To celebrate its release, mobilee is offering a host of material exclusively to RA readers. Over the course of the month, you'll have the chance to grab four mp3s from Back to Back Vol. 3, a new mix from Miss Jools, tickets to mobilee's WMC party, tickets to their Sonar party and free copies of Back to Back Vol. 3. Each Friday, we'll have a little something new to offer you, so be sure to check back throughout the month. First up, though, we talked to the woman behind the compilation: Miss Jools.
Jools began her career in London, spending a decade-and-a-half learning the DJ business in the capital, moving through the ranks to become an integral part of the city's scene with her celebrated Clandestino night at The End. Eager to keep moving to that proverbial next level, though, Jools recently relocated to Berlin and honed her fledgling production skills—which had only been showcased in tandem with Audiofly as part of the Sleeper Thief project. And the result was a well-received recent 12-inch for mobilee.
But, as Jools will tell you quite readily, she's still learning the ropes of the production game. For those looking to gain an insight into Jools' inspirations, though, you need look no further than her picks to remix some of mobilee's vaunted back catalogue for the imprint's Back to Back Vol. 3. We caught up with Jools to talk about all of these aspects of her career, and much more in early March.
How was the weekend? You had a rare one off, right?
Yeah! It's always a bit dangerous when I have a weekend off especially when I'm here in Berlin. There's always too much to do.
It's been a while since you've moved to Berlin now. How are you liking it now that you've settled in?
It's been a year now and, to be honest, I can't believe how fast it's gone. I'm absolutely made up with my decision to come here. It was a perfect move. I have no regrets and everything has really worked out here.
What was the decision to move there based upon?
I had been in London for 15 years and I really love the city, but I can just sum it up by saying that I was just feeling too comfortable. Everything was too familiar. I had pretty much played everywhere and I needed new inspirations and, to be honest, a kick up the ass.
It was too easy in London—everything was cool, but I just I really needed to go up another gear. Obviously there is a lot of great talent in London, but you're completely surrounded by it in Berlin.
Miss Jools at Sonar 2008
I moved to London in 1994, but I first got into the scene in 1993 or so and was listening to people like Frankie Knuckles and Tony Humphries—the more soulful side of things. It wasn't about the techno scene for me back then. Chicago and the West Coast style were some of my first inspirations.
I recently listened to the Tony Humphries Moments in House mix and was struck by how amazing that sound was back in the mid-'90s.
Yeah, it's always been about techno here [in Berlin], but I'm proud that I came from a different background totally. Tony Humphries was a big inspiration for me in the early '90s.
When you started doing Clandestino at The End in the early '00s, was that an inspiration for it?
No. When I started to do Clandestino six years ago, it was a really good platform for me to play the sort of music that I wanted to play. Before that, I was playing a lot of tech house and soulful stuff. Clandestino was great because I was just getting into the sound that I wanted to play and it never was based on that soulful sort of structure. Back then—six years ago—I had that freedom to play more on the electronic side of things.
What were you playing before that?
In the years before, I was playing the music that I wanted to play of course, but it was more on the soulful side of things and I was feeling that I wasn't playing this deeper and darker sound that I wanted to get at. I felt like I had gone through my deeper house and soulful house phase by that point.
How did you meet up with the Audiofly guys and begin the Sleeper Thief project?
We were friends before. I've known Anthony for a long time—we were partying like then years ago together when I first came to London. It was a cool collaboration because the boys were already in the studio and I came in and had that new passion to go into the studio. I was just speaking to them at the right time and thought that it'd be cool if we went into the studio together and tossed around some ideas. And it worked.
What did you learn from them production-wise?
They gave me the chance to come into the studio and find my feet. We brought our two sounds to the table and merged it into something else altogether, which was really exciting.
Ten '80s and '90s Favorites
Evelyn King - Love Come Down
This was one of my first 7-inches I went out and bought with my own money. It still makes me smile when I hear it all these years on.
Soul II Soul- Keep On Moving
Soul II Soul was one of the most respected bands to come out of London in the late '80s. I was a huge fan of Jazzy B's inspirational aphorisms: "A happy face, a thumping bass, to a loving race."
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
Beautiful and timeless, complex yet simple. Shara Nelson's lyrics, "Like a soul without a mind, in a body without a heart, I'm missing every part," still touch me today. Classic.
Chaka Khan- I Feel For You
Chaka Khan was always being played at home by either my sister or my mum. Rightly titled the "Queen of Funk Soul," this track is one of my most favorites.
