Hot In Press / May 2015 | INTERVIEW D’JULZ : “Rex Club is like my own personal laboratory”

February 10, 2016

Source : Cue & Play

INTERVIEW D’JULZ : “Rex Club is like my own personal laboratory”


Whether it is through his productions, radio shows, compilations, parties, club set or his labelBass Culture, D’Julz has been at the forefront of electronic music since his career first began back in 1992. A firm DJ and a favourite alike, his ability to transcend genres and trends has seen him hold one of the most consistent levels of success of any modern day DJ/Producer. A run of form that is at its strongest, today. Cue&Play had the opportunity to have a little chat with Julien Veniel, about his upcoming EP for the very first release of Rex Club Music label, about what pushed him toward a DJ career and about his participation in the Weather Festival 2015, in Paris.

C&P : Hi D’Julz. So, first things first, can you introduce yourself to our readers? Some of them may not know you yet.

D’Julz : I’m D’Julz, Dee-Julz for our Anglo-Saxon friends. I’ve been a DJ for many years, almost 24 years by now. What else? I’m a producer, the manager of the Bass Culture record label and I’ve been a resident for the Rex Club in Paris for something like 17 or 18 years now.

C&P : A 24 year-long career is quite something in the DJing business. It would be interesting to look back on your professional experience. How did you discover electronic music and what spurred you to produce your own?

D’Julz : I really discovered electronic music on the dance floor when I started clubbing. I must have been 18 or 19 years old and, at that time, house music was breaking through in France. For me, it was a true musical shock.
I was discovering the Parisian nightlife through the first raves and clubs and simultaneously a brand new form of music! It was like being woken up by a big smack in the face.
I’ve always loved and listened to loads of music. However, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a DJ myself, let alone a musician. But I had a revelation through techno and house music. First and foremost as a clubber/raver and as I got more and more interested in this music, I started discussing with DJs during parties, and buying my own records. Then, alone at home, I began to play, recorded my sets on tape and gave them to some friends who were DJs themselves, such as Guillaume La Tortue, Jérôme Pacman and a few others.
Soon they started to invite me to play at their parties. At that time, there were more and more parties and only a few DJs who played House music so I had to learn my future job in front of an audience. But I couldn’t make a living out of it so it was an all-consuming passion during the first five years, from 1992 to 1997. I was about to finish my studies, I had a job in line and I still wasn’t considering DJing as a career. It’s the DJ profession that chose me more than I chose it: more and more people were asking me to play so I had to make a choice. I decided to quit my previous job – I was a copywriter in advertisement, to fully dedicate myself to music. That’s also when I started producing, around 1998-1999.

C&P : Speaking of producing, we were pleasantly surprised by the recent announcement about the creation of the Rex Club Music label. For the very first release, you were in charge with Phil Weeks. What was the challenge for the “Second Hand Smoke” EP?

D’Julz : Regarding the stakes behind this release, you’d better ask the question directly to Rex Club (laughs). I think they waited a very long time to build up their own imprint. But it’s a nice project, with some very promising upcoming releases. The label has to be representative of the club’s sound and its spectrum is pretty wide: from techno to house and sometimes Drum’n’Bass. The real challenge will be to successfully represent all these different forms while keeping it coherent. Molly is in charge and she has a musical culture as open as her mind, so she has what it takes. Concerning the very first release, we’re really honored to be a part of it. We have had a residency at Rex Club for many years and I have the feeling that it was important for Rex Club Music to start with local artists. I know the next release will showcase Fred P, so the label will be opened to the foreign scene.
For the “Second Hand Smoke” Ep, I had a project in progress with Phil, but we didn’t know on which label we should release it. One thing was crystal clear: we didn’t want it for our own labels (Robsoul and Bass Culture) because we wanted to make something different. Rex’s offer came at this time and we already had the first track ready. We immediately thought “let’s send it”. Their staff liked it and everything went naturally in the end.

C&P : So, how did it go in studio with Phil Weeks?

