'A Collection of Scars & Situations' is the debut artist album from Liverpool's likeliest lad of dance, Yousef. Carl Cox, Laurent Garnier, Nick Curly, Nic Fanciuilli, James Zabiela and John Digweed are all impassioned Yousef supporters. The album encapsulates everything that is Yousef in 2009, from skull crushing techno to hip shaking house grooves and moments of electronic melancholy.
He took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer these questions.
How did you originally get into DJing and where were you drawing your influences from?
As long as i can remember i've been into music and some form of music to dance to. I was a big hip hop fan and a breaker when I was very young. I had all the steeet sounds electro albums which introduced me to New York and its sound. From there I wanted to be a hip hop DJ, but eventually I came across acid house. I got into raves and warehouse parties when I was 15, then a chance meeting with someone with decks when I was 16 which got me instantly hooked. I got my own decks a year later and I've been playing ever since.
Can you describe your current DJ style?
My sound is always based in house music but I do swing deeper into disco and can take it up to techno and big room, but it always has swing and a funk element. I like all sorts of electronic music.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
I'd say making a career out of a hobby which I clearly love. I've seen the world, I've played some of the worlds best clubs too. Other than that, setting up my club night "Circus" and it going from a small party for me to play at to one of the UK's most respected and best events. and teaching myself to produce from scratch rather than use and engineer, for me, is something I'm proud of.
Are there any new producers or DJs breaking though onto the scene that have really impressed you and that we should be keeping an eye on?
people I've been supporting are Emerson Todd and Tim Green, great guys, great producers and even better DJs. Also Nick Curly, I know he's really come through now but I'm a fan of how he has developed his sound via his labels and prodcuctions.
Your debut album ‘A Collection of Scars & Situations’ has just been released. Do you feel that you've achieved what you set out to with this release?
I do actually. Its a broad spectrum of the electronic music I'm into. I've also managed to reflect my other styles too with "Moment of Clarity" and "Birthday Thoughts". If anything making this album has made me more ambitious about approching music and my next projects.
Will you be touring the album? Tell us about some of the locations you’re looking forward to playing?
Yes I'll be touring it all over, Fance, Spain and lots in Ibiza, all over the UK, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Asia, Australia, Peru, Brasil, Boston, Argentina, Amsterdam, Bubai and of course Liverpool :)
You’ve got some great collaboration on the album, particularly with Derrick Carter. How did this come about and what was it like to work with him?
Derrick is such a great guy. I had the vocal already from Derrick, I'd made the backing track sometime ago and thought it needed a vocal. so I chopped the vocal up, re editted it and made it multi layered with some harmonies. and it worked, Derrick said it was cool to use it and bingo, probably the stand out track on the album, and now signed to Renaissance for a full single release.
Did you ever expect your Circus club night and record label to get as big and as well respected as they have done?
Well, i knew i had the tools to make something good particularly with Richard McGinnis (Chibuku / Warehouse Project) as my co owner and co promoter of the club event. So we went for it, a small night went to a medium sized night to UK club of the year within 12 months..? I still do the bookings (for the most part) and Rich does the street with Lewis as out 3rd member. 7 years in now and we are rocking strong. Next line up is myself, Nic Fanciulli, Stephan Bodzin and Greg Wilson June 26th.
What else can we expect from Circus Recordings in the future?
More artists for sure. I'm going to start to develop the label like I did with the club, which was all about me, then I introduced other acts and DJs then watched it grow (thats the plan anway...?) next single release is a track taken from the album "Anti Hero" which comes with a dub from me and remixes from Spencer Parker and Andy Chatterley
You’re about to become one of the new residents for Matter, London adding to an already impressive resume that includes being resident for Ministry of Sound and Cream. Is this another dream come true?
I wouldnt say it was planned ambition but the venue itself is a dream come true. The tech spec, attention to detail and sound really is a dream come true. Its ridiculous. So yes, after residencies and Cream, Ministry of Sound and Renaissance (all at the same time at one point!) its good to get my first offical London residency since I moved down to London 18 months ago. I will be exclusive to matter in London (fesitval exceptions). I'm looking forward to ofering my input on all levels, using my promoting experiance too.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2009?
Touring, making music, getting fit, learning Spanish and I might go to the South Pole.
Finally, tell us something about yourself that not many people know?
I recently ran the London marathon for CALM (campagin against living miserably) it was the best and worst thing I've ever done. I raised nearly £5000 too :)