We caught up with Yousef ahead of Circus’ final ever Masque showcase and headline slot for Movement UK at Joshua Brooks later this month.
Yousef just keeps getting better and better. 2011 flew by with a bang, with him being resident at Carl Cox’s stunning revolution showcases at Space, criss-crossing the globe with his own brand of house and techno dynamism and the continuation of his own clubnight Circus as they sold out show after show.
Although there was a wee bit of uncertainty with the announcement of the Masque closing towards the tail end of last year, Circus have since revealed they will be doing one more show there before returning to Camp and Furness after a brilliant evening on Boxing day. And Yousef helped kiss good bye to another epic clubbing era with Warehouse Project’s final ever Store St show on New Year’s day, his set being recorded on the night and becoming something of an instant internet classic.
We caught up with him ahead of Circus’ final ever Masque showcase and headline slot for Movement UK at Joshua Brooks later this month. He talked his new album, producer anonymity and some stunning tour schedules that had us green with envy.
Hi Yousef! 2012 is now in full swing and ready to roll. Are you excited about this year?
Hi Skiddle, yes I am! Only a few weeks in and I’ve been to Napoli and Seregno in Italy, had my stag party - which was ridiculous - and had a mini Circus event at the Magnet which was fun. I’m just back from South America where I visited Cordoba in Argentina and Vina Del Mar in Chile, both of which were incredible. My album is done now, although I’m pretty sure I will continue to tweak it until it’s signed. Circus is back on track and I’m getting married soon too. I’m releasing on Cecille, Intec, my own Circus Recordings and doing and done a few choice remixes so yes, a pretty hectic five weeks so far this year!
You’ve got some great gigs lined up in the North West in the upcoming weeks: Movement UK at Manchester’s Joshua brooks on the 17th February and of course your own Circus. You’ve played Joshua Brooks in the past I believe; what’s it like heading down the road to Manchester to play?
I think I’ve actually had a pretty good run of well received gigs in Manchester in the last couple of years with WHP and Joshua Brooks last year too. I like the crowds in Manchester a lot. They are always open to hear new music and it encourages me to take chances with the music or even the energy levels. I’m pretty sure after the success of WHP in NYD 17th Feb will be another good one. Other than Circus it's one of the few UK gigs I will be doing for some time, I think have Glasgow and London too but all my other dates are international.
And Circus; where is that going to head in 2012? Can you enlighten us on the Masque situation at the minute?
We are still very much in control of our destiny (to coin a phrase) and we are back at the masque for one night only for a final farewell to the place. We have myself, Steve Lawler, Shaun Reeves, Eats Everything and one more special guest TBA. It’s going to be an emotional end to an incredible run in the club. We will be back at the Camp and Furness very soon too, and a couple of times this year which after the success of Boxing Day has got to be done again.
Are there plans to take Circus beyond the Liverpool city walls?
Yes and no… we get offers all the time and I recently took Circus with myself and Dennis Ferrer to Indonesia for a three gig tour which was really excellent. We have an offer on the table for London at the moment but the problem is you simply can’t pick up our crowd and take it with us, that’s the main problem. They are a very important ingredient in the formula that makes us work.
And back to Manchester again; you recently played at the last ever WHP at Store Street and your set was the only one to be recorded on the night. What are your feelings about being involved with such a special event, and how does it feel to be the only person to have that lasting audio souvenir of the evening?
Pretty good I guess. I always take all my gigs very seriously but few more seriously than WHP, and as you say it was such a special occasion. I’m glad I managed to play well and I’ve had an overwhelming response from the set afterwards.
Can you tell us more about your recent tours and where you’ve been playing across the globe?
This weekend I was in Cordoba in Argentina and Vina del Mar in Chile. Both gigs where incredible, especially Cordoba which is always an amazing place to play. My sound works well in South America as I play house and techno with rhythmic kind of Latin vibe (without going comedy Latin house - if you know what I mean). The response I got from the crowd and promoters this weekend was really great. It’s a real hike to get there, especially for a weekend (20-22 hrs travel one way….) so it’s tiring, I only arrived back a few hrs ago. But the gigs are great and I love Latin America so I go as much as I can.
Tell us more about the album; we had heard rumours of you having a new one in the off. What can you reveal about this?
Yes, it’s pretty much done. I’ve done 20+ tracks (10-12 will make it), all compositions, many songs, live instruments, some really pretty interesting down tempo beats and most with a firm eye on the dance floor. It’s the most difficult project I’ve tackled. Working with instruments and vocals is always challenging, particularly when I’m a pretty much a novice and mixing them down, but I did anyway - and it took me time and I learned a lot. I’ve a got a pretty good finish that I’m happy with. It’s designed to be listened to from start to finish and is not typical of the current "house sound".
And is there any other production news we should be aware of; are we to see more of your Harry Monroe alias in the upcoming months?
Yes actually. I’ve set up a new name that I’m telling no one about. It’s an experiment to see if music can cut through without a name. Harry Monroe will be making another appearance soon as will 10000BC, my collab with Paul Woolford.
And finally, round up what you’ve got coming up in the next few weeks gig wise.
Gigs in Madrid, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Jersey, Costa Rica, Miami, London. I can’t wait!
Buy tickets for Circus at The Masque on February 25th
Buy tickets for Movement at Joshua Brooks on February 17th
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