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INTERVIEW

JULIEN SIMMONS

11-02-2021

Julien Simmons is a well known regular in the Amsterdam Underground scene. With past performances at Radio Radio, Lowlands, Lovelee, Radion and many many more. Julien establishes himself as a reliable and uitspoken artist, Dj and music lover. Next to that he’s been a programmer for a variety of clubs for years now. Our Team took some time to have a small chat with Julien and question him about some of his whereabouts and activities.

Hi Julien! Thank you for having us. You have been around quite a lot, but could you introduce yourself once more for our readers?
“Hi, I’m Julien Simmons, 32 years old. I have been running around in Amsterdam’s nightlife for many years now. I started working in the nightlife scene when I was about 18 years old and worked at places like Bitterzoet and the Bloemenbar. I was one of the co-founders of club Claire Amsterdam. I came into contact with house music when I was around the age of 17. That particular interest never left after that.”

How did your passion for DJing start?
“I always thought djing was interesting. When I grew up and for instance saw a DJ playing at a highschool party I immediately thought that playing records was something I wanted to try myself. When I was 14/15 years old I tried to mix some records at a friends house and that interest only grew. I bought my first turntables when I was 18 and always kept them close.”

How would you define your sound?
“When I play it is mainly a mix of House, Disco, Breaks & Minimal. But my musical interest is a bit broader, think of soul, funk, boogie, electro, techno & hip hop. So you could also hear those influences in my DJ sets.”

What is the ideal setting and sound at a party?
“Good question! The ideal setting can be anything. If I had to choose between a festival or club, I think I would choose the club. Probably related to the nocturnal creature in me. Furthermore, it is always nice if the audience responds well to the music and there’s a right mix of enthusiasts, dancers and especially nice people. An open minded dance floor is also essential. Respect each other and enjoy the evening.

In terms of music, that can also vary a lot. I think I like 90’s House the most, but with trips to e.g. disco or techno I can also have a perfect evening.”

It is most vital that a DJ feels the vibe during those moments. What makes a good DJ, in your opinion?
“Being able to read the audience, but at the same time stay with your own sound. The most interesting thing about playing is to convince people with your taste in music without being too much of a crowd pleaser or sticking to your own style too much. For example, I enjoy listening to DJs who play music that I wouldn’t play that quickly myself, but DJs that give me a lot of energy and therefore also inspire me. David Vunk or a Dixon are examples of this.”

 Who are the artists that have inspired you along your musical career?
“That is a pretty long list, but these names have inspired me the most along the way;

Benny Rodrigues, Antal, Ron Trent, Boo Williams, Cinema Royale, Max Abysmal, Kléo, Dyed Soundorom, Tama Sumo, Omar-S, Kerri Chandler, Elias Mazian, the Slapfunk crew, Juri Miralles, Carlos Valdes & Sandrien, Boris Werner, Dām-FunK and Moodymann.”

You’re also very busy giving artists a stage at Lovelee, can you tell us a little more about your work and the Lovelee Radio station?
“Certainly in these times I find it important that DJs, artists, producers, etc. still make themselves heard. Because of Covid-19, the clubs are closed and there are little to no places where artists have a place to express themselves.

I am happy to have the opportunity to still be able to offer this podium. Inspired by places like Operator Radio, Red light Radio and Radio Nachtlab, we started this place as an extension of the club. It is currently mainly focused on DJ sets, but we want to expand this place to a place where DJ and production lessons are given, but also podcasts are recorded and, if necessary, mini concerts could take place.”

Next to your work at Lovelee we’re interested in Lovelee as a club, how did you end up as the programmer and what is Lovelee’s mission in the Amsterdam club scene?
“We want to create a place that is more than just a nightclub. It must become a place where (young) talent can develop artistically. This is done by organizing dance lessons and exhibitions in addition to club evenings or concerts. We also encourage social and artistic freedom of our target audience. For example, come along however you want, as long as your energy is good and you respect all the people on the dance floor. Something that sounds logical but is not always the case.

In my view there are many different scenes, but few places where that becomes one whole. Musically we mainly focus on House & Disco, but there is also room for other genres. Something that also suits me well. When I was asked to become a programmer, I was immediately enthusiastic to take on that new adventure. The disadvantage is of course that we only had 4 months to put this on the map because of Covid-19. I hope that when the Corona woes are over, we can still do this.”

Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
“Sfeertje.”

Sfeertje indeed. Thanks for the interview and really looking forward to all the great stories you and Lovelee are still going to write!

NEXT UP

Julien Simmons will perform a b2b set at Quarantaine FM on the 21st of February. Expect bangers and make sure to tune in from 15:00 – 18:00.

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