The Circus Master releases his brand new ‘A Product Of Your Environment’ album
Hi dude. Massive news for you this week with the release of your second artist album ‘A Product Of Your Environment’ coming out on your own Circus Recordings. How long has this little beauty taken to complete?
“Hi Dan, good to hear from you. It took me the best part of 18 months. The process of ideas, backing tracks, developing ideas, writing songs and painstakingly mixing it down. All of it takes time which in the end was welcomed as I got to choose the appropriate 12 tracks from the 30 or so I made.”
There are some fine collaborations on the long player, including the classical guitar player Neil Campbell on ‘In Fear Of Dusk’ which people are saying is arguably your strongest club offering yet…
“It’s certainly one of the most complicated and certainly the most hard to mix down. The layers of drums, with the bass, the crazy horns and the delicate guitar by Neil was a real challenge to get it right, even now I’m not 100% happy with it. Neil it such an incredible guitar player, we did 2 more tracks that I will revisit for another project, they are album tracks rather than club stormers like “In Fear Of Dusk”.
There is only one track not written by yourself on the album. Songwriting, not the easiest skill to master. Where do you draw your inspiration from (does the album title have any relevance?) and what song are you proudest of penning?
“I’ve been writing lyrics from some years but not a great deal. They just pop in there and I flow. There was a point were I was writing a lot of songs but my mind focused elsewhere. Some of the lyrics on the album I wrote a long time ago. The track featuring Charli Taft “I See”, I wrote the lyrics for in Ibiza 5 years ago and it’s the only love song I’ve ever written. I normally write about self-esteem and personal development and life moments as I did with “think twice” and “indigo child”. I never write about being in a club or similar, as with my tracks I want my lyrics to mean something, even if its just to me.”
The album features a couple of relative unknowns, namely David Williams and Tom Crew. What can you tell us about those two?
“As I temporarily came back to Liverpool to record the album I wanted to dip into its wealth of talent, the city really does have endless amazing and sadly unknown artists. I would recommend anyone recording an album to do it in Liverpool, the musicians are skilled and ambitious and open to ideas. David Ive know for a long time and used to be a dj buddy of his older brother. David is a seriously skilled pianist and singer and song-writer and we have a odd but good friendship and I had to have him feature. Tom Crew was presented to me by Stefan who owned the studio I recorded in. He suggested we re hash tom’s vocal that was lying around in the studio from a session tom recorded months earlier. I loved but I needed it to be correct so we got him in to re record the vocals. Tom is part of the Crew Brothers, a really talented duo from Liverpool, In fact his brother played trumpet on “I See”. Further to that I ended up using Mark Ronson’s starlet Candie Payne and Paul from the Zutons for vibes on “unusual” as well, who again are both based in Liverpool and are seriously talented.”
What tracks have been blowing up from the album on the road test tip?
“It’s always hard to judge your own music but “For The Terraces”, “Think Twice” and “Feel The Same Thing” have been getting amazing support from the first album sampler I’ve sent out. People like Marco Carola, Reboot, Loco Dice, Magda, Nic Fanciulli, Robert Dietz, Jozif, Carl Cox and many more have been huge supporters. Track 9 “Beg” has now been picked up for a full single release via Defected with a killer “Hot Since 82” remix, so I’m getting a certain degree of love from many angles which was the hope.”
You have had a brilliant year professionally and personally, getting hitched down in the Grand Canyon no less. What are your memories from that beautiful day?
“It was such a beautiful day, my wife is wonderful women! We spent the entire day alone, no one else was invited! Getting married in such an incredible location was magical and we were so happy to do so. It was far from traditional, zero religion and we wrote the entire ceremony ourselves. It was an odd day too to be honest…40 minutes before we were due to get in the helicopter to take us to the Canyon floor I found out my oldest school friend had died, so it was a mixed day. And we had planned to marry on my mum’s birthday, who sadly died many years ago…so it was a wonderful day and we loved it but it was glazed with an air of sadness, which of course gave us even more appetite for life.
