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D’JULZ THE INTERVIEW

[Artists]

 

If the legendary Rex club in Paris is a veritable cathedral to electronic music, then D’Julz (born Julien Veniel) is surely one of its chief architects, high priests and shepherd all at once. Consider the facts. D’Julz’s monthly Bass Culture nights have now been running for the past 15 years (very few nightclubs in India survive that long, let alone a regular night). These parties have been tastemakers for an entire nation of French clubbers, featuring as eclectic a line-up as you could imagine.

In this time, D’Julz has added several feathers to his cap by moving beyond just being a DJ to producing music and in 2009 setting up a label named after the night. His own music has featured on some of the world’s finest labels, and his releases and remixes for the likes of Ovum, Circus Company, 20:20 Vision, Real Tone, Get Physical and Mobilee have all become essential weapons in the arsenal of the world’s DJ elite.

 

None of these responsibilities or accolades has dampened the enthusiasm of D’Julz who continues to travel the world, playing the finest dance floors and parties. His Bass Culture label continues to grow from strength to strength and this year he’s set to release the first-of-its kind Rex club compilation, celebrating a decade-and-a-half of the Bass Culture parties. In spite of a hectic touring schedule, D’Julz took the time out to chat with Hennessy Artistry India, reflecting on his journey so far and what’s in store for people who love live music in Bangalore. Check it out and be sure to turn up on Saturday for what looks like being one of the best weekend parties in Bangalore.

How would you describe a Bass Culture night at the Rex club in Paris to someone who’s never been there before?
It’s all about the music, no fuss. It’s just me and a carefully chosen guest who plays a three-hour set at the minimum and we usually end up playing back to back.
I always invite my favourite DJs, big-names and newcomers, trendy or non-trendy, it doesn’t really matter. What counts is their taste and their talent. Regular past guests have included Cassy, Raresh, Onur Ozer, Josh Wink, Steve Bug, Daniel Bell, Margaret Dygas and Praslea, to name a few.

Can you pick out a few memorable nights from the past 15 years?
So many amazing ones, but last year I had my first Bass Culture weekend with Cassy, Tobi Neumann and Dyed Soudorm where we ended up playing until 9am on Monday!

What was the lowest point of your time at Rex?
I remember a night ten years ago when we had to stop at 2am and evacuate the club because the fire alarm went off. It was a very frustrating experience.

Do you see any parallels to the Bass Culture nights at other clubs across the world?
It’s difficult to say as each night is different. But the common ground for great club nights is the importance of programming that is driven by passion and love of quality music no matter what people say or what the hype is. Trusting your guts is the only way to last.

Would it be accurate to say that Paris doesn’t have enough an underground clubbing culture?
For the past ten years, Rex was the only club with a good roster but since last year the scene is great again in Paris. There are lots of cool new parties and an enthusiastic crowd has emerged. It’s an exciting time for Parisians and I hope the rest of France will follow their lead.

Is there a difference between the ‘French’ sound you hear across the world, and the music you actually hear in French clubs? Do people still expect you to play this ‘sound’?
It used to be like this in the late ‘90s when the French sound started to get out there.  People expected me to play filter disco stuff all the time. Today, promoters are aware of who plays what thanks to the internet. There’s so much competition in Europe that you don’t get booked randomly any more, which is a good thing. If someone gets me a gig and expects me to play some David Guetta tunes, he should seriously think about changing professions.

What was it like moving from Paris to New York in the early ‘90s? 
The time I spent in New York had a huge influence on my career. I went there in ‘93, when I was a still a beginner.  The scene was at its peak so I was lucky to have the opportunity to regularly visit, what remains to my eyes, the last legendary club: Sound Factory which later became Twilo.

The past few years have featured plenty of cross pollination between genres. Has this influenced your own sound in any way?
I never jumped on any bandwagon since the beginning but unless you live in a cave in Siberia, it’s difficult not to be influenced by the music that surrounds you. However, I stay firmly rooted in house and techno and I move the cursor from one to the other depending of my mood and the music I receive, of course. Right now, the cycles in trend are so short that it is hard to predict what comes next. Styles have the tendency to superimpose and today, electro and pop-oriented stuff is at the forefront of the ‘new’ sound. At the same time, old school deep house and dub techno are still very strong. These days people have an incredible amount of choice. I hate it when one style invades everything for years. It’s usually very uncreative and uninspiring.  Hopefully, it won’t happen again.

What has your experience playing in India been like and what can clubbers expect on Saturday?
I’ve played twice in Mumbai and once in Goa to really open crowds so I’m really looking forward to explore what weekend parties in Bangalore are like, especially on the dance floor. Expect a smattering of deep house, tech house and techno but of course, every night is different, and I will go with the flow.

 

 



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