Paris wouldn’t be the same without Rex Club, and Rex Club wouldn’t be the same without Bass Culture. D’Julz’s monthly party has been the landmark club’s cornerstone night for the last two decades, with 2017 marking their 20-year anniversary in the French capital. D’Julz has curated the line-ups since the beginning, regularly bringing top-tier house and techno artists like Cassy and Seth Troxler to play alongside him.
In 2009, D’Julz followed up on the party’s ongoing success by founding his own imprint, where tech house veterans like Mr. G sit alongside younger stars like Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie and Alex Picone. With Bass Culture’s Farringdon takeover just around the corner, D’Julz sent us over a mix weaving through an hour of classy deep house and tech house, before speaking more about his ongoing residency, and why he’s excited to bring the party over to London.
First of all, how did your 20-year celebrations go last year? Were there any standout highlights?
Apart from one particular Chilean artist I didn’t manage to book on time for last year, I pretty much had all the guests who have been on my wish list for a number of years. All the parties were different in terms of style, but each one was a success. My personal highlight was playing with Lil’ Louis for the first time. He really is on fire at the moment. It’s also always a lot a fun playing back-to-back with Seth Troxler. Finally, my all night long was a special one for me as I hadn’t done it in a while, and it couldn’t have gone better.
What do you think has made your party series so enduring after all this time?
Firstly, I’ve had the luck of finding a club that has given me total artistic freedom and trust. But, in my opinion the key to longevity is finding the right balance between roots and evolution; staying true to the musical identity of Bass Culture but still searching for new talents who fit my music taste. Also, and most importantly, finding artists who are mind-blowing behind the decks. I never compromised with that last point, so I guess the crowd must have trusted my ears.
Where did the records you included in the mix come from?
I usually do a mix of recent, unreleased and older music, but for this one I dug a bit deeper into my own collection, which is something I find myself doing a lot more lately. It’s an interesting time to mix old and new records together; in fact, it’s become difficult to tell if a record was release one week or 15 years ago. A funny time really.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing independent labels like yours today?
There are so many new labels popping up every week, but I don’t see many of them lasting more than a few months. A lot of people start a vinyl only label just because it’s “cool”, without thinking of the cost and the hard work it takes to make it last. There’s also the pressing plant saturation issue – having to wait 16 weeks for a record to be manufactures is an issue facing most labels today.
How did you first come into contact with Cassy?
I think it was the first time I played at Panorama Bar, around 10 years ago. We had the same agent at the time, and I ended up at dinner with her and Marcel Dettmann before. I heard her play a few months later in Paris, and I instantly loved her style. I started inviting her over to Bass Culture regularly, and we became best friends along the way.
For the last two decades, Bass Culture has been intrinsically linked with Rex Club. What do you think makes fabric a good place to bring the party elsewhere?
They are obviously two very different clubs, but they share the same kind of family spirit. They both hold a special place in my heart. I’ve had the chance to play at fabric almost every year since 2000, so I guess after Rex it’s definitely one of the clubs I’ve played most. Bringing the party over makes total sense, especially with this line-up. Cassy has been a regular guest at my party for a long time, and Terry Francis was one of the first ever guests at Bass Culture in Paris 20 years ago! I still have the tape somewhere ;)