The esteemed French house producer tells us why he's moving beyond Bass Culture
The name D'Julz should need little introduction to house lovers by now. He's been a mainstay of the French house scene pretty much since it began, while his Bass Culture label - launched in 2009 off the back of his long-running night of the same name at Paris's famous Rex Club, which began in 1997 - is one of the most respected in the game, having released material from the likes of Mr G, Jay Tripwire, Ben Sims, Sebo K, Cassy and Jordan Peak over the past decade.
Last month, though, saw him launching a new vinyl-only label, JV, which takes its name from his initials (his real name is Julien Veniel). Unlike Bass Culture, JV is a joint venture with leading French record shop/label/distribution group Yoyaku. Despite the co-operative approach, it's very much D'Julz's baby, with the label's stated purpose being to release his own music (and possibly some collaborations further down the line).
With the label's first release, Chaplin Bong, available now, naturally we figured the best place to find out about it would be from the man himself. So we asked him...
With Bass Culture so well established, why did you decide to set up a second label now?
"The main purpose of Bass Culture has always been to release music from other artists before my own. This is still the case today - I've only released three EPs of my own in 10 years. But recently I've been feeling the need to create a platform where I focus exclusively on on my own material, to have the freedom to put out music when I want to without depending on the busy release schedules of other established labels - including Bass Cuture. Enter JV!"
Would you describe JV as a sub-label of Bass Culture, a sister label or a completely separate entity - and why?
"Bass Culture already has a vinyl-only sub-label called Bass Culture LTD, which was launched two years ago. JV is a completely separate entity for the reasons I explained above, and also because I work on it with a different crew and distributor."
Ah yes, the label's a joint venture with Yoyaku, isn't it? So who will be in charge of A&R?
"The idea of creating this label come from a conversation I had with the head of Yoyaku and it will be distributed by them, but it's my label and I'm the only A&R onboard. However, because I like the vision of Yoyaku, and because it can sometimes be difficult to have perspective on your own creations, I wouldn't hesitate to ask the opinions of the Yoyaku team if I'm stuck on a choice of tracks for a new release. It's all part of being in a creative team."
What are your plans regarding a release schedule - will it be a regular one-a-week or one-a-month thing, or more on an occasional basis?
"It will depend entirely on the new music I have already, and how productive or inspired I can be in the studio. Knowing that I wont release all the material I write, I would say three to four singles a year, including possible collaborations."
The first single's out now, but what else have you got coming up?
"Nothing is finished yet but I have started two collaborations I'm pretty excited about, one with Brawther and the other with Janeret. I also have a couple of my own tracks I'm working on. I still don't know which will come out first, but a second release should be ready for the spring."
Finally, coming back to Bass Culture - with the 10th anniversary coming up, do you have any birthday celebrations planned - club nights, releases, whatever?
"I'm planning a compilation of 10 unreleased tracks from various Bass Culture artists, and possibly a few events or a tour around it. I still have a few months to figure it out!"
Words: Russell Deeks Pic: Marian Clark
DJulz's Chaplin Bong is out now on JV. D'Julz plays The Cause, London on 16 Nov - click here for details.