THE BIRDHOUSE 096: Yousef Interview

To celebrate the 15th year of his seminal label Circus Recordings, Yousef is throwing 15 events around the world – and I’m pumped to be joining him at the Circus party in his native Liverpool in just over a week. 

For house and techno fans, Yousef Zaher needs very little introduction. He’s been one of the most prolific producers in the game since his very first release, alongside Sharam, in 1999. Since then, he’s has worked with greats like Gene Farris, Carl Cox, Nic Fanciulli and Derrick Carter. And that’s just on originals– his “Circus Reworks” of other tracks are notorious among DJs and fans alike.

Ahead of our performance on the 21st, I’m excited to welcome Yousef to THE BIRDHOUSE and to learn a little more about him in our Questionnaire. Listen to this week’s episode and read the interview below!

THE REAL

How did your music career get started in earnest?

I was DJing in Liverpool for some years and then won an international DJ competition, which opened a couple doors in my very early days. I went on to kick a lot more doors open, began Circus [events] Circus Recordings, set up my studio and have been touring the globe DJing since 1998. 

Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?

I’m from Liverpool, and I would say the strength of its club scene for my entire clubbing life has been extremely influential. The city has alway had a strong music scene since the 1950s, our thirst for a great night out will never be quenched!

How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?

guess just before things kicked off… I had been DJing for seven years and couldn't get further than locally but, as they say, its usually darkest before the dawn. The moment I wanted to quit, things exploded.  

What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?

Three Technics 1200s. My DJ sound was always very technical, so I was cutting, juggling, and long blending house and techno in the style of my heroes Carl Cox, Roger S. and Derrick Carter. And I still am! But now I’m on four CDJ-2000s. 

When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?

See above! 

When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?

Meditate, go for a run and hang out with my family. They are the best antidote to a life on the road.

Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?

With my son messing around, or when I truly connect with n audience playing new music and they are having a great time – it feels great being spontaneous. 

Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?

Do vipassana meditation, and run for various homeless and mental illness charities. [That's awesome, dood. –CVS.]

THE REST

Favorite and least favorite colors?

Purple is my signature color, and 'm not a “least fave” person.

Favorite and least favorite words?

Fave is “ridiculous”. Least? I don’t have one, maybe “negative”. 

Favorite animal?

Himalayan angel goat toad. they can communicate through sign language and telepathy and are great dancers.

Favorite guilty pleasure food?

Cheetos... those dirty little orange bastards can't be doing you any good.

Favorite guilty pleasure song?

Bonnie Tyler, “I Need A Hero”. 

German or Detroit techno?

Detroit. 

Festival, club or illegal warehouse?

All three. 

Biggie or Tupac?

Biggie.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Wars!

Exercise or Netflix?

Exercise.