1. When and why did you start DJing?Well, I started DJing in the late 80s when I was about 15 or 16. When you’re that young you have a huge social circle and very few places to go. We managed to find one London venue that would turn a blind eye to our clientele’s lack of years, because, despite our age, we all came from middle class backgrounds, and as a result spent a lot of money behind the bar. Everybody gained, and (thankfully) the police didn’t find out. That was the genesis of my DJ career and as a promoter.
2. Who were your early DJ influences?
Back then there was much less radio and obviously no internet, so there were relatively few DJs that I saw or heard playing. What I did was go to import and second hand record stores, creating a record collection for myself very quickly. I travelled to New York regularly to buy both old new tunes and really immersed myself in it. Whilst at the time there were certain DJs that I like, I’ve always believed that it’s important to be clear aboutbeing yourself and to avoid copying others.I think most of the world’s leading DJs are quite distinctive in whatthey do.
3. For younger readers: remind us how you got the nickname ‘The Judge’?
The name Judge came along because I studied for a degree in law when I was 18-21. These days I’m actually a music lawyer as well as being a DJ, and have been for the last few years. It’s a bit of a strange combo, butwhat I do is advise DJs, producers, promoters and dance acts. The nickname actually came about much earlier on, when my mates started calling me the Judge after police turned up at a few of our parties and I was thrust out in front of the Old Bill to try and stop them closing our events down.
4. Your favourite place to play on planet Earth and why?
My Judgement Fridays in Ibiza. Ibiza is the mecca for people to forget about everything back home, and there’s something about that holiday vibe that makes Ibiza nights particularly memorable.
5. What was the first tune you released as Judge Jules and what will the next?
First tune, that’s an interesting one because for my first 10 years on Radio 1 I didn’t actually release many records under my own name because I thought there was a conflict of interests. I did play my own productions on the radio but they were released under different ‘nom de plumes’ because I believed that it’s one step too far in terms of self-promotion when you’re on the BBC – an entity where everything has to bedone extremely properly – and so, my initial releases were done under the names Hi-Gate and Angelic.
6. What do you do to relax?
Doing what I do (two jobs) there is little chill out time available, but I only get relaxation from being active and get fidgety and restless when I relax, which is weird but true.
7. How would you foresee the future of DJing and are you excited by it?
It seems to be rocking on very nicely with London and the UK as an epicentre. It’ll be interesting to see how the US goes in the next 18 months, because we’ve witnessed the much heralded United States EDM explosion with vast festivals and Vegas etc, but EDM as a genre seems to have hit the buffers in terms ofcreativity, becoming very stereotypical and formulaic now. It’ll be interesting to see if EDM proves to be the springboard for a lot more underground stuff pan-America and where it goes from here. Or whether mainstream America will move away from dance altogether? I don’t have the answer unfortunately, but I hope it’s the former rather than the latter.
8. Do you plan your DJ sets or knock them out on the fly?
I don’t plan exactly what I’m going to play but I put together my ballpark ‘box of tunes’ onto a memory stick. I don’t plan the order but I assemble about 30 tracks in advance, of which I’ll play about 20. You have to be a bitspontaneous though or you’ll lose the joy of DJing.
9. Have you ever considered writing a memoir?
Yes, but I since I’m a music lawyer during the week (albeit in the cooler side of the legal profession), I reckon that certain memories I’d need to include to make a memoir sound interesting might not tally too well with my legal status and professional gravitas.
10. The most air miles you ever clocked up in a week?
BA have got this website function where you can input your frequent flier status and find out how many airmiles you’ve flown on BA, and mine goes into many millions (on BA alone). As far as a single week is concerned I couldn’t say, but I’ve been to Australia for the weekend more than once so I’m sure those would be high on the scale.