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Interview + Premiere: Yousef Talks 15 Years Of Circus Recordings, Shares 'How Did I Get Here'

Yousef opens up on getting Carl Cox on the compilation and much more.


UK-based producer, DJ and label owner, Yousef is coming up on a major milestone. This year he is celebrating 15 years of his own record label Circus Recordings and is putting together a massive compilation for the occasion. The compilation features the likes of Carl Cox, Jamie Jones, Sasha and Hot Since 82. He also made the final and 15th track on the compilation, “How Did I Get Here,” which we have for you today.

“How Did I Get Here” has the strong rolling tech groove you expect from a Yousef single with percussion rattling in the background and occasional synth stabs. It ties together the compilation perfectly like the rug in your room.

We chatted with Yousef about the compilation to see how easy it was to get a new one from Carl Cox, big moments for the label and more. 

Circus 15 will be released this Friday, September 29th. Listen to "How Did I Get Here" below. 

How did you choose the tracks on the compilation?

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The tracks chose the compilation so to speak, I gathered the names and asked them to just be themselves, or feel free to head in any direction. There was one or two I had to decline but overall the first track the guys sent I was happy with. 

Was it tough getting some people like Carl Cox to make a track for this? Any interesting behind the scenes stories to make it happen?

It was incredibly challenging getting so many major artists to align their schedules but given the relationships I have with them all it wasn’t going to be impossible, tbh Coxy was by far the easiest to convince, I called him, “can you make me a track” – Yes, ok cool. No PR plan compilations just let’s go…

What is something you know now about owning a label that you wish you knew back when you started it?

My understanding and appreciation of owning a label evolves over time, as my knowledge grows as does my ambition for it so things are where they should be.

What would be your advice to someone looking to start their own label today?

Have a point or a reason and make sure you treat the artists with respect and account to them, even if you are tiny run a tight ship.

Building a successful label takes a long time and a lot of work. But was there one moment or one track that really made it apparent that this would be successful?

It goes without saying that releasing Green Velvet ‘Bigger Than Prince’ was a pivotal moment for Circus Recordings (and Hot Since 82!) the trick is finding more hits that are within the realms of what Circus is about, that’s the hard part!

Are there other labels you draw inspiration from?

Yes, for certain. Cocoon and Crosstown Rebels. Both have wide musical pallets and contribute enormously to the landscape of global electronic music in a very charismatic way.

What is the biggest problem you see with the demos you get today?

People always rush projects. The competition to have music signed is so fierce that unless you have your music mixed down very well and then mastered and tested out before sending demos out they you are going to get lost of the noise. I know this is further financial investment but that’s what it takes now,

What should people expect from the next year, 5 years or even 15 years of Circus Recordings?

A much more musically expansive output, more albums and I’d like to build a team collective too.

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