Interview: Yousef

Yousef is a complete force within electronic music, and has come to represent the ethos of the modern DJ.

In demand from the world’s supreme labels, festivals, collaborators and clubs, Yousef has provided recent tracks for Loco Dice’s Desolat imprint and Ellen Alliens Bpitch Control, Crosstown Rebels, Get Physical, Defected, Cecile, Cocoon and Objektivity Records. He also continues to show the world his peerless deck skills, effortlessly and effervescently smashing the worlds finest clubs and festivals with his colorful take on underground house and techno. Recent ‘back to back’ sets with Carl Cox, Cassy, Eats Everything, Laurent Garnier and Patrick Topping display the pedigree Yousef is among in 2015.

Similarly Yousef’s own record label Circus Recordings continues to take confident strides with new music coming from Scuba, Krankbrother, Acid Mondays, Richey Ahmed, Subban, Nicole Moudaber, Dj Pierre, Timo Maas, Demian Muller and endless more. Born out of the label, the legendary Circus events in Liverpool, London, Barcelona, Manchester and Ibiza are all in incredible shape, and a 13th season beckons in September, continuing with its mantra of the world’s best underground house and techno artists only.

With that, we thought it was high time to catch up with Yousef, anticipating the next Circus event at EGG London this Saturday, 14 November with Cassy and Lewis Boardman. here, Yousef speaks on his impressions of 21st Century DJ culture, Circus’ Liverpool roots, comparing London to Liverpool, and much more. So, if you’re in London this weekend, make sure you stop by Circus on Saturday, and you can find tickets at the end of this article.

“…the days of just being a DJ, no matter how good you are, are long gone”

When you first kicked off the CIRCUS concept, do you remember what your immediate goals were for it? At what point in its existence did you start evolving/expanding your aspirations with it?
Circus was set up for me to play the music I felt passionate about in my home City of Liverpool. I wanted to have a cool and safe and most importantly fun place to channel my love for underground house and techno. From the off 13 years ago, the energy behind Circus grew quickly. It went from being a tiny party to winning UK club of the year in less than 18 months. The ethos has never changed, it’s great new music, a fun attitude and striving to invite the freshest and best names in global electronic music with me as its centerpiece, resident and booker. It’s now in London, and I have to say the parties at the impressive and ever evolving EGG London venue have been incredible and are just as fun (if not more!) as Liverpool and our parties in Barcelona.

Has there been a particular CIRCUS event over the years that has stood out to you. If so, what made it so memorable?
I would have to say BBC radio one inviting us to host the 500th Essential mix LIVE from Liverpool, any club globally would have been thrilled for the honour but they asked us. Circus put together a strong line up with myself, Richie Hawtin, Sasha, Aeroplane and of course Pete Tong hosting, all in out 1000 capacity club in Liverpool. It was amazing, as in ridiculous, one of the best parties I’ve ever been to or played all for sure.

Which artists are you most proud of bringing to Circus?
I would say inviting totally unheard or names and watching them develop in global stars is always cool. Loco Dice has his first UK gig with us, Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler where room 3 DJs for almost no money at all when we first booked them many years ago, same with davide squillace, all super talented, great people and great DJs, which is the Circus ethos in bookings, but at the time, and in some cases over 10 years ago, they where not name DJs, so it’s amazing to still have the tight relationships with these guys we had for a long time now.

Who are some artists who HAVE NOT played CIRCUS that you would like to one day see on the bill?
There is literally no one in quality dance music that has not played our events I’m proud to say. ☺

With this weekend’s CIRCUS, you bring Lewis Boardman and Cassy to play alongside yourself. How does each of these DJs complement the event, as well as each other?
Lewis has been with us as our resident with me since day one, he is an exceptional DJ, an expert selector for sure. His recent releases on Circus, Moon Habour, Desolat and Cadenza show his trade as a producer is refined too. Cassy of course needs no introduction, with her residencies at DC10 and Panorama Bar she has the skills and her credibility is globally validated. We play b2b sometimes too, we are great friends too, all 3 of us will really compliment each musically all. Lewis, Cassy, then me is the running order.

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