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Yousef Interview - Raves.com





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DJ Yousef sheds the "bedroom" moniker and drops bombs alongside Krafty Kuts on the pair's new collaborative release, Circus Chikubu Present.

By Carl Noone Jr.

Since winning now-defunct Muzik magazine's Bedroom Bedlam contest in 1999, Liverpool's DJ Yousef has quickly climbed up the corporate ladder of DJ-dom. A seasoned veteran of many Summers in Ibiza, playing at clubs such as Pacha, Yousef has also built a following for consistently spinning twisted house grooves at his own club, Circus, and on BBC's Radio 1.

"At first, I was literally thrown into the deep end," says Yousef recently. "I won the competition to play at Ministry and it was the same day, I was up there and I just didn't pay attention to any of the people," he tells me, reflecting back to that first night of awe-inspiring anticipation.

Now a respected remixer and producer, Yousef's latest project, "Circus Chikubu Present: Yousef Krafty Kuts," is set to be released worldwide on February 22. The expansive two-disc, 41-track set finds Yousef unearthing some bizarre, chunky house, while Krafty Cuts drops tight breakbeats and funky electro grooves.

"The CD came out in the UK a few months ago, and I have toured around a bit there and in Europe," Yousef recently told me when we chatted by phone. "I'll do a small tour in America in about a month. I'll showcase it in Miami, then I'll go up the East Coast to Montreal and Toronto."

DJ Yousef's story should give hope to undiscovered young DJs everywhere. His remarkable rise to fame demonstrates that it's possible to bypass the many years that so many of us have toiled in obscurity, and MUST put in before being recognized.

Once signed by Ministry of Sound, he became a regular at both their Friday and Saturday night, proving his versatile style. He also became a resident at the award-winning Renaissance club called "Media" in Nottingham. The year took a turn for the better as he was signed by Erick Morillo's manager and won Best Bedroom Bedlam DJ at the 1999 Muzik Awards.

As 2000 began, a new residency, with a room all his own at Cream, was just beginning. As a native Liverpudlian, it was a home coming everyone dreams about. Before the year was over, everyone from X-Press 2, Erick Morillo, and Darren Emerson to a rare first UK performance by Onionz Joeski were playing the room and supporting the man behind it.

Yousef went on stage at Creamfields England in front of 20 000 people and wowed the crowds, smashed Space and Pacha in Ibiza and his reputation grew, crowned by delivering a hot mix for Pete Tong in December as one of only four DJs in the Stars of 2000 series.

In 2001, Cream put more and more emphasis on the progressive line-ups with more cutting edge talent being added as the weeks went by. As Yousef's achievements took him across the waters to perform at Creamfields-Ireland, he was also booked for the Gatecrasher's Summer Sound System, rumoured to be the best line up of 2001.

"I was doing both Cream and Ministry at the same time, so eventually I left Ministry to concentrate on Cream. Three years ago I left Cream to open Circus. That has been my main focus ever since," he says.

Constantly referred to as a "scouser", I wondered aloud to him what the meaning of such a potentially demeaning name could be. "That's somebody from Liverpool, because they live on scouse, or bread. Scouse is a local dish. My father is Egyptian, and I'm originally from Liverpool, and so is my Mother. My parents met in the 60's and I'm the product," he says, giving us all a bit of family history.

Amazingly, Yousef has also found the time to turn his hand to the studio, as he teamed up with Paul Woolford, producing music under the alias 10,000 BC. The duo released remixes for Aphrohead, Meeker, Stella Brown, Chocolate Puma, Hubert Hudson and Rainstar. With Steve Mac (from Rhythm Masters), Yousef has recorded as the "Drum Bums", while all of his production work is done under his own name.

Although he's very much a Liverpool lad, being of Egyptian descent means he's become more aware of his own ethnicity since 9/11. Travelling to U.S. gigs is now more complicated for him, but he accepts the extra attention gracefully. "I noticed it this summer when I went to New York and Miami. When I'm going through customs they take a little longer with me and ask more questions. Sometimes it can be a bit of a pain in the ass, but I don't really mind if it's going to help make sure the plane is safe."

Now with the huge success of his own club, Circus, Yousef is in the driver's seat, yet he knows first-hand how things should be run, and how NOT to piss-off your talent because he's been there before. "I'm a pretty fair guy, especially because I run a club as well, which means I understand both sides of the fence. I understand what a club makes and what a DJ will take. If someone offers me some ridiculous fee, but they are going to make ten times that amount, then, OK, cool. But if someone offers me a fee, and they are going to loose money to pay it, then, that's not cool."

(How many times have you ever heard that from an internationally touring DJ like this?? NEVER!!)

"I think everyone should get a fair slice of the pie. At the same time, a lot of these bigger gigs are usually heavily sponsored now. If you're the DJ, and offered fifty thousand pounds by a cigarette company, then OK. But that's not for me."

That's not for us, either, Yousef.
You go, brotha!

Check out www.circusclub.co.uk


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