By day a showbiz lawyer, but by night one of the world’s leading DJs, Judge Jules tells Tim Hughes about his exciting double life - and passes judgement on dancefloor misdemeanors

All rise for the Judge! One of the original superstar DJs, Judge Jules has had us jumping for more than three decades, since the earliest days of rave.

Pleasingly, the DJ who took his name from his legal background (he has a law degree from the London School of Economics) is once again mixing it up in the legal profession, as a successful music lawyer. He still, however, has time to hold court in the world’s finest clubs, dispensing dancefloor justice to dance music lovers everywhere.

And, in the manner of an old fashioned circuit judge, Jules is taking to the road again for an 18-date tour of clubs everywhere from Ireland to Estonia. It touches down in Oxford next Thursday, with a set at Warehouse in Park End Street.

The aim of his Judge Won’t Budge tour is, he says, to introduce his brand of beats to a new generation of clubbers.

“Sometimes you need to stand up and say, ‘Yes, I’m here. If you haven’t heard what I’m about, here’s what I do’,” he says.

Though, he admits, his reputation precedes him. “Bizarrely, my name has been brought up in TV quizzes, including Anne Robinson asking about me because my uncle is famous chef Rick Stein,” he says.

“My name was also recently mentioned in Dragon’s Den, when they were touting a product to the panel; I think it was some headphones. So, I suppose it’s reasonable to say that my name as a DJ is rather better known than most. But, at the same time, I still need to explain what I do and who I am.”

Which is? “A DJ, radio presenter, music producer, promoter, A&R, label boss, manager, voiceover artist and TV presenter, so quite a lot of stuff. And, most importantly now, by day I’m an entertainment lawyer, helping the careers of people in the industry that I inhabit.”

He says the impact of the internet has forced DJs to change their game. “Music is so accessible via the internet and illegal downloading, meaning that even the most recent tracks are available to just about anybody if they try hard enough,” he says.

“The way that DJs differentiate themselves from others in the modern environment is by creating an awful lot of one’s own exclusive music, new productions and original material, as well as bootleg and mash-ups of existing tracks.

“So that’s what I do. It’s very orientated around my own music, to make myself different, and it seems to work.”

And what are his big tunes right now? “Well, big tunes for me would have to be my own ones. I’ve got a new track called Turn Out The Lights and another one, called The Rush, forthcoming. What one does in making records is to continually hone them and roadtest them in your gigs, until such time you think they’re totally complete. Only at that point are they ready to be released. My sets consist of a lot of those.”

It is that ability to adjust, as well as set trends, that has kept Jules in the top flight of DJs. “I don’t think you can fool anybody,” he says. “You can’t fake it and I absolutely love what I do and pour everything into it.

“These days, I might be a music lawyer during the week and just DJ at weekends, but it’s still a job that takes a massive amount of background work. For every two-hour performance, there are multiple hours of preparation and it’s that hard work in the background and that genuine, impossible-to-fake enthusiasm during my performances that have given me longevity.”

And being clubland’s equivalent of the Supreme Court, what DJ-ing crimes does he think deserve a stiff sentence, or at least a hefty rap on the knuckles?

“I do think that when DJs are utterly commercial and totally safe, without showing any degree of musical personality, that is a crime worth punishment.

“There are so many mash-ups and different, unusual, versions of familiar records out there if you go and hunt for them, that even if you happen to be a resident DJ at an extremely commercial club, there’s always the opportunity to have personality and play something a little different.

If a DJ simply plays Calvin followed by Guetta followed by Avicii there is no excuse for it, because there are ways of being commercial without being lazy and uninventive.”

And which dancefloor habits would incur the wrath of the Judge?

“It’s quite difficult,” he says. “You need people to be a bit intoxicated, because it encourages the dancefloor to get bouncing, but utterly intoxicated people incur my wrath.

“They go one of two ways: either just so smashed that they make an embarrassment of themselves, or are so smashed they start bothering others. That would get my gavel slamming straight down and have them sent to detention.

“But I think one has to adopt a kind of libertarian attitude towards people’s behaviour in clubs. If it doesn’t hurt anybody else, then get on and do what you want to do. Who am I to be the judge?”


What’s Judge Jules’s favourite club track? Art Of Noise: Moments In Love. “It’s not a club track at all, but it’s an all-time favourite,” the DJ concludes, handing down his final verdict.

Judge Jules plays the Warehouse, Park End Street, Oxford, next Thursday, March 26. Tickets £11 from