We had a pre wedding honeymoon in Costa Rica which was amazingly beautiful and then a post wedding “funnymoon” in New York. We did a self-planned “coming to America” tour of New York…It was hilarious! We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria, ate at Mcdowels (now a Wendy’s) and got a $8 haircut each (something nice and neat). I also managed to get a real £100 from the bank of Zamunda (from a prop store in South Africa) to pay for our food at Mcdowles with…”
Brilliant! I checked your post about Circus Music. The next few months looks very exciting on the release front. Talk us through some of the next releases…
“Yes, I’m really trying to build the following of Circus Recordings the same way we built Circus. I’ve released music from the likes of Dj Sneak, Sven Vath, Fourtet, Doomwork, Tom Flynn and of course myself. After the album its an EP from Circus team member Lewis Boardman. Lewis has released on NRK and Rekids and has remixed the likes of Nina Kraviz. After that is a guy who has been coming to Circus for years – David Glass. His tunes are in the boxes of Carl Cox, Loco Dice, Luciano, Marco Carola and myself. Then we have CircusX – a ten track compilation where I’ve asked the friends of Circus to make me a track to celebrate Circus reaching ten years. I have had Carl Cox, Guti, Davide Squillace, Kerri Chandler, Derrick Carter, Nic Fanciulli and more all giving me singles…so I’m pressing on…”
You’ve got your legendary Halloween Fancy Dress party at Circus in Liverpool on October 27th. What are you going as this year?
“Yes, I cant over emphasise how much fun it is! Its 99% fancy dress now too. We’ve really worked hard to help people feel comfortable enough to let go and get involved in the silliness. We always book a super cool line up to balance the crazyness. This years it’s my album launch with myself, Nina Kraviz, Cassy, Eats Everything and Kerri Chandler as well our super residents Lewis Boardman, Scott Lewis and Alex Wolfenden. I always go the full nine yards when it comes to fancy dress. Last year’s here…
This year I’m going as Randy Waston, been meaning to do it for years.”
You are very proud of your Circus family, you seem to have a very loyal following in your home city?
“Yes I guess so, I’ve worked hard to build it up and I think all the people that follow me know I treat them with gratitude and open arms when we meet.”
Eats Everything is one of the headliners on the night, have you ever partied with Dan before? He used to be my resident DJ in Bristol, he can go for days and days and days…
“Well those days are way behind me! He is lovely guy though.”
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
1. CHARLES RAMIREZ & STAN GARIC – DORINDA – CIRCUS RECORDINGS
Forthcoming on Circus from two of Spain’s freshest talents
2. LEWIS BOARDMAN – HOW DOES IT FEEL (DOOMWORK INTERPRETATION) – CIRCUS RECORDINGS
Circus 3rd member makes his full debut
3. PAUL C & PAULO MARTINI – TAKE SOME TIME – TALKING HATS
A resurgence from these guys, every track a killer
4. JUST BE – DUSTY FINGERS – CDR
Mathew B showing the house boys how it’s actually done
5. YOUSEF – FEEL THE SAME THING – CIRCUS RECORDINGS
Big support from Marco Carola on my album track
6. GRAND CORPORATION – WONDER & AMAZEMENT (DEETRON MIX) CLASSIC MUSIC COMPANY
We need more great vocals in house music. A great remix too.
7. YOUSEF – BEG (HOT SINCE 82 MIX) – DEFECTED
A great remix of my forthcoming defected debut
8. MAXXI SOUNDSYSTEM – REGRETS WE HAVE NO USE FOR – HYPERCOLOUR
One of the vocals of the year for me.
9. PAUL C & PAULO MARTINI – NO WAY BACK – TALKING HATS
Another track that really lets rip, big at Warehouse Project for me
10. LOOPSIZE – RETROSPECTIVE – CECILLE
A great 4 track EP on the currently flourishing Cecille
What has been your anthem of the summer?
“Charles Ramirez and Stan Garic “el Pianist” (HOF) – such a great, simple but powerfully effective track.”