D’Julz : It went very well, even if we have quite a different way of working. Phil is really fond of analogue machines. He almost exclusively works with the MPC. It’s a very old fashioned sound, with tons of samples. We also used the 909 and 303. We worked at his place, did things his way, and then I reworked the arrangements at my place. It was kind of like a jam-session, you know. I came with my sounds and some stuff to sample, and we started with that very spontaneously, and the first track was completed very quickly. We needed a bit more time to finalize the others because we had been touring a lot during the summer. All in all, it went very smoothly between the two of us, it was like a game, an exchange with no pressure. I hope that people will feel this spontaneity on the EP.

C&P : How would you define your relationship with the Rex Club?

D’Julz : It’s my second home. I have mixed at a lot of clubs all over the world, some of them I’ve played at for more than ten years – like Fabric, in London – or for more than five years – like theDC10 in Ibiza. There are a lot of places where I’m used to mix, but my REAL residency has always been at Rex Club. It’s the only place where I choose the line up, where I host the party. It’s a radically different approach. Rex Club is like my own personal laboratory. I developed my skills there. Also, the set up is ideal: the sound system is great, there’s always a connoisseuraudience, the staff is amazing and there’s a true family spirit.

C&P : After nearly 25 years of career, what is you impression on the techno/house scene evolution? How did the French scene evolve since the 90’s?

D’Julz : There were cycles, in France and abroad. Lots of big cities experienced some very distinct periods, in terms of music and parties. Then it calmed down, only to come back even stronger. Paris was no exception to the rule. Between 1990 and 1992, it was mind-blowing and after that golden age it all calmed down. It burst again with the French Touch, and then a hollow gap between 2003 and 2011, there wasn’t much choice except from Rex Club and two or three other addresses.
And for 3 or 4 years now, it has been totally insane! I never knew Paris or even France like that. Many foreign DJs say that Paris has some of the best venues to play. When you’ve been part of the scene since the beginning, witnessing such an explosion with a new generation full of energy is absolutely fantastic!

C&P : You are a DJ, Producer, promoter for the Bass culture parties, you run the eponym label and you still manage to squeeze in some time to play abroad. Are 24 hours a day long enough for all of your activities? And what role do you enjoy the most? 

D’Julz : (laughs) 24h are obviously not enough. I would like to have far longer days. But that’s not an option, so I have to make choices. When I have to play several times a week, I spend less time in studio. And when I run the label, it’s the same. It requires a lot of organization. But if I had to choose one role, one thing that I would like to do like I was doing at the beginning, it would be DJing. I sometimes feel nostalgic about the times when I could spend my entire day digging records, mixing and recording my sets.
But that’s not possible anymore, I have lots of things to do, which I take pleasure doing, but these things impinge on my real DJ pleasure. Once again, that requires a lot of organization.

C&P : Your DJ tag will be tried and tested on a big rendez-vous. You are going to play at Weather Festival Paris in June. Do you have a different approach when you play with so many headliners than when you play at a more classic gig?

D’Julz : For sure! Each festival or party with a huge line-up is very different from a residency at Rex Club for example. A festival set is by definition is different than a club set. I’m really glad to be part of it once again. I had the chance to play during the first edition, which has been a milestone of the French scene revival. It remains an excellent memory and the 2015 edition should be phenomenal. It has been a real pleasure to be booked. Moreover, I don’t know if I can make the announcement yet, but I’m closing the Summer scene. So I’ll play alongside Floorplan (Robert Hood) and Lil Louis, to name only two of them. It’s gonna be fantastic. I’m looking forward to it and I’m starting to feel a bit nervous actually. But it’s a good excitement, a good stage fright. I love it. I’m not bored at all, and to keep being good at what you do, you have to keep this excitement. If you’re bored because you think you’ve already done all the best clubs, festivals, cities and that you feel like you have nothing left to prove, you won’t do a good performance.

D’Julz will be playing alongside Phil Weeks and Trus’Me for the Rex Club Music launchparty, held in the Rex Club of course, the 9th May. He will also play his records during the Half Baked x Lola Ed in Barcelona, on the 21th June.