Yousef proudly steps into 2017. With previous releases on labels like Desolat or Cocoon, and new music signed and ready to be released this year on Crosstown Rebels, Knee Deep in Sound, Hot Creations, as well as his own Circus Recordings.
Yousef’s legendary Circus event in his native Liverpool rolls into its 15th year, championing the finest in house and techno since day one, Circus embarks on its first worldwide tour with a staggering 15 events across the globe in 15 of the finest locations such as London, New York, LA, Sydney, Milan, Berlin, Paris and Barcelona.
We had the chance to talk with ahead of his April 30th fabric’s London Circus takeover.
Electronic Groove: Hey Yousef, thanks for talking to us today. How has 2017 been so far?
YOUSEF: Relentless! Even with taking a month off in January I’ve been flat out. Touring globally, a lot of studio time, running Circus events, setting up the Circus 15-year tour, the Circus album, being a dad, and throwing a puppy and a Half Marathon for the homeless into the mix, it’s been full on.
EG: 2017 marks the 15th year of Circus since its inception back in 2002. Can you talk to us about some of the special things you have planned for this year, such as the tour and the compilation album?
YOUSEF: Yes, after 15 years of Liverpool events we’ve decided to go on the road for 15 key global tour dates, it’s something we have purposely stayed away from but we felt it was the right time to accept the offers. We have stops in Sydney, Tokyo, Barcelona, Belgrade, Buenos Aires, and many more as well as our only London date in 2017, teaming up with fabric for our first ever event there. Further than that is the Circus 15-year compilation, mixed by me, featuring brand new tracks from the friends of Circus, Joris Voorn, Hot Since 82, Steve Lawler, Paco Osuna and many more. I’ve asked all the guys to deliver a brand-new track that represents them and the dancefloor of Circus, released in September.
EG: Where are you most excited to take Circus on the upcoming tour?
YOUSEF: It’s hard to say, I’m excited that it’s happening, but I’m always excited to get back to Tokyo, I don’t play there as often as I’d like, and it’s one of my favorite places.
EG: Who can we expect to see appear on the compilation?
YOUSEF: A real mixture of Circus artists from Andrea Oliva to Jamie Jones, and many more. It’s really going to be interesting, none of the tracks will be available anywhere else before or after.
“It’s a true honor to team up with fabric, and moreover, an ambition fulfilled to have Circus take over the whole club”
EG: The 15 years of Circus Tour comes to London on the 30th April to make fabric its home. How does the clubbing scene in London compare to Liverpool’s clubbing scene?
YOUSEF: Yes, it’s a true honor to team up with fabric, and moreover an ambition fulfilled to have Circus take over the whole club. I would say the main difference with London and Liverpool is timing wise, you guys get to go later. The spirit of the rave up is still the same, a lot closer than people think, both crowds (at least at Circus) are as musically educated and both crowds like to let rip. Circus is all about great music but also about an inclusive vibe.
EG: The Save Fabric campaign saw a lot of faces in electronic music come together. Can you talk about the relationship between Circus and Fabric during this time?
YOUSEF: Yes, we felt strongly about supporting fabric, they like us have always stood steadfast with their beliefs, and have contributed enormously to the musical landscape of electronic music in the UK. We set up a #savefabric party in Liverpool to raise awareness of their efforts to re-open the club. Fortunately for everybody Fabric’s license was reinstated a few days before the Liverpool party, which had its title changed to #fabricsaved.
EG: The music industry is fast changing and always on the move. How has Circus kept itself relevant and on top of its game over the years? What’s the secret to looking so good after 15 years!?
YOUSEF: It’s a combination of myself as a touring DJ being connected to many new DJ’s, meeting them on the road, playing their music way in advance of them cutting through, my business partner in Circus (Richard) has an equally keen ear and always being prepared to take chances on new names. Also with me running and owning Cir-cus Recordings, I’m always on the front line of new demos, hearing music and I can hear trends as they develop. All the above and a lot of effort, time, luck and stupidity for relentlessly doing it for nothing more than a proper rave up.
EG: You Just played Annie Mac’s Lost & Found festival in Malta. How do festival sets differ to club sets?
YOUSEF: It really depends on the crowd, typically you have to play a little bigger at festivals, but it’s not always the case, you can find energy in all sorts of music. The key is to connect with the crowd and to know your music, who knows which way you will have to turn. I enjoy playing super deep as much as I love thrashing it out, so it’s all good fun either way.
“Circus is all about great music but also about an inclusive vibe”
EG: Running the record label alongside the night you must have seen a number of DJs and producers grow and develop into international artists. Are there any artists you’re particularly excited about right now who are rising through the ranks?
YOUSEF: Yes, that’s true, names like Acid Mondays released early on Circus Recordings, and even Hot Since 82 got his global break when he remixed ‘Bigger than Prince’ for me. Right now, I’m keeping a close eye on Kevin Over, Ki Creighton (who plays with us 30th at Fabric) and even Second City, who’s been known for more straight up club cuts, is just about to release a serious techno track with Circus, the type of record someone like Laurent Garnier may play. Circus has a wide musical repertoire, from super deep to almost nasty, but always with the heartbeat of house music so I enjoy having a range of artists on the label from Carl Cox and Green Velvet to new names like Yost Koen & David Glass.
EG: As a producer you’ve appeared on labels like Desolat, Get Physical and Cocoon. You’ve already released ‘Pleasure Defined’; can you talk about any further releases that you have planned for this year?
YOUSEF: Yes, always preparing something, as well as the above I’ve released on Bpitch Control, and even Defected but this year see’s new releases on This & That, Knee Deep in Sound as well as full vocal, self-penned lyrics track on Crosstown Rebels which I’m looking forward to. I’ve always got a ton of projects on the go and must have two al-bums worth of music sitting, mastered and ready to go!