Monday, 10 November 2008

DJ Yousef Interview

Radio 1 asked it's listeners to vote for their House Rules club of the year. They voted in their thousands and Club Circus in Liverpool took the number one spot. We caught up with DJ Yousef, it's resident and promoter to find out more.

Club Circus is only two years old yet it has won Radio 1's House Rules Club of The Year. Did you expect to win?

Its a bit of an odd one, really. We are such a small team that it seems really strange that bigger clubs with a whole office of staff didn't even get in the running. But maybe we should have won it from that point of view because we are such a small group of people and everyone puts so much effort into it. There's blood sweat and tears to get it together, and it is such a great party!

What do you think has made it so successful?

Musically, we pay such a lot of attention to the people on the dance floor and we really value their opinions. It's not a case of, if someone wants to see a DJ, we will get them - but at the same time, I made a hit list just before we opened Circus two years ago, and every single DJ on that list we've booked, which is brilliant.

Last year we ran a DJ competition, and the girl who won is doing really well with gigs in Liverpool and Manchester so that's great to watch too.

Tell us more about the Ian Brown remix, 'Time Is My Everything' which Pete Tong keeps talking about.

Pete Tong has played it 4 weeks in a row now as his 'Essential Tune' on Radio 1. At the moment, it might come off, but it might not. I've got a copy, Pete Tong's got a copy and that's about the size of it!

It's a track that I personally really, really like and I just got hold of the original, took it into the studio and came back four hours later with that. So it's just crazy that one of the tracks that took me the least amount of time, is doing really well, but that's the way it goes.

I'm glad people are appreciating it, especially Pete. To me it's good music, good fun and if it ever comes out great, but if it doesn't I'm still really chuffed. I'm expecting feedback from Ian Brown at the end of the week actually, so I am a bit nervous about that. For any record to get played as Pete Tong's Essential New Tune is a really a big deal, so hopefully Ian will like it, but he's been in New York, so who knows?

You are a bit of a Genesis fan. Which other bands do you like?

I've loved Genesis since I was about 8 or 9. Actually, I did a mini-mix for one of Annie Macs' shows on Radio 1 on a Thursday night. You have five minutes to squeeze in as many records as you can, so I just put in records like Prince, Tears for Fears, Lenny Kravitz, Public Enemy, Neneh Cherry; a real random mix and I didn't actually put any house music in there at all. I just like good music that says something generally. It doesn't have to be house music.

What inspired you to be a DJ?

I was just always into music. I didn't even realise until recently how much I was into music as a kid. I was always into things like break dancing, hip hop culture, the big beat box on my shoulder. It went from hip hop to acid house, to house music to the sugar club scene. I've just followed it every step of the way.

I really got into dance music after I saw the Prodigy at Shelley's in Stoke when I was 15 or 16. It was amazing and I remember just standing there, with Keith Flint just two feet away from me. It was mind blowing.

I'd never been to an all night club, and I was in strange city, listening to the Prodigy, and the funny thing is, I didn't come home until Tuesday!

Have you any more shows planned at Radio1?

No, I think my time on Radio 1 has finished. We both concluded that I wasn't into what they were about, and they weren't into what I was about. There's no animosity or anything, it's just that it takes a lot of time to do a show, and for someone who's pretty inexperienced, I had to put an extra day in to make sure it was all correct, when I could be working in the studio, making music.

Someone said to me once, you can be on the radio for 2 hours and it's gone, but you can make music and be on the radio for ever. So I think I'll stick to making music!

What's the best thing about living in Liverpool?

Probably the beach. I live less than thirty seconds away from the beach and it's just really nice. The city and the people are very friendly too, but the main reason I love it so much is that it's home, and I really appreciate it.

Where would you like to DJ that you haven't?

Id love to DJ in Cuba, or I think anywhere that is a good party. I love DJing in the sunshine, but on the opposite end of the scale, I'd like to DJ in outer space! That'd be amazing; but I'm quite happy DJing anywhere that's sunny with a great group of people, that's into the sort of music that I like.

Music downloads - friend or foe?

Friend. With music downloads people can download your music all over the world. It's cool in my books but then it's also putting some people out of a job. But you've got to reposition yourself and use it as a different tool, as opposed to working against it.

How do you chill out?

Generally, walking down the beach, doing nothing and watching those stupid property programmes. I'm hooked, so hooked it's ridiculous! In fact, even to the point where I've developed a crush on one of the hosts - Sarah Beaney, so I think I have to stop watching them!

Rachael Hannan: Interview 2005

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