Filed under: Interview
Superstar, promoter and resident at one of the busiest nights on the island, Radio 1’s legendary dance music jock, Judge Jules is back for another summer in Ibiza. Judgement Sunday, the event he runs at Eden in San Antonio is one of the highlights for a typical week in Ibiza with a largely British crowd flocking to get down with a man who wets their whistle for a night out every Saturday evening back in the UK on his Radio 1 show. This year he’s hoping to spend even more time in Ibiza, especially as he’s just bought fine San Antonio eatery, Kasbah.
Higher Frequency catches up with Jules for a chat about what he’s serving up in Ibiza 2004.
Interview by Matt Cheetham (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : What are your plans for summer 2004 in Ibiza?
Judge Jules : In terms of our club night (Judgement Sunday @ Eden) its been running for 5 years now so there’s not much change on what’s going on there, the only change really has been to put more emphasis on the back room and make sure that functions really well and give people a clear choice of music. Before it was a secondary thing but now it’s a significant part of what we do, and I play a set in both rooms. The DJ’s we’re using are the same, Ferry Corsten is playing 6 times here during the summer, exclusively for us. Eddie Halliwell is the co-resident with me so there not a great deal that needs improving because the atmosphere is really good. Then the other major focus is what we’re doing here with the restaurant, Kasbah in San Antonio, which is going really well and is something we’ve always wanted to do. We’ve got a really nice sunset spot, which is difficult to get in Ibiza.
HRFQ : How do you feel about another summer here? do you ever get tired of coming back here?
JJ : No not at all, I love it here. I did go through a period of thinking I could live here all year round but I don’t think that now because there are 3 or 4 months a year that are quite depressing in winter. Its quiet, its cold, not compared to England, but its damp. In summer though, and take it from someone who gets to visit just about every resort that appeals to British people in my DJ’ing capacity, its certainly unique.
HRFQ : Why did you choose Eden for Judgement Sundays?
JJ : While my crowd base isn’t exclusively English in amongst the key national groups who come to Ibiza, (the biggest being Spanish, second English, third German, fourth, joint French and Italian) I don’t really play much in Germany, France or Italy. I do play a lot in Spain, ironically but unfortunately for the Spanish Ibiza is seen as quite an up market destination and it doesn’t generally attract the same kind of clubbers who go to Spanish trance events, so of the people who come to Ibiza, our market is English and we therefore decided to do Eden. (Most young British clubbers stay in the San Antonio area). It went further than that actually as I was involved in the design of Eden when it was redeveloped. It used to be a club called the star club that was just on one level and they reconstructed it, added an extra floor and totally redesigned it and I was very much part of the consultation process with the DJ box and overall appearance of the club. Bearing that in mind it made complete sense to get involved and do our night there.
HRFQ : How do you choose guest DJ’s for your events?
JJ : Most of the guest DJ’s have been doing it for a while, basically DJ’s that work well who are friends of ours. Tonight, Ferry is someone we know really well, Eddie Halliwell is someone else I know very well. Just DJ’s who I respect professionally and are good friends personally.
HRFQ : Some other clubs have been to Ibiza and failed here, what do you think is the secret for a successful night here?
JJ : I don’t think there’s a market for many more clubs, we’ve been here for 5 years and a lot of clubs came, tried it once and didn’t succeed because they were very reliant on having the right DJ’s. Obviously it’s my night and I’m resident, which gives it a bit of a head start because I’m there every week. Cream works well because they’ve got Tiesto and Paul Van Dyk every week, sometimes both and if you’ve got the 2 biggest DJ’s in the world you’re going to get a massive crowd. So DJ’s do count for a lot but it also becomes a self fulfilling prophecy that once your night works, the minute you come on the peoples essential itinerary for Ibiza then providing you don’t fuck up and not deliver the goods it makes it very difficult for people promoting nights at the same venue. All the clubs in Ibiza have good and bad nights, Space is busy on Sundays but isn’t busy a lot of the other days of the week, privilege is busy on Mondays but isn’t busy for most other nights except for a few weeks in August. Eden is busy on Sundays
HRFQ : What event are you most looking forward to this summer?
JJ : I’m a recovering addict; I take one week at a time!! (Joke) I love the festivals, our night in Ibiza, if it could last 52 weeks a year I’d be a very happy fella but that’ll never be the case because we’re talking a summer market. We’ve still got the festivals this summer as well, I did Homelands and we’ve got Global Gathering and Creamfields being the other 2 main ones and then there are some of the smaller events. I’ve got an event in Germany I’m doing called Dance Valley, I’m doing the Tidy Weekender (in UK), which is a smaller event, but they’re fun because when you’re playing to a large auditorium you’re forced to be a little more conservative with your choice of music, but at the same time the thrill of playing to a huge really revved up crowd isn’t something you get at weekly events.
HRFQ : Have you been to any other events on the island yet?
JJ : I haven’t no, my wife, Amanda, is nearly 7 months pregnant and she can’t go out so its not really fair for me to be shooting off. I will do by the end of this summer. Also my son’s 5 and starts school this year and he doesn’t finish school until the 16th July so after that we’ll be here for longer. I’m here for 3 days this week, last week I was only here for a day. I’m also playing a lot of other resort dates around Europe.
HRFQ : Why do you think all this happened in Ibiza instead of somewhere else?
