Djebali: “Music has no limits”

Posted: 10/12/13 9:04

Djebali: “Music has no limits”DJ, producer, label owner, promoter… In these days of 360business beats, Djebali ticks all the boxes. What’s more, he seems to do them pretty well. A vinyl traditionalist, a hardware evangelist and a man who knows his house and techno like his fellow countrymen know their wine, since becoming inspired by the likes of Dan Ghenacia in the early noughties, he’s entrenched himself in all aspects of club culture.

Looking back over his best year to date – a year that saw him develop his labels ( djebali ) presents and ( djebali ) reworks to entirely new levels, tour Asia and become one of the most consistent, demonstrative DJs at Circoloco – he’s in a pretty good place right now. Paris, to be precise. We gave him a call…

Hey Djebali. How’s life?
Great thanks! Goes real fast in fact, it’s almost Christmas and I feel like it was the end of the summer season in Ibiza just few weeks ago!

Where are you right now? And what are you listening to?
I’m in my studio in Paris. I’m listening to a loop I made on a low volume, to see if after answering this interview I’m still into the loop or if it’s boring at the end …

You’re generating respect as a DJ, producer and label owner: which role do you take most pleasure from?
Thanks, actually I take pleasure in all the roles, but it’s a different feeling… I started as a DJ which I’ve always loved, playing on stage with a crowd in front of you is special, really powerful, it’s a lot of sensations… It can be quite mad! As a producer it’s more a quiet thing, I love to spend hours and hours, playing with all the stuff I have in the studio, I could never get bored of it! And as a label owner… well that’s keeping me busy with the two new projects: ( djebali )presents and ( djebali ) Reworks. It was a good feeling to see Mr KS, the debut (djebali ) Presents EP, get such good reactions.

Which role do you think you’ve most succeeded in to date?
All of them I hope! Nowadays DJing and producing are totally connected. I mean it’s hard to be successful as a DJ without producing. So let’s say for the moment I succeeded best as a producer as all my releases on the ( djebali ) label have sold out, and I’ve been playing more and more as the label has grown.

 ( djebali )

Of course you’re also a promoter. Please tell me about Ideal Juice…
Ideal Juice is my party at Social Club in Paris and I’m more of the curator rather than the promoter… I just invite the guests artists to come and play with me. I’ve had some amazing names already likeThe MoleChristian BurkhardtdOP, and Premiesku for their album launch on Desolat earlier this year. So, as you can see, a lot of live acts! Keep your eyes peeled the sixth Ideal Juice coming up in 2014!

What is your personal ideal juice? (Mine’s a gin & tonic!)
Depends on the hour actually ahahha. Let’s say the classic vodka lemon.

Paris is home to some legendary parties – I’ve experienced the Batofar and Rex at their best and know this fact very well… What are the challenges promoters in the French capital?
Well, there are a lot of new parties in Paris which is good news! It means there is a crowd for our music… so the challenge is more to bring a nice vibe and atmosphere into the club, as there are a lot of great parties with super line-ups on same night in Paris. I’m really thankful because Ideal Juice mixes younger and older people, and it’s working really well.

( djebali ) The label, is doing well, yes? Tell me about its ethos and concepts…
Yes I’m really happy about that and want to thank all the people who are buying the vinyl and supporting me! The concept is really simple: I wanted to release my music really as fast as possible, as it represents what I’m feeling at that moment. So if my track is released one year and a half later (which can be the case when you go to other labels to release it) it’s meaningless for me! I decided to start my own label ( djebali ) to release my music so I can drop it like it’s hot. That’s why it’s only my music on the label. I don’t have any specific artistic direction for it, I just release my music when I want and when I have something to say, whatever the musical hype!

Interview with Djebali
Why vinyl-only? Don’t you feel you might reach out to a wider audience with digital as well?
Vinyl-only was the first decision without any hesitation. My first loves were on vinyl and when I started ( djebali ) in 2011, vinyl was dying. At this time there were (like today still) too much digital and I didn’t want to be flooded in it. So vinyl-only was a way to be something different.

Vinyl-only status comes hand-in-hand with your love for strict analogue hardware, right? Tell me about your studio set up…
Yes exactly! Actually I use Protools but just as a recorder. The centre of my studio is 2 old MPCs (3000 and 2000xl) and they control all the other modules : Roland SH101 and SH09 and Juno 60, other rack expanders like E-mu or old Waldorfs. I also use a lot of external effects like Lexicon Reverbs, some compressors and filters, multi-fxs… and of course some secrets gears.

What are you making right now on your hardware?
I am working on ( djebali 08 ) It’s a work in progress and I am taking my time!

And what releases do you have coming up in the coming months/new year?
I’ve made few remixes. The most recent release was a remix forTurquoise Blue label, the original tracks are from my friends Javier Carballo and MAM. There is also a remix from my mate Adam Shelton. Other remixes coming out soon: I have one for Chris Carrier on his infamous Adult Only label, it’s one track from him, my remix, and then a collab we made together. Then a remix of Tripmastaz for brand new Russian label Gipsy Music (Gipsy is well know for their parties!) and, finally, I’ve just finished a remix for the French label Popcorn Music. And a BIG one coming out early 2014 is a remix from Point G of my track “Reputation” that was released digitally back in 2011. This time it’s vinyl-only.

Tell me about ( djebali ) Reworks…
( djebali ) Reworks is simple: I ask my friends to remix a track of their choice from the ( djebali ) back catalogue! Reworks 01 includes a remix from Christian Burkhardt of “This Ultimate Dare” and a remix from Hreno and The Mole of “Sun Rise Way”. They’re coming out at the beginning of December so be ready. Just like the ( djebali ) releases; vinyl-only and only a limited quantity!  I’ve already got a bomb remix from John Dimas of ‘Urban Posture’ and a few other great artists already confirmed…

How does it feel to receive interpretations of your own work?
It’s actually really interesting to have the point of view of another artist with the same elements. And when you listen to the interpretations, you feel like ‘yeah these elements work together in that way, this is a good idea!’ So it’s inspiring me more and more. It confirms that music has no limits.

Have you ever experienced a remix of one of your tracks that you feel is better than your own production?
It can never be better or worse, it’s just another proposition. It can be harder, deeper or more emotional, but it’s hard to say this one is better. It really depends on the point of view, music is subjective after all.

Finally, as we’re coming up to the end of the year… Please tell me three of the very best things to happen to you in 2013.
Well I’ll say my first trip to Asia to play in Tokyo’s infamous Womb club. I was received so well and enjoyed it so much! Also I spent the summer season living in Ibiza with my friends from Apollonia. Always amazing to spend time with friends, and in a great place like Ibiza with gigs atCircoloco etc… it was a superb summer!

To finish, I’ll say the birth of ( djebali ) Reworks and ( djebali ) Presents. These represent the growing development of my work and the label. These weren’t planned ahead, it all happened really naturally and I’m so happy about that. Fingers crossed for the future!

Coming 11th December: ( djebali ) Reworks 01 inc. Christian Burkhardt and Hreno & The Mole
January 2014: Point G remix ‘Reputation’ – white label

Djebali Online