With two new EPs for his own label Intimacy fresh on the shelves, ROB CHADWICK catches up with the seemingly unstoppable Paul Woolford to talk about DJing, making music, and that track…
Hard work pays off. At least it seems to have done for Paul Woolford. The man who also goes by the name of Bobby Peru apparently never stops making or playing music. From his excellent album The Truth, released last year on 2020 Vision, to his more current tracks on his own label Intimacy, Paul makes a point of keeping the tracks coming without ever letting the quality slip. And the quality is top notch. Just ask any DJ – or maybe that should be every DJ – who played out his monster tune Erotic Discourse. There’s much more to Paul’s music than that tune, but it’s hard to ignore its presence, so…
Firstly, Erotic Discourse… seems a while ago since its release. Did you ever think it was ever going to be as popular as it is?
It was a complete surprise to me that it took on its own life and became the monster it did. It wasn’t done as a track – it was an experiment. I had intended to record the sound and sample chunks of it in the process of producing something else. I had completed a remix for Freeform Five, and when I muted the kick and that one sound, made a couple of changes and hit record, Erotic Discourse was what came out.
My good friend Justin Long from Chicago came to my house and heard the hard-disk recorder playing and said: “What IS that?” He insisted I burn him a CD to play himself. It went from there, until NYE 2005 when Andrew Weatherall walked over to me and said: “I’ve got to give you respect for Erotic Discourse.” Simultaneously I had a text from Ralph Lawson saying he heard Laurent Garnier and Francois K playing back to back at Canvas in London and it had the biggest reaction. It was crazy.
Stuart Macmillan from Slam said to me recently that at the time, every guest they had at Pressure played the track, bar none, which is quite surprising. Considering how the track came about, it really did take on it’s own life. Plus I had always wanted to make something quite extreme that really changed things and it made its presence felt.
Would you say that’s your defining moment in your career?
There was a point where you could say it defined my career but that’s no longer the case. I was careful not to follow it up with a rash of soundalike tracks, despite being told repeatedly by many other DJs and producers that I should – even by people who you would think would see that as a crass move. I had so many people saying: “You wanna do an album of it.” Crazy. That would have shown that my approach was short term as it would have been an obvious cash-in.
You make a much stronger impact by moving forward and advancing into fresh territory. The work I’m doing this year is easily the most defining material simply because of the quality of it – I’ve reworked tracks by Morgan Geist for Environ, Delphic for Polydor, Juan Maclean for DFA, Maps for Mute, DJ Hell, Skunk Anansie for One Little Indian, Chelonis R.Jones for Systematic, and I’m working with my biggest client – a band with a huge global following. All will be revealed on this one… I’m also in discussions with Delphic about some work on a mixtape idea where we construct a mix to represent their influences. So the scope is opening up wider than ever, which in turn influences me more and more. It’s easily the most exciting time yet.
You have residencies at Space in Ibiza and more recently Matter in London. What’s it like to have residencies at two leading clubs?
Both are world-class in terms of the way they are run, so you always know that certain things are going to be dealt with in the way they should be. The sound in all four of the main booths in both clubs is superb – which is initially the most important thing. To be given these residencies shows the faith that people have in you, and as my approach is to work from the heart rather than market myself into oblivion – which is swiftly becoming the norm across the scene – it’s good to know you are believed in.
You’ve recently had two productions on your label Intimacy with Pandemonium and Timebomb. Is it hard going producing while having such a demanding DJ schedule?
Well, there were four tracks on the two EPs and both releases made me new allies in terms of DJs, so it’s important that original material is always on the boil. It’s difficult to find the time – especially when you get into the height of summer and you feel like you’re in the eye of the storm with travelling, remixing, partying every now and then and maintaining a domestic home-life – but I thrive off the pressure of it all, and it feels so good to get another project done that you just want more. It’s a fine balance.
What was your initial idea when producing the flip of Darius Syrossian’s Caspian Man, a track which helped make a name for the label Breakoutaudio?
The initial idea, as with all my remixes, was basically to create a bomb. I had already in mind that I wanted to create something quite epic. Darius is a friend so I wanted to give him something that would really connect, and it went from there. I did the mix the week before a gig at Womb in Tokyo and the advent of this inspired me so much. Tokyo is an amazing environment.
Who are you listening to at the moment? Any DJs we should be looking out for?
I’m constantly seeking new Raresh and Villalobos DJ mixes – they are the two people who keep me interested and retain the groove.
What’s next for Paul Woolford?
I’m putting together the release schedule for Intimacy, so there’s a killer deep techno track by Psycatron which I’m working on a re-rub of. There’s also something more house-based by the in-form Saab Kastrati, and the Jet Project are coming on board. Plus there’s something huge by a very well-known producer who has delivered an absolute bomb – all will be revealed… I’m also finalising two new EPs of the dancefloor material, and my remixes of Juan Maclean for DFA have just been sent out. After that will be the track by DJ Hell featuring Diddy called The DJ. Also I’ve done some work for Casio G-Shock – they’ve produced a watch with some design ideas I suggested – they’re selling it as a limited edition in their store on Carnaby Street in London. And my website is finally under construction – in the meantime check myspace, facebook and twitter for updates on fresh material…