3 min

Fixture at The Odyssey

DJ Jules has staying power

PERENNIAL TALENT. His Winnipeg start in DJing was terrifying, but DJ Jules is a longtime draw at Vancouver's gay dance club. Credit: TJ Ngan

Michel Venus: So how the hell are you and what is new Mr Magoo?

DJ Jules: I’m doing very well, thank you. Now, if you’d ask me what’s new a few months from now I’d be able to tell you I’ve just purchased my first condo.

MV: How long have you been a DJ and how on earth did you become one?

DJ: I’ve been DJing for approximately 20 years now. Actually, how I got started is a funny story. At 18, I was working as a busboy in a gay bar in Winnipeg. Before I came out, I had the misfortune of finding out that disco sucked and that it died. To my surprise, when I came out there was a world where dance music was still alive and well in the community.

At the bar I was working at, there was a DJ, not mentioning any names, who still worked with two tape decks-hell to mix with-and who kept up with the latest tunes of the day. I was on a mission-to find out what the names of my ‘new favorites’ were whenever he went shopping.

Anyway, one evening he decided not to show up for work but had left his equipment and his music collection behind. I was told to get up there and start playing for the evening. Well, you can imagine that I was a little frightened and that I protested because I had never done that before. But after a little coaxing from the bar manager, I decided to DJ for the very first time. I loved it!

Soon after, I became friends with DJ Eldon Keller-no relation to Helen-who worked at the other gay bar in Winnipeg. He took me under his wing and showed me the basics of mixing with two turntables.

MV: What are your favorite things about being a DJ and is there anything that sucks about it?

DJ: My favourite thing about DJing would be watching the crowd having fun. There’s nothing better than seeing and hearing the crowd go nuts over a song. I guess the thing that sucks the most is when the new song you’ve just put on has flopped and you know the crowd will be asking you to play this song to death as soon as they hear it on the radio or see the damn video. I would say that bugs me the most.

MV: Tell me the craziest thing that has happened in your booth-and don’t hold back Mary!

DJ: I had just received a raise and it was also the last night my light man was going to be working with me because he had been promoted to manager of the Odyssey. Well, to make a long story short, I had not told him that I only had a bowl of soup for lunch that day. He decided to party with me by drinking way too many sambuca shooters.

After what seemed to be 15 to 20 shooters each, I had lost all memory of what happened that evening. I was sicker than a dog. I think I had alcohol poisoning because I was sick for approximately a week. I can’t stand sambuca. When it comes to sexual escapades in the DJ booth, I’d rather tell you personally instead of having it in print.

MV: Gimme a brief summary of your life until this very moment.

DJ: Brief? I came to Vancouver for a visit in 1984. I stayed with DJ Mark Falco who was working at the Odyssey at that time. The manager tried to convince me to pack up and move to Vancouver with a guaranteed job. I moved here 14 years ago and still work at the Odyssey.

MV: What are your favourite sounds of all time and what songs are you are sick to death of playing or getting requested?

DJ: My favourite sounds would be Disco House. I just love those deep funky bass lines that are so easy to groove to. I’m tired of playing Madonna & Beyonce so please, people, stop requesting these tired tunes.

MV: What changes do you think may happen within the gay club scene?

DJ: It can only get better. Finally, Vancouver is getting exposed to the circuit scene, thanks to groups like the lovely people at TWP. I know having live musicians jamming with the DJ has been done before, but I feel it needs a comeback.

MV: Occasionally you do drag and it’s usually Divine. Why is she so amazing?

DJ: I love good drag queens. I’m a big fan of the art form. Why Divine? She’s got to be the biggest one I know (no pun intended). I grew up watching John Waters’ films, which she starred in. I love quoting passages from her movies. I think she was so avant-garde. She brought new meaning to shock value. There will never be another one like her. Whenever I do drag, I’m actually paying homage to Divine.

MV: Finally: what is you favourite sex act? Please be very descriptive!

DJ: Sixty-nine. Is that descriptive enough?