuition in the advanced use of Pioneer equipment.  Although I’ve spent the past ten years using their stuff as my core DJ technology, I learned a huge bunch of new tricks. It was an important reminder that one should always continue to brush up one’s technical skills and never stand still. Check out my technical set-up via http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/newsroom/news/CDJ-2000nexus/page.html

On Saturday 18th May I headed to the Seoul “World DJ’ festival in South Korea. With recent warlike rhetoric having being dished out by the North Koreans, my flight to Korea was pretty empty, with some passengers presumably having been deterred by what they’d seen on the news. I was able to spread out and create a little office area for myself in the largely vacant business class cabin on BA.

On arrival, I told the promoter how much I enjoyed Korean food and later that day they spoiled me with some of the best cuisine that Seoul had to offer. The gig was a large-scale sold out arena festival with multiple stages. My set was on the main stage, which was open air. Annoyingly, the Heavens opened torrentially during my set.  In fact, it rained so heavily that the decks needed to be moved deeper under the covered-over stage midway during my performance. My weather experience aside, I’d highly recommend visiting the country if you get the chance. If you’re in London at any point, check out some of the numerous Korean BBQ restaurants, they’re truly fantastic.

The next journey was to Dublin on Friday 24th May. I played for fellow DJ/Friend Paul Webster, who has a monthly event at “Home” nightclub in his home town of Balbriggan, just outside the Irish capital.  Before the gig Paul took me out to dinner at a local Thai.  Although a pre gig disco nap might have been the more sensible option, the foodie in me always takes the upper hand.  The event was packed and bouncing. I look forward to seeing Paul at the Judgement Fridays launch party on June 28th!

The following night I was in Northern Ireland at the legendary Coach.  Geographical sanity would have suggested staying over in Dublin all-day and travelling by car the 90 or so miles north to Banbridge that night. However family will always take precedence, so I flew back home in between.

Spending about six hours at home in London, I left LHR again at 7:30pm en route over the Irish Sea back to the Coach.  The BA business lounge in Heathrow Terminal 1 was chocka with artists, managers, pluggers and press travelling to Radio 1’s Big Weekend, taking place on the other coast of Northern Ireland in Derry. On an adjacent table was The Script, whose singer (as a judge one TV’s ‘The Voice’) was getting lots of attention.

The Coach is always a guaranteed smasher when I see it in the diary, so I knew I was in for a treat. I really appreciate how well looked after I am every time I go there.

Sunday 26th May was another Bank Holiday here in the UK, meaning it was time to hit the road. We headed up to Beaconsfield, just of the M40 near London for Revolution, a night I’d played the previous month in two other locations. The gig was close to London, so plenty of mates tagged along.

The final outing covered by this report was our official Judgement Fridays UK pre party at Ministry of Sound, London on Friday 31st May. Orjan Nilsen, Sean Tyas, Shogun and Tristan D joined me on the decks, and the atmosphere was truly immense as always.  Being in my home town, demand for guest list places amongst my mates always outstrips supply, and they all want to come and stand behind me in the DJ booth.  On the one hand I like this sense of camaraderie.  On the other, I’m mindful that such chaos probably looks a bit unprofessional from the dancefloor.

I finished on the decks at 3:30am, and managed to record my set, which is now live as the “June Mix” via the Mix Sets section of the site. It was great to see so many friendly faces, and I hope to see you all in Ibiza!

Finally, if you want to get in touch with me about anything musically related, or just for a general hello my email address is jules@judgejules.net . I personally reply to every email received…

Have a great week, more next time….



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