After graduation in 2004 Jules Buckley with his artistic producer friend Chris Wheeler, founded The Heritage Orchestra, a 45-60 piece non-classical orchestra, unique in its use of sound, visuals and electronics. It would go on to rock out arenas, mess with other people’s music and keep orchestral tradition in the cellar. Jules explains “as a renegade ensemble, we wanted to smash the stupid formalities of the concert hall. We wanted to take beats and bass lines by non-classical orchestras into the club.”
The first Heritage Orchestra gig was at Cargo, Shoreditch and it was here that they caught the eyes and ears of BBC Radio 1’s Gilles Peterson. As Jules fondly recalls “Without Gilles we wouldn’t be where we are now.” Peterson invited them to play a Radio 1 Maida Vale session in early 2005, and that same summer booked them to play the Montreux Jazz Festival. Jules continues, “At the time we couldn’t afford the flights or hotel, so we took a vote and drove twenty hours there, and twenty hours back in a bus!” The Heritage Orchestra signed to Peterson’s Brownswood label and released their debut album.
In 2009 Jules and the Heritage Orchestra featured with Dizzee Rascal at the Electric Proms, before making their full BBC Proms debut in 2010 collaborating with Jamie Cullum. They have returned each year since to present a string of high profile performances with some of the worlds biggest names across many musical genres. Notable BBC Prom highlights include; 2015’s collaboration with DJ sensation Pete Tong on ‘Late Night with Radio 1’ - an homage to Ibiza club music, 2017’s ‘The Songs of Scott Walker’ featuring Jarvis Cocker, John Grant and Richard Hawley - the project endorsed by the late icon, and 2018’s ‘New York: Sound Of A City’ which brought together special guests Serpentwithfeet, Hercules and Love Affair, Sharon Van Etten and Nitty Scott in a collision of genres underscoring just what a musical revolutionist he is.
The successful collaboration with Pete Tong continued with Jules orchestrating and conducting the major label released ‘Classic House’ (2016) and ‘Ibiza Classics’ (2017) albums, reaching No.1 in the UK album charts and UK Dance music charts respectively. The accompanying tours with Tong and the Heritage Orchestra regularly sell-out arenas world wide.
Other live projects conducted by Jules and performed by the Heritage Orchestra include ‘Live_Transmission’ - a Joy Division remix project, ‘Moroder Reworked’ - an epic electro-orchestral tribute to the godfather of EDM in front of a sold out Sydney Opera House, and three Meltdown Festivals curated by Massive Attack (2008), David Byrne (2015) and 2014’s James Lavelle curation that saw the orchestra collaborate with drum and bass icon, Goldie.
In 2020, Jules reunited with Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra to exclusively perform ‘Ibiza Classics Unplugged’, a stripped back piano medley of dance classics for BBC Radio 1’s Piano sessions.