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Interview: D’Julz talks ‘This is Bass Culture: Four Years of Bass Culture’

BY  • FEBRUARY 18, 2014 • 

Clubs and parties aren’t known for their long shelf lives. So when a club not only stays open for 15-plus years, but keeps a residency going and flourishing, it’s more than noteworthy. In the romantic capital of France, where a once prominent scene is in the process of a resurrection, one thing has remained constant since those glory days of the 90s– Rex Cluband it’s flagship night and residency, D’Julz‘s “Bass Culture” party.

That party and residency, Julien Veniel’s first, quickly rose and became a staple in Paris’ clubbing community. They introduced Parisian dancers to all sorts of international talents like Loco DiceJosh WinkDoc Martin and Cassy to name a few. A decade later, a music label was launched to supplement the Bass Culture movement by releasing music that represented the overall philosophy of the party, by the artists that were involved in making it such a success.

d-julz-this-is-bass-culture-mix-2013Enter Bass Culture Records. In 2009, BCR001was the vehicle for the debut release featuring two originals from Greek producer, Lemos and an accompanying remix from Arnaud Le Texier. Since then, the label has put out work fromJoel AlterAlex PiconeFranco CinelliMr. G,Jay TripwireChris CarrierDJ QUPhil Weeks,Ryan ElliotChez Damier and The Martinez Brothers among dozens more.

After building this reputable catalogue, Julien finally decided it was time to compile a couple handfuls of these releases that he felt best represented the past four years of Bass Culture Records, and in turn, the last decade-plus of the Bass Culture brand. Below, we have a chat that includes a bit of the history behind BC, how it is he put the compilation together, his preferences in the booth, and what his plans are for Conference in Miami next month.

Hello Julien, and welcome to mybeatFix. Thanks for taking the time to join us. Where are you writing to us from today? What does the rest of your day look like? 

So far so good. I’m in the Eurostar on my way to London where I play tonight. I should have time to stop by Phonica to buy a few records, then diner with friends, a quick disco nap and then it’s party time!

Before we get to the compilation– congratulations by the way– lets touch on the bigger picture of Bass Culture. It’s not just a record label you started, its also a party, brand, and I imagine, a lifestyle for those involved. What has Bass Culture meant to you over all these years? 

It started as my residency in Paris’ Rex Club years ago. It’s my only real residency and has become a second home along the years. I invite friends and DJs I want to share the decks with. It’s the place where I try new music and experiment before touring. The label shares the same name and philosophy, it’s an extension of my vision as a DJ.

I understand the night you have going at Rex is the longest running in the club’s history, starting off in 1997? What can you remember from those earlier years? Artists you were bringing? Tracks you remember playing? What was the sound like back then? 

Things go in circle, it’s funny to see that the music I play now is very similar to what I played when it started. Not necessarily by the same producers, but the main elements are the same. It’s deep house or techno and everything in between, but the groove and the bass are essential. Back then my regular guests would be Terry Francis, Doc Martin, Kenny Hawkes, Josh Wink. Some of them still play today along side Raresh, Delano Smith, Dan Bell, Sebo k and Cassy to name a few.

Stemming from that– I saw you play recently here in Miami at Behrouz’s Do Not Sit On The Furniture, and I noticed something that I’ve known about Behrouz and the people he associates with… traditional beat matching. Do you have a stance on the technological advances allowing people to start “DJing” without ever having to learn a fundamental like beat matching? 

To be honest the technology of syncing can be interesting for DJs who approach it like a semi live act, adding lots of loops and FX like Richie Hawtin for instance. Otherwise, I find it really boring. I personally would get bored if I didn’t have to beat match. It’s also my way to stay focused and emerge in what I do.

What are your favourite formats to play with? 

Vinyl and USB key. The best of both worlds in my opinion.

You decided to include a few new tracks with this revisitation of the archives.. A collab between Cassy and yourself, as well as Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie, and Chris Simmonds. Are any of those later artists new to the label? How’d these newer pieces make the cut?

It’s three very different scenarios. It ’s the first release of Cassy, but we have been friends for a long time and she always has supported the label. I’m a big fan of Chris Simonds since the late 90s. I decided  to reissue one my favorite EPs of his on BC. Mr. Tophat and Art Alfie are new producers from Sweden. I contacted them because I played all their releases on Karlovak. They sent me two bombs to put out so I was thrilled.

For those that haven’t had a listen yet, describe the mix to us in three words…

This Is Bassculture ;)

Now what? What can you share about the near future concerning the label and yourself? Any plans of returning to Miami for conference? 

Yeah, I just booked my hotel actually. I will be playing a Treehouse for the Ovum party and a few other parties TBA. Really looking forward to WMC!

 

Purchase D’Julz’s This is Bass Culture on now on Bass Culture Records.