Source : Pulse Radio

D’Julz: 4 Years Of Bass Culture

Lydia Laws, Newcastle – United Kingdom – 1 week, 4 days ago

D'Julz: 4 Years Of Bass Culture

Tourists may seek out the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and let’s not forget pain au chocolat, but for us, Paris is synonymous with the iconic scene of the Parisian Underground, the Rex Club, and of course, Parisian-born DJ D’Julz.

Respected worldwide for his contribution to house and techno, and an invaluable member of the renowned French music scene, D’Julz is responsible for Bass Culture, which takes place every month at Rex. Running since 1997, it’s the longest residency in Rex’s history, and it’s clear that what started out as almost a protest against the dominant French filter craze that was then sweeping through Paris has developed into so much more. As well as producing his own stellar sounds, not only has D’Julz been instrumental in the success of huge names such as Luciano and Loco Dice, but in 2009 he launched Bass Culture Records. Successful way beyond his expectations, he’s celebrating by releasing a compilation featuring the crème de la crème of the label to date, plus three fresh, unreleased tracks, including a collaboration with Cassy. This part-compilation, part-D’Julz Mix CD hybrid came out on the 24th of January.

I caught up with him to discuss the Bass Culture label turning 4-years-old, and to get the skinny on the last 17 years…


So, happy 4th year of the Bass Culture label! Thinking about what you set out to achieve with the label, how would you rate its success up until now? Have you achieved everything you wanted to? It was a very new adventure. I’m a beginner at running a label so it was a long learning process. With the market so very different now to what it was 4 years ago, you have to adapt really quickly to everything, but I think I managed that, and I’m really happy with the label so far. I didn’t have a master plan. It was like, “Okay, let’s try this and see where it goes,” and it was a very strong start. So far so good! I’m experimenting, and I’ve got the freedom to do what I want. What I’m really proud of is that in only 4 years I’ve managed to find the right artists to help me define the label’s sound. Some of the first names on the label were Alex Piccone, Anonym from Detroit, Franco Cinelli. They’ve released two or three EPs along the years and are doing so well now. They made the label what it is today, and I’m happy to see them grow. I also asked artists I was a fan of myself before I started DJing to get involved like Mr. G. Many people had forgotten how good a producer he was, so it’s great to see the label participating in resurrecting legendary producers like him. It was important for me to look forwards with newcomers, and I love discovering really talented and practically unknown artists, but also using my experience and knowledge to bring back older artists who I think still deserve to be around. Bass Culture is old school but not stuck in the past – I guess it’s what I do as a DJ too.

The night was hugely successful for 13 years before you launched the label. We’re curious – why wait so long? Initially, I was really focussing on my DJing and learning how to produce. The idea of running a label came later. I had a few big records out, my DJ career was doing really well, I had time to start something new, and the music coming out was really inspiring. I could see that the original house and techno sound was starting to come back. I contacted a few younger artists whose records I played a lot thinking, “Let’s see what music these guys send me, if it’s good enough why not start a label?” And they sent me bombs! I was happy that they knew me as a DJ, as when you start a label, shopping around for music is very hard. My name definitely helped me getting good music. I didn’t need to use it as a platform for my own music; for me it’s very hard to judge my own music. It’s hard being the A&R and the artist simultaneously, so it’s really made for other artists.

What’s the story behind you getting your own residency at Rex? I’d been DJing for 6 years in Paris, then started playing for some promoters who used to do raves back in the day when they started their own parties at Rex. Then two years later, the club decided to give the DJs involved their own residencies. Musically speaking, it happened right after there was an overdose of French filter disco, a sound I didn’t really recognise myself in. All the major companies wanted to create their own Daft Punk and I felt it was going in the wrong direction. It was time to show the crowd that there was something else in house other than disco loops. I wanted to bring back acid house and mix more Detroit techno with New York dub and Chicago stuff. Everyone knows this sound now, but back in ’97, especially in Paris, it was something really new. I was the first one to bring people like Kenny Hawkes, Luciano, Mathew Jonson, Cassy, Raresh, to Paris. I always had the freedom to bring newcomers, a lot of them becoming really big stars later. I’m grateful for Rex giving me that opportunity.

Paris is seen as such a romantic place. Do you think this romance translates into the music that we see released from there? It’s so hard to judge or define a sound when you’re born into it and live in it. I don’t have the perspective to explain what the Paris or French sound in particular is. Of course we are all influenced by surroundings; maybe if I moved to another city my sound would also change, who knows.

How did you pick the tracks for the compilation? The one thing I didn’t want to do was a ‘Best Of’ compilation with the biggest sellers or the most played tracks. For me it didn’t make sense. It wasn’t only a compilation of Bass Culture. I also wanted to do a D’Julz mix CD, ‘cause I haven’t done one for a long time. The mix had to have a really good flow, so I chose timeless tracks that made sense together but reflected the label’s different sides, between one and four years old, some unreleased. It starts deep then goes into housier vibes, then the end is definitely techier. It’s quite hard to put all those elements together in seventy minutes, so I did my best to make it flow. I hope I succeeded!

The mix includes a fresh unreleased track from you and Cassy. Tell us about it. Cassy and I have DJed a lot together, at Bass Culture, Panorama Bar, and as residents at Circoloco. We’ve a similar vibe, musically speaking, and have become great friends. We always talked about making music together. She now has her own night at Rex, and when she invited me to play there we played back to back all night long, which is something I’d never done before! I suggested she come a few days before the gig and we’d try and make some tracks together! I’d already worked on some instrumentals, and she’s a singer so I asked her to come up with some vocals, then we produced it together. We also worked on a more instrumental track that’s going to be the B Side. Basically we did an EP together, which is going to come out around Spring on Bass Culture, and I wanted to put one of the tracks on the compilation.

You gave Loco Dice his first gig in France; now look at him! What’s the story there? What was it that made you want be the first to bring him to France?  Continued in Part 2>>>

This is Bass Culture: 4 years of Bass Culture Records mixed by D’Julz is out now on Bass Culture Records. Order here: