Yousef 'Think Twice' Interview Feature - Traxsource Exclusive
With another excellent release landing in Defected Records lap from Yousef since ‘Beg’ (which featured Hot Since 22 on the remix), We managed to get some time out of his hectic life to chat about the new release, his label & more
Yousef, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us – How’s life after ‘Beg’ been, and where do you hope ‘Think Twice’ will take you?
Life is good thanks, I’m literally always working on the next creative project, whether it be music, the label, my events or my main pride my DJing, I’m always up to something. ‘Beg’ was a keen spot by Defected, who took it from my artist album ‘A Product of your Environment’ on my label, Circus Recordings, which is where ‘Think Twice’ comes from as well. So life after ‘Beg’ is all smiles as it went global, everywhere I played I was asked for it. I’ve not had that since my tracks ‘Come Home’ on Cocoon or ‘Legacy’ on Circus Recordings.
You’ve released on many labels, especially your own, Circus Recordings. What made you go with the venerable Defected this time?
I’ve known Simon Dunmore from Defected since he was at AMPM and I used to blag free records from him. I know nobody at a independent record label knows how to put music away like he does, and I was and still am hugely impressed with the fact he has 16 staff at an independent record label. I knew he does an incredible job of getting music to a wider audience. Plus Defected has opened up musically (hence my invitation) so it’s great time for them.
Let’s talk a bit more about the song. What inspired ‘Think Twice’ and it’s lyrical content? Is there a double meaning to its title?
No double meaning at all actually. The song I wrote some years ago while thinking about the nature of the clique and how in so many fields (particularly music) people are always trying to fit in, to be cool, or appear cool instead of being the coolest thing in the world, which is being themselves and dedicating your path to your choices and rising above the gossip and nonsense and taking pride in your own self esteem. Thinking twice essentially means checking yourself and making honest decisions.
How was it working with Alexander East on vocals and Fred Everything & Catz n Dogz on remixes?
Alex I’ve been a fan of for as long as I’ve been buying music, ‘Jest for me’ is one of my favourite tracks of all time. I remembered in 2001 I wanted to license it for a comp I was doing and DMC couldn’t get the nod so I managed to get in touch with him and talk him into it. 4 years ago when I wrote the lyrics to ‘Think Twice’ I contacted Alex and asked him to sing what I’d wrote.
So I made a melody and sent the lyrics to Alex and he recorded them for me in Chicago and sent them back and chopped them up into what we have in the original version. C&D and Fred are friends too, Defected suggested Fred and I thought it was a great idea, and it’s a great remix. C&D play for me in Liverpool at my event Circus so I asked them if they could do it for me, they kindly agreed and it’s their only remix in 2013!
Back to the label: it’s been ten years of Circus Recordings…what is next for you & your label?
It’s actually ten years of the club events and coming up to 5 years for the label. The label has started the same way as the club did, small and based around me. We’ve moved forward just as quickly on this as we did with the event, building bigger to get more and more artists involved but always balancing fresh talent with the established. We’re consolidating Circus, so that the artwork, the vibe, everything all relates, and the label is now truly a reflection of that.
We’re marking the fifth anniversary of the label soon. When Circus the club turned ten last year it was an obvious choice to start doing a series of parties around that, Circus X, so again it seemed obvious that we got some friends involved in the night over those ten years to give a track for a compilation on the label, also called Circus X. Fortunately those friends are DJ Sneak, Nic Fanicuilli, Green Velvet, Tim Green, Nick Curly, Carl Cox, Guti, Davide Squillace and Tim Green! I’ll be making their beats available both unmixed and also mixed by myself for a true reflection of what goes down musically in the club.
And that’s just the first part one, we’ve got Steve Lawler, Kerri Chandler, Paul Ritch and Scuba, as well as a few others, lined up to do part two. But that’s not it, we will also be getting new music out from exciting new producers like David Glass, who fell in love with dance music on the Circus dance floor, Charles Ramirez, a great Swedish producer called Bambook, and more as well to come.
You have a huge and devoted fan base. Tell them something fun they don’t already know about you.
On my recent stag party my friend (un be known to me, but gratefully welcomed), when I was less than sober (totally out the game….) presented me with his gift. It was two midgets dressed as ET and Spaceman. I was dressed as a tier cake at the time. They hand cuffed me to the little gents and we set off around the manor house we had hired for the weekend.
In honesty, I’m not a caner in any way, but that weekend was beyond ridiculous. Relentless. Extraordinary.
Yousef Latest Release
‘Think Twice’ is out now on Defected Records