Yousef is a DJ’s DJ and a producer’s producer. Actually, his love of music shines through everything he does be it music creation or promoting parties and running his record label. The prior two are under the name Circus
, an apt name for his energetic creative. Listening to his music and DJ sets, you totally get it when he says that he “sees music in color.” With music spanning from house to techno, his catalog contains some of the most important track from the past fifteen years. After talking to him in Miami, it’s easy to predict that he has a lot more great music to come.
RS: Let’s start with your t-shirt. I love it and the artwork, who does all the design for it?
Yousef: It’s a guy from Liverpool of all places. I put out a message on the Circus Facebook searching for a designer from Japan or Brazil or wherever and I found a kid on my door step. He is incredible and we have used him for about 3 or 4 years, his name is Danny O'Connor or Art by Doc if you google him. He does everything free hand and then he puts it into his machines. We have used him for the Circus label, t-shirts and for the clubs as well, he is such a talented young guy.
RS: With the Circus label, how do you choose what music you sign because there is so much being put out right now?
Yousef: To summarize it you must have personality. I see music in colors and it must look like my shirt and have a colorful feel or story to it or make me feel something rather than just beats. Beats are okay and work sometimes but it must have an underlying colorful tone.
RS: Saying that makes sense. How do you feel about this deep house come back versus the EDM bangers?
Yousef: It’s kind of cool in some ways because obviously the EDM for all its failings introduced electronic music to a whole massive audience. Those kids have grown up and EDM is dying out which is great news and they have moved onto deep house. Even though it’s not authentic deep house, it’s a form of slightly better and improved electronic music. They are moving in the right direction and it has proved that the ears and eyes have been opened to what is actually out there.
RS: With deep house and your influences I loved your Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1, were there any responses that surprised you or surprised other people?
Yousef: I think that a lot of the newer audiences from Radio One listeners who would listen to EDM and now deep house have never heard of people like DJ Duke or Todd Terry or older tracks like DJ Pierre. For me these are essential blueprints for house music and the kids they were really surprised that the records were 20 years old in some cases. It was great and everyone seemed to be into it, I recorded it live and people loved it.
RS: If you could remix any Kanye West track, which would you do?
Yousef: I’ll be honest I am not even a fan of Kanye. I like the story behind “Gold Digger” and how it worked out and how it came to fruition. I am sure you know the after party story and how it happened with Jamie Foxx. I love that and I think that the “Gold Digger” hook is cool, he is actually pretty smart. I think that with all the nonsense he is doing now, he is creating a viral monster and I think that it is all horse shit. I think he knows what he is doing, he is creating an image for himself like Michael Jackson did in the ‘80s to make him appear like he is crazy or more unusual and off center than he really is. I think that it is just marketing and he knows what he is doing. Either way I think that he is kind of talented but his personality is not for me.
RS: What is coming next from you music wise?
Yousef: I have a new artist album which is called In the Process of Eight and that comes out at the end of April and my new single “Let Go” is available in a couple of weeks on Circus Recordings. I have a new EP on Ellen Allien’s BPitch Control which is one of the greatest German techno labels; we are looking forward to it. It is more melodic and a bit more detailed so it was cool that they were interested in that sound because they don’t necessarily just make a specific sound. I sit in the studio and do what naturally comes out so it is good that they are supporting a different side to me.
RS: I noticed that you do B2B sets with another person, how do you prepare for those?
Yousef: I don’t prepare at all especially with the most recent ones. For example with Eats Everything we spoke on the phone to see what we should do but we decided to do nothing and to just play out from the seats of our pants so to speak. We have both been DJing for so long and we are both proper DJs so we have been able to accomplish the situation and I think it is better that way. It is more exciting because when you do finally connect and start bouncing off of each other it feels good. Dan, Eats Everything, is such a good DJ and he is a really experienced guy so it works.
RS: Do you do track by track?
Yousef: Yeah we do track by track.
RS: You are from down under right?
Yousef: No I am from Liverpool in England.
RS: I don’t know why I thought you were from Australia.
Yousef: I have a funny accent.
RS: I keep hearing that the UK is all about deep house right now. Where do you see the music in the UK and London going?
Yousef: It is moving and going back towards techno. Deep house is becoming a bit of a sugary word because of the transition from EDM to deep house. I think that all of the people that are playing authentic deep house are kind of maneuvering back to proper house music and back to techno. It’s cool because I have gotten into the techno thing, so maybe that will be great but I like the full spectrum of house so it works for me.
RS: After you finish a gig what hurts more- your ears from the sound or your eyes from all the flash bulbs?
Yousef: Sadly my ears because I have been DJing for so long now I do suffer form a little bit of tinnitus. I have to wear minus 25 ear plugs, so I do everything that I can to protect my ears.
RS: If you could go back and talk to yourself at age 18 what would you say to yourself?
Yousef: That is a good question. I wouldn’t change anything ,even though I might have been able to have more of a flourishing career younger with all the knowledge. The years in between were so funny and so absurd but I wouldn’t swap any degree of success for any of those moments that I experienced, they were great.
RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out here?
Yousef: Have a great day! Do whatever you want to do and make sure you put 100% behind it, it’s funny out there and life is great.
Interview conducted during WMC 2015.