Music Q&A:
Judge Jules

In a three-decade career, the DJ has been instrumental in the story of Gatecrasher and plays events in Sheffield on 20-21 October to mark the 24th birthday celebration of the famous club

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How have you evolved as a DJ over the years?
I think that it is important to remember that you must allow your audience and fan base to evolve with you. Most DJs will naturally develop their sound and style over the course of their career, but you can’t simply change your sound overnight; I’ve seen several DJs attempt this and it has been a disaster for them – a fatal career mistake. If you allow your fan base to grow with you, the evolution will be a lot smoother.

What’s your record to get any dancefloor going?
That’s obviously a very difficult one, but Zombie Nation by Kernkraft 400 has always worked for me. It seems to inspire terrace-like ritualistic chanting from crowds who will sing along every time – the ultimate crowd interaction that all DJs are looking for.

Any record that unfortunately cleared it?
Plenty, but that’s par for the course when the nature of your job is curating and testing new music. It’s often the case that a song which sounds great at home doesn’t quite hit the spot on a big club system – but then you can never tell until you try it. This works the other way too – a song which you dismiss at home can be a huge crowd-pleaser in a club environment!

Some say club culture is dying. What do you think?
The same number of people still go out, the only difference now is that city centre bars have much later licences than they historically did. In some towns they’ve eaten into the nightclub industry’s USP. Bars frequently provide many of the same amenities: a DJ, late closing, dancefloor, etc. However, I wouldn’t want to overplay the effect on nightclubs too much, as they remain central to the lifestyle of young Britain.

You’re playing the Gatecrasher Classical event to celebrate the brand’s 24th birthday – what is your favourite memory of Gatecrasher from those 24 years?
There have been plenty, but one which stands out was on my birthday one year when the music was cut and the whole 1,500-capacity club spontaneously sang Happy Birthday to me. As someone who actively avoids any fuss or recognition around birthdays, this wasn’t something that I instigated or asked for – but a lovely moment nonetheless.

What are you up to at the moment?
Plenty. I’m working on new music for the label, a compilation album and even a live show, which is starting to take shape. Alongside all that, I work as a music lawyer during the week and play gigs every weekend.

What’s on your rider?
I find it funny seeing the huge amount of waste and leftovers when you’re playing with other DJs who have almost diva-like riders – sandwiches without corners, fruit bowls, etc. As a result, I take a moral standpoint of making sure that my rider requests what I actually need: mineral waters, a bottle of vodka and some mixers – definitely no orange M&Ms.

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