Judge Jules Interview
Now unless they're a weapons grade moron, anyone who has visited the white isle in the last 13 years will have attended one of the iconic Judgment parties at San Antonio's most popular super club Eden.
Famed for the best atmosphere in the west end, as well as a consistently inviting line up of both up and coming and established international DJ talent, the Judgment brand has provided an extemporary Ibiza clubbing experience.
You can expect some serious changes this year though. For starters, Eden has received a huge Gok Wan style top-to-bottom makeover with the new owners bringing you the latest hi-tech LED intelligent lighting set-up as well as a massive stomach rumbling, pants browning VOID Gold Incubus Sound System. This is all complemented by an impressive new Pioneer kitted DJ booth and a new interior design. The place is almost unrecognizable.
Now into its 14th straight season at the iconic San Antonio club, the famed Judgment brand returns this summer equipped with a sizzling new line-up and a fresh new weekly slot moving from its former home of Sundays to Fridays, giving clubbers a chance to kick-start their weekend in style. The new Friday night slot will be a serious shot in the arm for holiday makers and party-goers seeking the finest in trance, house and electro. Encased in a theatrical reality the billings this summer will feature BBC Radio 1’s shining light Danny Howard, EDM elite Showtek, Kissy Sell-Out, Marcel Woods, Orjan Nilsen, Micky Slim, Marco V and Subculture head honcho John O’Callaghan. Joining ranks with these trailblazers will be a mouth-watering selection of uprising new breed stars who will be packing and rocking the freshly refurbished main room of Eden this summer.
I chatted to Judgment Friday's mastermind, resident headliner and all round nice guy Judge Jules over the phone to discover a little more about the new season. He was sat on a beach in Ibiza with a cold beer watching the sunset. I was sat in my flat in Reading UK with a Bombay Bad Boy Pot Noodle watching it rain.
Many thanks for talking to us this evening. Can you tell us a bit more about the new refurbishment at Eden?
Ibiza is a shop window for the way clubs should be and I think that's exactly what Eden has become. The venue was sold to new owners who did the refurbishment back in April so they didn't open their doors until the beginning of July, whereas it would normally open in June.
They ripped everything out and started again and it's been finished to an extremely high standard. Also the new sound system is nothing short of amazing. If you're prepared to invest the money (and they obviously were) then you redo the club from the ground up and the sound system is of course a very big part of that.
The first night we were really finding our feet, as we were the first party when the club re-opened, but its been going really well so far. We're in full swing now and the venue, as well as the Judgment night, has been given a new lease of life to put it mildly.
Judgment Sundays has dominated the weekend to-do list in San Antonio for 13 seasons, so what prompted the move from wrapping up to starting the weekend?
The switch from Sunday to Friday came about for three reasons. Firstly the nature of the way people go clubbing to Ibiza is changing. When Ibiza first started, people predominantly went on package tours for a week with operators like First Choice or Club 18-30. Now though we are seeing a lot more bookings on EasyJet or RyanAir for a long weekend break. Flying out on a Friday and coming home on a Sunday or Monday night has grown increasingly popular. It's a changed market, a short break market. So Fridays work much better within this new scheme of things.
Secondly the concept of a new venue paired with a totally new promotion seemed like the right thing to do. It's our 14th year on the island and whilst the brand has been very successful, every product needs a refresh every now and then so with Eden effectively launching as a brand new club, it seemed like the perfect time to do it.
Thirdly you may or may not be aware but some of my week is spent as a music lawyer, which is relatively new for me. I retrained as a lawyer six or seven years ago not knowing what the DJing landscape was going to be like in the future. We know now of course that it's remained incredibly strong, but I quickly realised that DJing and being a lawyer were two things that I could do together. I now spend a certain amount of the week in the office dealing with brand protection, contracts, bands and a bit of other entertainment related stuff, and then obviously I DJ at the weekends. So Fridays are a much better fit for me from that perspective compared to Sundays where I wouldn't really be getting back until late to start my week in the office.
What can the punters expect now from a night at Judgment Fridays?
