ANYONE remotely interested in music will have heard the name Judge Jules. In a career spanning almost 30 years, he has immersed himself in the music business more fully than most.
Most notably he is a musician, lawyer and an award-winning pioneer of the electronic music scene establishing himself as a master behind the decks in venues all over the world and influencing a generation of music and musicians in the process.
He’s currently gearing up to play at the legendary Ministry of Sound in Southwark, a gig that is part of his huge Judgement Tour that spreads across the UK and will head to Europe this summer.
The Ministry is a venue he tells me he always looks forward to, not least because it's on home turf, and this one, on March 18 is no exception.
"London audiences are great," he says warmly. "When the crowd gets behind you and you look out and see all those faces, people enjoying themselves and getting swept up in the dancing, there is nothing better.
“I’ve played the Ministry loads of times and I love it. It’s got an iconic sound system and there are lots of rooms with different music in each to get immersed in.
"It’s always a good event there and people travel a long way to be there so I always want to do my best.”
He comes to London on the back of two tracks that smashed the Beatport progressive house chart – Peekaboo and Turn On The Lights, both of which got in to the top 30 – and work in a back to back set with Marco V.
“A lot of gigs in the 90s were back to back,” he tells me. “Two DJs with two distinct sounds but working together.
“Marco V is great, very well respected so I’m really looking forward to it.
"The set list will be a real mix. I describe my sound as different – what I do is either my own stuff or a one-off variation of other people’s because as a DJ you need to differentiate yourself – even if it is a familiar track it will be my own version.
“I’ve always got a lot of my own new productions but there will be a mix of tunes that have been made and released, stuff that is close to completion and some that will be heard for the first time.
"But Marco and I are only a part of it - it’s actually a pretty big line up and I’m really excited to be there."
Jules started his career in the late 80s when he was about 16. He and some mates found a “large venue” and promoted a music night. And that was just the beginning.
Before long he was promoting raves but had also carved his name in the history of DJing as one of its most successful.
“I started when I was 16 and because I was at school I had a massive social circle which meant we had a big crowd,” he said.
“We put on these huge events in dirty warehouses which gave me experience of promoting myself as a DJ. When acid house happened it was all about illegal raves. It was quite bold and brave but when you are young you are fearless,” he chuckles.
“Pop and early house elements were what I grew up with and my love of music evolved over the years.”
From those early days he has since gigged all over the world including extensive residencies in Ibiza.
“It’s the longest standing residency in Ibiza which I’m proud of but I do have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about it,” he says.
“I spend a lot of time there and speak fluent Spanish - there is definitely a lot of love there.”
But he says Ministry is up there with his favourites.
“There are few venues like it,” he says. "It’s an amazing venue with fantastic DJs and I love being there.
"I have always gone there socially and I remember DJing there in the early days. The décor is great, the branding is very good and the compilation records have extended its reputation. People always have a great time there."
Throughout our chat he is both modest about his achievements, passionate about his craft and comes across as driven and hard working.
Evidence of which can be seen in his work as an entertainment lawyer.
“I have to be very organised,” he says when I ask him how he fits all these elements into his life.
“I’ve been a lawyer for four years and it takes up a lot of my time but it’s all centred around dance music so it’s all very connected.
“I did a Law degree when I was 21 at the London School of Economics but was DJing and working elsewhere in the business.
“But when I hit my 40s I decided that I would give myself a shot at being a lawyer. It seemed a natural way forward so I went to night school, redid my degree and now spend most of the week as a music lawyer.”
And it’s clear he enjoys the challenge of the many aspects to his career.
“I’m very driven,” he admits. “You only live once so why waste your life? The opportunities don’t come knocking on the front door.
"I am passionate about music and don’t look backwards, only forward. I'm never half hearted about my work and aim to do everything to a high standard. That's very ."
But now it's all about the gigs and as well as a rousing call to his loyal fans, this Judgement Tour will be a chance to introduce himself to a new generation of dance music lovers.
“It’s exciting but I love what I do,” he says. “The biggest challenge is to sell yourself to the next generation so you never rest.
“I have got a recognisable brand name but I can’t be complacent. It’s the love of what I do that drives me. I’ve just immersed myself in music from day one and count myself very lucky. You can’t fake that passion.
“If everyone on the dance floor is looking at you when you are on the decks, dancing and totally loving it and enjoying themselves, then you know you are doing the right thing and it’s amazing."
Judge Jules will be at the Ministry of Sound, Gaunt Street, Southwark on Friday, March 18 as part of his Judgement Tour. Visit www.judgejules.net or www.ministryofsound.com/ for tickets.