POSTCARDS FROM 88… Judge Jules

There’s no doubt that the summer of 1988 marked a watershed moment in the history of dance, as the house rhythms of Chicago, artistic exuberance of Ibiza, and electronic soundscapes of Detroit surged through club culture. Acid house had arrived.

With this in mind, 909originals presents ‘Postcards from 88’, a series that sees leading DJs, promoters, journalists, club owners, photographers, and of course the clubbers themselves, shed some light on just what went on during those halcyon days, 30 years ago.

This week’s ‘Postcards from 88’ comes from legal-eagle-turned-international-superstar Julius O’Riordan, better known as Judge Jules.

Do you remember what you were doing as the Summer of 1988 started?

When 1988 started I’d been doing a lot of warehouse parties; I had been a promoter and DJ for the previous three years. House records didn’t start appearing until 1986, or in any great quantity until 88, so in 1988, there was a perfect storm, of a very buoyant underground music scene and great tunes.

When or where did you first realise that ‘something different’ was happening with music?

There was a slow evolution towards something different, in that we started to see house records appearing and getting more popular, particularly in the Hacienda, where I went on a couple of occasions and saw the indie records of the time being played alongside house music. It was only when there was a sufficient volume of good releases that whole nights could be created out of house music, rather than just as individual parts of DJs’ sets.

Why do you think that people are still so interested in the origins of the dance scene, old school and everything that goes with it?

I think it’s because it went from being such a ‘them and us’ sort of scenario, with events put on by small promoters, to a multi-billion pound/dollar industry that’s truly global, and has been bought into by all the significant corporate promoters, like Live Nation. It was the seed of something that grew to be absolutely enormous culturally.

If the ‘you’ from 1988 could give the ‘you’ from 2018 a piece of music-related advice, what would it be?

It would probably relate to making records. As a producer, you learn your craft over a period of time, and I reckon I could have made some amazing records in that style, if I knew now what I knew then. What I knew then wasn’t nearly as much as the producers did at the time… especially those from Chicago.

More information on Judge Jules, including upcoming gigs, can be found at

‘Postcards from 88’ continues next week.

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