One issue that Ears To The House used to cover quite a bit in our early days was plague raves. For the benefit of newer readers, allow us to explain – plague raves were usually illegal events that took place during the height of the pandemic, normally without any safety measures in place.
Thankfully, the era of social distancing, face masks, and hand sanitiser being a highly prized commodity is in the past now – we’re certainly not missing it. But one thing that we noticed at the time was how utterly reluctant most of the scene was to discuss the issue – with the exception of Carl Cox, few others had anything to say about them.
So why the silence? The answer is pretty simple – the higher echelon DJ world is quite a small, incestuous place. They don’t usually want to risk saying anything controversial, just in case they land their own friends and rivals in the brown stuff. So it’s curious that Judge Jules – basically the equivalent of an EDM superstar around the turn of the millennium – only has something to say on the topic now.
Speaking to Juno Daily, the painfully stage-managed interview veered briefly onto the subject of plague raves, and Jules – real name Julius O’Riordan – had one brief line on the topic before heading back to what he wanted to promote…
“It’s such a basic human need, the need to be together with other people that you can’t blame anyone for ignoring those rules.”
O’Riordan started out his DJing career in the 1980s, playing and promoting illegal raves in and around London – so to see him staying “you can’t blame anyone for ignoring those rules” is no great shock. But Ears To The House suspects that deep down, the lawyer within him knew he could get slated for this line even two years after the event.
There is, however, one section in this article which is rather unclear – it says “his status as a lawyer means he would have had to have turned down any invitations to appear”. Now, to the best of our knowledge, O’Riordan didn’t play any plague raves during the pandemic – and the few events he played ahead of England’s nightlife reopening in July 2021 did comply with legal restrictions in place at the time.
But the wording here implies that he was asked to play at a plague rave at least once. Judge Jules has been contacted by Ears To The House for clarity on this point – but the fact that he hasn’t complained once about the words used here suggests that our reading of this is accurate.
Nonetheless, the careful wording that O’Riordan himself used in his answer reveals one illuminating fact – namely that it’ll be a long, long time before some of the newer DJs speak their thoughts on the subject…