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
"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
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,"
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
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