Grandmaster Flash- White Lines (Don't Do It)
I was 12 years old when this was released in 1983 and I still remember the impact it had. I have memories of driving my sister crazy until she eventually gave in and explained to me what the lyrics actually meant.
Happy Mondays - Loose Fit
I had just left home and had started college in the late '80s when I was introduced to this quirky alternative rock band from the north of England. They signified new found freedom and new personal experiences for me.
De La Soul - Me, Myself and I
I was a huge fan of De La Soul in the late '80s. "Me, Myself and I," pretty much established the group's characteristic style of combining hip-hop with humor and social commentary.
I went through a Blondie phase in my early teens. I even bleached my hair to try to get the Debbie Harry look! "Rapture" is one of my favorite tracks from them—and one of the earliest rap-influenced songs to achieve mainstream success in the States.
Bill Withers - Lovely Day
Maybe it's the hopeless romantic in me, but I can't help but feel good inside whenever I hear this song. I will always admire Withers and his understated rootsy style and humbleness as a musician.
Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper
One of my female heroes from the '80s. I still remember the crazy controversy over the lyrics, which were "too sexual." Of course they were!
Absolutely. We did some Sleeper Thief remixes. I've only been in the studio for a few years and I would still definitely call myself a baby in that respect. I wouldn't call myself a full-on producer because DJing has always been my first love. But now I'm finding myself in the studio more and am loving it.
What made you decide to go solo production-wise?
I think it was simply because we got to the point that it was impossible to continue doing Sleeper Thief with the boys moving to Barcelona and our busy DJ schedules. And I always felt that—even though I would have loved to have done Sleeper Thief for a while longer—it was a natural progression to do solo stuff.
Tell me about this compilation, Back to Back 3. Obviously you've picked these artists on the second disc to remix mobilee tracks. Did you simply draw up a list of your favorite producers and contact them to see if they'd be interested?
Basically, yeah. The concept was a bit different from previous compilations—to bring in non-mobilee artists. And I simply thought of the artists that I really admire and was lucky enough to know many of them on a personal level as well, so it was just contacting them and seeing if they'd be up for doing a remix.
At the risk of offending everyone else, who was number one on your list of people to contribute?
[laughs] To be honest, it was a fine line between Cassy and Dinky. These are two ladies that I totally fucking respect in the industry. Without shooting myself in the foot, I'd have to say it was those two.
Who were you most surprised by when the remixes were turned in? Did anyone turn in a remix that didn't exactly sound like what you would normally expect?
I actually talked to Cassy about this and I love her remix; it's different than a lot of her productions. It's darker for sure, but it absolutely works! Part of the beauty of this project was giving everybody total freedom—and I was really happy with the results.
The Back to Back tour has already started. Are there any cities that you're particularly excited to get back to—or see for the first time?
The tour is going really well so far. And I'm really excited to go to Spain in a few weeks. I'm going back to St. Petersburg this weekend, which I'm really happy about—and America as well.
I like this tour especially because I'm always traveling with at least one other person from mobilee and it's nice to play with a lot of the other people on the label. I'll play with Sebo somewhere and then Pan-Pot somewhere else, with each having such different styles.
Last question for you: Describe your DJing style in five words or less.
Deep, groovy, sexy, quality house music.
I think that's six.
Ah, you got me there! [laughs]
01. Pan-Pot - Ape Shall Never Kill Ape (Marco Resmann Remix)
02. Russ Gabriel – React (Dinky Edit)
03. Pan-Pot feat. Hugh Betcha – Charly (Tex Mex Solomun Edit)
04. Available on March 27th
Download: Miss Jools promo mix (right click + save link/target as)
Filesize: 66MB. Length: 1:11:51
01. Sasha Dive - Kranviz Tee's - Raum Musik
02. Christian Burkhardt - As In feat. Ray Okpara - Oslo
03. Anja Schneider - Get Away (Christian Burkhardt Remix) - mobilee
04. Timid Boy - La Nuit - Time Has Changed
05. Miss Jools - Pixie in the Fridge - Catwash
06. So Inagawa - You Trip Me Up - Relaxine
07. GummiHz - Los Los (D'Julz Remix) - mobilee
08. Cally - Farmacistul - Fear of Flying
09. Cally - 20 Hours Left - Fear of Flying
10. Kerri Chandler - Pong (Ben Klock Remixes) - Deeply Rooted
11. Masaya - Matilda – Mina