Jan 11, 2017
Judge Jules: A Staple Over The Years
Judge Jules is a dance music legend and as busy as ever. He just released a 2016 edition of his classic Hi-Gate EP and this past year wrapped up his 16th season running Judgement in Ibiza. He joined us to reflect on both of these accomplishments, discuss his duties as the head of Judgement Recordings and a midweek job position that’s quite surprising considering his hectic touring schedule.
What made you choose to do a 2016 update of “Caned & Unable” and “I Can Hear Voices”?
The main reason is simply that these days I’m playing quite a different music style from when the tracks were originally produced. The Hi-Gate tracks, in my eyes, are timeless and mean a lot to me, but from a BPM perspective, 140 BPM is unusable alongside the kind of music that I now play. It was an easy decision to go back into the studio and rework the tracks to fit a 2017 style. The great thing is that the sounds and chords have as much of an impact today as they did when we first wrote the originals.
How did you approach reworking each of these tracks? What elements from the original versions did you want to preserve and what were you looking to bring into the 2016 versions?
“Caned & Unable” was more of a subtle change in that the chords and the bass are pretty much the same as when first released around the turn of the millennium, but I gave the drums and the BPM a tweak so that they work in line with current releases. “I Can Hear Voices” is, I suppose, more of a traditional remix; it’s quite a radical overhaul from the original which keeps the vocals, but brings in a totally new backing track.
How have you been enjoying running Judgement Recordings? Anything upcoming on the label that you can tell us about?
I’m in a position where I hear a lot of new, unreleased music and am privy to a great deal of projects from other producers that are “works in progress.” It’s always exciting to release new music and a lot of producers think that the holy grail is to secure a release on a record on a label, when in fact it should be to release a record on a good label – a label that will work, promote and nurture your record in the best way possible to achieve maximum success. With Judgement Recordings, the goal was always to take those great records which may have seen releases on labels anyway, but ensure that they saw the kind of release that they deserved.
2017 marked your 16th season running Judgement in Ibiza. How does it feel to still be going strong after so many years?
It’s always special to play in Ibiza, so doing it in the shape of your own night has got to be the aim for any DJ, and that’s been my life for 16 years. Well actually, it doesn’t feel like that long to me at all. I’ve made Ibiza my second home so I spend as much of the year there as I can. Judgement is an extra reason to head over each summer and I’ll continue to put parties on for as long as the demand is there, something I never thought I’d be able to say when we started 16 years ago.
What can you tell us about your upcoming compilation album?
It’s reflective of my club sets, so it’ll be a great way to perhaps challenge a few preconceptions about what I play out, and also a great way to reach a new generation of clubbers. An essential part of being a DJ is being a great curator – taking the mountain of tracks and promos you get sent, refining your selection and putting them in the right order; it sounds easy, but it’s this skill that gives some DJs longevity that others don’t have. I’ll be touring extensively in the run up to the album’s release so it’ll serve as a snapshot of ‘Judge Jules’ in 2017.
How is 2017 shaping up for you overall?
Incredibly busy. As well as the album and UK tour, I’ve got several shows overseas in places like Dubai which is always something I look forward to, and of course there’s also plans for Ibiza which we’re already discussing. Whilst I’m still touring extensively, a lot of people don’t realise that I also spend my midweek time as a music lawyer at Sheridans in London. I represent some key names in dance music (as well as many other players from the music industry). My split role as a constantly touring DJ and knowledgeable music lawyer gives me a unique perspective on our world.
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