Interview: Legendary DJ Judge Jules talks juggling hats, dance music, Dreamstate and more
Ryan Dinham via Artiste Management

Internationally-renowned DJ-producer Judge Jules is, quite simply, a living legend in the dance/trance/house music scene. Jules began spinning records in 1987 and quickly climbed the radio show ranks, first at KISS FM, then with his wildly popular show on BBC Radio 1. Now, the beloved UK native's critically-acclaimed internationally-syndicated show The Global Warm Up is broadcast on over 70 stations around the world and attracts listeners from all over the globe.

In a career spanning three decades, Judge Jules has played countless international gigs in places like Australia, Amsterdam, Ireland, and his native UK. His 16-season Judgement residency in Ibiza has made an island club-scene fixture. He’s received many awards and accolades throughout his prolific career including being named No. 1 DJ in the World in the Mixmag Readers Poll, Best International DJ (Dancestar Awards), Best DJ (Muzik Awards) and ranked at No. 3 in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs poll in 2000.

The multi-talented entertainment master wears multiple hats as a DJ, producer, and entertainment lawyer. He’s released countless mixes and compilations for labels like Ministry of Sound, Universal and Warner Bros. Last year, Jules launched his own record label, Judgement Recordings.

Jules’ most recent mix, “Dimensions,” dropped on Oct. 30 (You can listen to a preview clip of it below). After touring abroad extensively this year, Jules will travel across The Pond to perform a classics set at the iconic trance festival, Dreamstate SoCal, in San Bernadino, California on Nov. 25. He recently connected with AXS via email to discuss his busy year, his prolific career and his upcoming Dreamstate live set in the following exclusive Q & A interview below.

AXS: It looks like 2017 has been a busy, globe-trotting year for you. What (and where) has been your favorite gig you’ve played this year and what made it a standout?

Judge Jules: One of the standout gigs for me this year was in Darwin, Australia. I headed over to play the Summer Session Festival, which is a huge open-air event in the Northern Territory of Australia – famed for its huge crocodiles! During my set, I couldn’t stop myself from repeatedly wondering what would happen if one of those monster reptiles decided to join the thousands on the dancefloor. It was very distracting.

AXS: You have an incredible background as a radio host, DJ, producer, and an entertainment lawyer. Which profession has been your favorite and how do you manage to juggle multiple hats and maintain a balance?

JJ: I suppose you have to divide the radio host, DJ and Producer on the one side, and music lawyer on the other, into two groups. Despite that distinction, although they might appear fundamentally different, these different roles are in fact much more connected than one might imagine. Both rely on my lengthy and wide-ranging music industry experience. In the DJ/Producer role one is more focused on one’s own artistic development and progression, whereas in the lawyer role it’s one’s responsibility to help, guide and focus on others. I enjoy wearing both hats equally and each complements the other, creating a natural balance.

AXS: You’ve been in the dance music/club scene for over thirty years, how have you seen the genre change and evolve?

JJ: From a starting point back in the day where there was much more musical common ground, dance music has blossomed into infinite sub genres, with devoted advocates of each championing their individual sound with enormous passion. Watching the scene evolve from something that was just a cottage industry, with people distributing white labels out of the back of battered vans and putting on small events for groups of friends, into a £7billion industry that has been heavily invested-in by the likes of Live Nation, Sony, and many more corporate giants, is quite a jaw-dropping development.

AXS: What kind of advice do you have for aspiring DJ/Dance/Trance artists who are looking to break into the field?

JJ: You have to be an excellent all-rounder. If you’re weak in any area you are going to struggle to succeed. You must be great at self-promotion, skilled in production, good at networking, ideally have great management and possess the knowledge that being a good DJ isn’t solely down to your mixing skills and tune selection but requires stage presence and the respect of your audience. All this together will carve you out from the rest.

AXS: Who would you name as your biggest music inspirations?

JJ: My fellow Londoner Norman Jay was a huge influence. Taking an 18-year-old me under his wing, giving me the key to his record box and running events alongside him taught me a lot.

AXS: Congrats also, on the new track! How did the idea for the ‘Dimensions’ mix come together?

JJ: Simply by fiddling around! I don’t go into the studio with more than an area of music I want to explore. I like to sit outside of genres and not become a prisoner to a specific sound. Many producers dare not step out of the confines of a particular sound, but, I find that approach too limiting.

AXS: What are you most looking forward to about hosting Dreamstate later this month?

JJ: I love Southern California, so I cannot wait to be living the Californian dream once again, even if it’s just for a weekend.

AXS: What does it feel like when you come out on stage and see a venue full of fans and what do you enjoy most about a live crowd vibe?

JJ: I can explain the mechanics of DJ’ing in front of a live crowd, but I can’t explain the feeling you get from stepping out in front of an audience. Only someone who’s experienced it can truly understand. That communal crowd vibe, that rush, the anticipation before you drop your fist track – it’s the buzz that every DJ looks forward to.

AXS: Can you tease anything for us to expect from your Dreamstate set?

JJ: No, spontaneity is key!  I don’t plan in advance, and just feel the vibe and roll with it.

Follow Judge Jules on Facebook and @RealJudgeJules on Twitter and Soundcloud. Visit his website at www.judgejules.net. "Dimensions" is availabe for streaming or purchase here.