JJ : I think the Spanish are very tolerant of drugs, of partying, they accept it’s an integral part of what makes their tourism appealing. Its got such a wide range of different options, its got the family resorts, its got the more youth orientated options such as here so its unlikely that it would have happened outside the confines of Spain and I think what happened was a slow evolution towards a club based culture. I think its one of the only islands where you can come as a spotless 18 year old or a multi millionaire by private jet. Its one of the only resorts in Europe that extends it hands to every level of the social scale and all these people go out clubbing together so there’s kind of a great equalizer about it. Whereas if you compare it to like Benidorm or other resorts, they tend to be either up market or very tourist orientated.
HRFQ : What influence did the scene here have on the emergence of dance music in the UK?
JJ : I think the dance scene in the UK would have happened anyway. People will suggest that Nicky Holloway, Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling came here and discovered acid house and took it back to the UK. I personally think it would have happened anyway, the records were there, it coincided with the appearance of some groundbreaking records and E (ecstasy) in Britain. What Ibiza has done over the years is to propagate the hit records that are played in the clubs but probably even more significantly in the bars because there’s a more subliminal performance aspect of it being played in a bar and come September through to November when those records are released in the UK and in Europe in general they go on to be hits so that its role in a global sense, as a propagator of dance music hits.
HRFQ : How do you think the island’s changed from the early days?
JJ : I think a lot of its still the same, the key clubs are still here, I mean there’s a couple of new ones like Eden but the international aspect is still here. A couple of years ago the clubs were all much busier but the people that the island has lost, which is probably about a quarter to a third, are just people who watched Ibiza Uncovered, and came because it was fickle to come here. Now you’re getting a lot more cool people and generally, especially in the British clubs, not too many larger louts, which is what makes Ibiza strong really, it’s a magnet for cool and funky people.
HRFQ : Do you think the increasing expense of a holiday here will eventually encourage people to go somewhere else?
JJ : If you take clubbing out of the equation I really don’t think Ibiza is that expensive. I don’t think a decent restaurant here is any more expensive than it is in the other key resorts. Clubbing and drinks are expensive but then I don’t remember them not being expensive. I think when the Euro came in, as was the problem in many European countries prices got rounded up which in the case of Spain equated to a massive increase in prices. If you want to go and have an English cooked breakfast it costs about 5 Euros, which isn’t bad. I’ve been in travel agents in the UK and seen people talking about Ibiza and travel agents selling holidays in Ibiza as being expensive, it does have a reputation for being expensive, undoubtedly, but like I said I think if you take clubbing out of the equation it really isn’t the case. In the UK you pay around 50 quid for a festival for a massive lineup of DJ’s, here its about 35 Euros, about 25 quid and you get a much better lineup of DJ’s than you get at home so up to a point its like any form of entertainment if there’s a lot of bands on the bill then you pay more than if there was only 1.
HRFQ : Do you think Ibiza is at its peak now or do you think it’ll continue to grow?
JJ : I think Ibiza’s just stable really, I don’t think it needs to grow anymore and although some individuals pockets were very lined a few years ago when it was really busy it was very unpleasant being here. A lot of that in the English market was down to a TV programme called Ibiza Uncovered and that filled the clubs with a load of bare chest football lads but now its back to where its comfortable and pleasant.
HRFQ : I heard you’re working on an artist album at the moment, you’ve been doing remixes since you started so why did you decide to do the artist album now?
JJ : Well I did release an album last year under the artist name Highgate, which was mainly chill out music because I wanted to do an album of different stuff that would surprise people. This year I’m doing an artist album on my own of dance related stuff I haven’t done lots of remixes over the last 5 years, only about 2 or 3 a year. I get offered quite a lot of remixes but when I’ve only got limited time to spend in the studio and I’m not financially forced to accept remixes. I’m a DJ first and a music maker second and so I can afford to just do a few remixes and make them tracks to be proud of.
HRFQ : Are you working by yourself on the album?
JJ : No I’ve got a few collaborations, I’m doing one with a guy called Michael Woods and his sister Marcella Woods who’s a singer and has had quite a few hit records. Another one with some guys called Jamix and De Leon from Germany which has been kind of correspondence course collaboration in that we haven’t done any of it together we’ve just sent the parts to each other.
HRFQ : Is there anyone you’d like to work with in the future?
JJ : would like to work with other DJ’s I get on well with but one has to be realistic and understand that the likelihood of me and my other DJ friends being in the same place at the same time is pretty limited. There are only so many remixes you can do by correspondence and describe them as a truly collaborative effort.
HRFQ : hat are your plans for the rest of this year?
JJ : In September my baby is due and that’s the focal point of my mind, then at Christmas I’m going to tour around Australia then at some point in the near future we want to start a clothing range. I’ve already got some money put aside so it’s just a case of getting some time to do it.
HRFQ : Can you just tell us your top 5 Ibiza tracks this summer?
1. Kompresser – ‘Back ‘ (White Label)
2. Moonrush – ‘Risky Business’ (White Label)
3. Dogzilla – ‘Your Eyes ‘ (White Label)
4. Shuffle Royale – ‘Escade ‘ (Skywarp)
5. Marco V vs Jens- ‘Loops & Tings’ (Judge Jules re-edit)
End of the interview
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