I think you'll definitely get a very smiley sort of atmosphere. Plenty of the usual theatrics that youcome to expect from the Judgment brand, but definitely one of the highlights is the unbelievable newsound system. I can't get across enough how special it is. It's a system that you can properly feel and it's by far one of the best I've ever played on.
Music policy wise in the main room we try to have one EDM DJ to start things off, myself as a bit of a hybrid between the two (EDM and Trance) and then we move through to a straight Trance DJ. We always try to build the night up gradually, which I think works very well and it's something we've done for a long time. A couple of the other Trance nights on the island differ in the way they just do straight Trance from start to finish. I like our night to have a beginning, middle and an end, that's always been my philosophy as a promoter.
14 seasons on an island as competitive as Ibiza is impressive. What's the key to the longevity and success of the Judgment brand in San Antonio?
I think it's all about enjoying the fact we are in San Antonio and not having any pretensions. San Antonio is the younger end of the clubbing market and I like the fact that it lacks pretension and it's real. I'm seeing too much VIP culture coming in around some parts of Ibiza. Too much of that Vegas style sitting around a bottle type of thing. When I go out to a club I never sit around in the VIP area, I'm out having a drink with everyone else, because for me that's what clubbing is all about. It's the real down-to-earth clubbers that have kept us strong up to now and these are also the people who generate the best atmosphere.
There's a big focus on new DJ talent on the roster this season including Marlo, Zak Moya, Tristan D, Justin Prime and Omnia. How important is it for a brand as established as the Judgment brand to still promote the new breed?
It's extremely important and always has been. We gave a lot of the big Trance DJs their first Ibiza gigs at Judgment Sundays. This includes Tiesto, Armin and Ferry Corsten, as well as a fairly substantial list of other people, so we have always been championing new DJs. This year is no different in that we've tried to showcase some newer younger Trance acts that haven't had huge exposure in Ibiza yet. Now more than ever, particularly at a time when Ibiza is a little safer and a little more predictable, it's especially important. If you've got an established brand that people trust then you can afford to take a few more chances than others.
Where are the Judgment Fridays warm up events this year?
I do an assortment of different warm-up events before Judgment Fridays, mostly in bars around the island. I do Pucker Up bar and Play2 in the West End, playing more banging stuff and then I play Bay Bar doing a chill out or more classic set. Just half an hour in each of them.
Tell us a little bit about your production style and your new releases.
My productions veer between the groovy end of Trance and the more conventional end of Trance. Just as an effort not to sound too similar all the time. I've got a new one called Collide, which is out now on Vandit records and features vocalist Christina Novelli, who among other things also featured on Gareth Emery's Concrete Angel. I release about three singles a year. Ultimately as a DJ your releases are your calling cards, so I wish could do a few more as about five is the norm for everybody else. But it's hard when you're trying to fit so much other stuff in but I'm very happy with the ones I have done.
For those of us who can't find our way out to the white isle this season, where else can we get a Judge Jules fix?
Gigs wise we do a Judgment night at Club BCM in Majorca, where I play back to back with another guest DJ. I'm also playing both Gatecrasher and Cream's birthdays immediately after the summer.
My weekly calling card is my Global Warm-Up radio show, which goes out on over 50 stations around the world. You can also download it as a podcast, which currently has over half a million subscribers.
I also do another show called A State Of Sundays, which is a kind of takeover show on Serious XM in America, where I do the hour before Armin Van Buuren.
So if you find yourself sat on a beach in San Antonio with a beer watching the sun set, pick your fortunate arse up and drag it down to Judgment Fridays at Eden.
Remaining Judgment Fridays dates and line ups this season
Friday 23rd August
Friday 30th August
Friday 6th September
Col Hamilton & Junior J
Friday 13th September
Nick The Kid
Friday 20th September
Solis & Sean Truby
About the author
Richard Ronchetti is a DJ, producer and reviewer from the UK with an unhealthy obsession for grated cheese.
He plays and produces essentially Trance with lots of House and Progressive influence and will be posting a bi-monthly promo mix on Mixcloud, Facebook and Twitter. Each mix will (if his levels of creativity and grated cheese allow) contain his own tracks, mashups and remixes.
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