Our last Truancy Volume of this year comes from a DJ based in Cologne going by the name of Jules. A regular DJ at Salon des Amateurs in Düsseldorf, a place which has honed the skills of top tier DJs such as Lena Willikens and Jan Schulte, it’s not surprising Jules skills as a selector are equally as matched. They haven’t gone unnoticed either as he closes out 2016 having found a monthly home on NTS’ second international channel which we highly recommended keeping on your radar for 2017. We caught up him to chat about growing up near Stuttgart, his time spent discovering new music in Bristol and playing places like Golden Pudel.
You’ve been based in Cologne for several years now but come from the south of Germany, near Stuttgart. What was it like there growing up in terms of exposure to music and so on? “I grew up in a very small village, so you knew basically every person there. In my early teens my older sister was a huge influence on my music exposure. She showed me all these mostly German hip-hop groups and it got me involved with skateboarding and the whole culture that stands behind it (I dramatically failed in attempting graffiti). Then there was this mysterious record collection that belonged my father. I started to listen to all his records, various Krautrock stuff, and it got me really fascinated into vinyl, its sound etc. I tried to convince my dad for a couple of years to gift me his collection, which I finally managed when I turned 18. I think my sister’s ex-boyfriend got me into more recent electronic music, especially the various sounds of dubstep around that time. That was in my early teenage years. I started buying all these records online from Hardwax, as there was no record shop around, and if there were, at that time they didn’t order these kind of records I enjoyed. The ‘Verstehen Sie Bass..?’ parties at the now defunct Mancuso club in Tübingen played a key role into my exposure towards club music. I basically went to every event there and Hops (who works now at Hardwax) invited all these amazing acts to this little town. There was an energy I have never felt before. Soundsystem Music!”
After this you also spent some time in Bristol and from what I understand you became quite immersed in the music scene there. How did that affect you musically? “After finishing my A levels, I felt that I wanted to get to know more about all these guys from whom I have a lot of records from, so I decided to move there. For me, that was quite a revelation. Bristol has such a huge musical and cultural history which at that time I was not aware of in that extent to be honest. I started to go to the epicentre and meeting spots of all the local producers and music lovers which included the legendary Rooted Records shop, run by Tom Ford aka Peverlist and basically spent all my money there. There I was confronted with all sorts of music, from dub to house to jungle to UK funky. Gradually, it all made sense to me, because I knew I could trust his (Toms) selections 100%. It really broadened my musical background. At that time, I got more and more interested in more current dance music, in all its mutations and its historical backgrounds.”
The last few years in Cologne and Dusseldorf have seen a reemergence of a certain sound and way of playing music. Having worked at the Kompakt shop here in the city was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about how and why you were drawn this. “I don’t know if there’s been a (re)emergence of a certain sound in Cologne and Düsseldorf. I mean, after the 00’s minimal techno and house revival period, other genres became more interesting for some people. I think that is a natural process, musical circles etc But Krautrock has always been in our area, haha. There a various people here, from Salon des Amateurs for instance, and they have been doing their thing for years and years, playing interesting music from all kind of genres. Maybe people are starting to enjoy this kind of approach more than just the boring kick drum all over again.”
So this ‘Salon des Amateurs’ style’, often revolves around the lower reaches of the BPM spectrum. Do you see certain possibilities that these tempos open up for you as a DJ? “Again I am not sure if there is something like a ‘Salon’ sound. I think it is more of an ethos, more of an idea which draws all these different people/residents and different sounds together there. That is what I feel, anyway. But yes of course, slower BPMs give you much more opportunities to plan where you are heading in a set. Building things up – and breaking them down again. Much more fun and more interesting for me.”
You have recently started doing a show on NTS’ new international channel. Is there a particular approach you take when it comes to radio, as opposed to a club set? “Yes, of course! The NTS Radio Show gives more freedom to play what I am currently feeling or listening to at home. It is a much more loose approach than preparing for a club set, where in the end you want to play interesting music and on the same time you want people to move. You don’t necessarily have that pressure regarding the second part. So for the radio mixing things up, no genre boundaries, everything goes – and I love that! I was quite nervous when I got the offer to do a monthly show there because I am a avid listener and admirer of the program. So great to be on the team – Shout out to NTS!”
Do you have a favourite club to play at? If so could you talk about the place and what makes it so special for you? “This summer I played at ‘Klub 20/44’ in Belgrade, which was one of my favourite experiences as a DJ. The club is located at the river next to all these really commercial and shitty ‘Splavovi’ boat parties, but this one is so so special. I did the beginning of the night, on the summer teracce and started with lots of experimental stuff. I have never experienced such an eccentric and open minded crowd. And before I knew it, the club was completely packed and people were all excited and going crazy. Amazing times! Milivoje, I see you! ;)
And of course I must mention the Golden Pudel club in Hamburg as well. Much has been said about this unique heaven of musical geeks and freaks but it is definitely one of my favourite spots. They are currently rebuilding it and it looks quite promising. I used to go to school with Kris (F#X, part of Black Sites with Helena Hauff or C with his partner Nika Son, you should check them out!) so I’ve been connected to a lot of people there for years now. We had already collaborated in Cologne and a lot of the residents are regulars at the Salon. I played at the Pudel a couple of times and every time it was something completely different but always an amazing night. Of course the people are the key element. There is a huge communal feeling about that place, with almost everyone working there throwing down parties during the week. It’s not about fashion or ‘coolness’, and I guess that sounds cheesy but it’s the truth, it’s about the music. People tend to forget that in other places. Long live the Pudel wuff wuff and also thanks Truants again for this, it was a pleasure!”