Tell us about Ibiza 2012, many are saying it was the best in years…how was the Terraza at Carl Cox’s night this season…?
“Statistically It was the most successful weekly space has ever had (literally) and it even topped the success of last years tenth anniversary year which was record breaking! It’s such a privilege to be part of the team and I relish every moment I get to play. I give it everything I have each time I play and go out of my way to my sure I rock it! Going up against CC in the other room you have to step up your game!”
What was the craziest night you had on the white isle this year, who was involved?
“I didn’t have any at all, seriously! I was traveling so much and with all the gigs, Circus, Circus Recordings, promoting the album, producing, my weekly radio show (21s Century House Music) and I’m studying psychology, I didn’t have time to mess around – which is heart breaking. But I didn’t miss the hangover! I don’t really drink that much anymore either!”
What other countries have rocked for you in 2012, have you encountered any new clubs this year?
“The two stand outs have been Elrow in Barcelona and Ultra Music festival in Seoul. Both have the most incredible energy and are fun and love new music, Two of the best gigs there is or has been.”
Korea here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LWBLxtVbA4&feature=plcp
You opened up Warehouse Project last weekend, an unbelievable line up over the next few months. Why is this night so good?
“The promoters are seasoned music lovers and rave scientists! The attention to detail is second to none and they give such an exceptional experience to the clubber. 5000 people per event and there is room for everyone and music for everyone, it’s really something else…I recorded my set to be used for my essential mix for radio one broadcast this Friday. I had to really turn up the heat and play pretty tough but I like that once in a while and I the best time as I always do at Warehouse.”
A big night beckons in London town in a couple of weeks with an album launch down at Egg. What inspired you to bring your Circus residency to London?
“I’ve lived in London for some years now and I felt it was time to bring the energy and excitement and authenticness of Circus in Liverpool to London with me. Playing Circus in Liverpool compares to very few places anywhere in the world and I’m building the same vibe at Egg in London. It’s one of the few clubs in London where people really let go. Circus is about fresh music and having a good time to it. We want to be scenesters, and we want people to be themselves. I love London. For me its one of the worlds great cities, if not the best. It’s such a colourful city and full of endless ideas which I love.”
It’s been running for the last 4 months now, what have been some of your highlights?
“We are certainly building well and things are going to plan. For me the highlight so far was probably Mendo. He really naturally understood what Circus is about – fresh music, smiles and a good energy. A great DJ and producer and really cool guy too. I really like the Egg. It is its own entity and nicely tucked away so its pretty much tourist free, and the more I play there the more I’m seeing regular faces. Circus London is growing at a great rate.”
You have been one of the biggest DJs/producers/promoters for a long time now. Do you ever think your love of dance music will mellow?
“I’ve loved dance music in all its forms since I could first enjoy music. I was a ‘Street Sounds’ electro kid when I was 8 years old…I loved hip-hop, disco, acid house, house, techno, electronica, bass music…it’s all based in black music and that’s what I like, anything that makes me move keeps me moving.”
And finally, what are the plans for 2013 that you are already thinking about…?
“I will “aim” to have 2 weeks off….After that it’s business as usual for me; DJ touring, Circus, pushing Circus Recordings up a gear, radio, remixing, blah blah…working on more singles and more importantly spending some quality time with Mrs Z!”
Yousef – “A Product of Your Environment” Tracklisting
Yousef with David Williams – An Old Friend
Yousef feat. Alexander East – Think Twice
Yousef – For The Terraces
Yousef feat. Tom Crew – Had No Sleep
Yousef feat. Chari Taft – I See
Yousef – What Is Revolution
Yousef with David Williams -‐ Indigo Child
Yousef -‐ Unusual
Yousef -‐ Beg
Yousef – Feel The Same Thing
Yousef – In Fear Of Dusk
Yousef with Gwilyam Simcock -‐ Dissolve
“A Product of Your Environment” is out October 15th through Circus Recordings
Yousef’s “A Product Of Your Environment” Album Launch party is on Friday October 26th at Circus LDN at Egg London. More info www.egglondon.net