Paul Woolford is definitely an artist to keep your eyes open for. His top quality productions under the guises of Hip Therapist, Wooly and Bobby Peru in particular have been nothing short of brilliant, and in the same vein, his work behind the decks is equally as impressive. So much so, that the Ibiza season just passed saw Paul resident at one of the most respected clubs in the world, Space Ibiza. It is a sure sign that this young man is doing something very right, so we thought we would ask him a few questions that would uncover his recipe for success.
There is no doubt that your popularity is on the increase. Is there a point in time or something in particular that you see as the turning point in your ever growing status?
Well there was definitely a moment last year when I took stock and decided that I didn't have enough control over my career. I went through a series of things that could be attributed to a combination of bad management and in myself, not being assertive enough to deal with it. I had a few moments of clarity and decided to get in the driving seat, part of which entailed assembling the right team around me to take care of the things that get in the way of being creative. My attitude change was the catalyst for most of what has happened since then.
You are considered a DJ and Producer equally. How hard is it for you to balance both arts and are you considering favouring one or the other in the near or distant future?
Time is the factor which is difficult because spending it travelling every week takes it out of you. My approach is based on if I'm inspired 100%, so I don't bother with the studio for any other reason but it can become troublesome if you have 3 days only before you have to go away again and you're stuck into something. Occasionally I have a brief hiatus from the studio and spend a few weeks focusing solely on DJ’ing but I find that I get cranky if I don't create for too long. At the moment I have no plans to favour one over the other. I've never been one to take everything I'm offered anyway, so time being a factor just helps me make the right decisions, and this applies more so with remixes. It has become obvious what to take and what to turn down.
How was the experience of being a resident at Space in Ibiza, and how did it all come about?
It's been excellent, very satisfying and very rewarding mentally. It's also been very interesting and has toughened me up a little. It came about through playing one gig on the terrace at Space for the last 3 years as a part of Back to Basics which is my UK residency. Last year my set time was bumped up from 5pm to 8-10pm because Lottie had missed her flight, and I had the right music and the time was right for me to go for it completely. It worked and that, combined with my change of heart in terms of my attitude was the moment where I tested myself. I actually suggested it to Darren Hughes half jokingly, and he chewed it over and said it was possible on the spot, and then we discussed it in detail over a period of months which was as exciting as it was excruciating, as obviously I could tell no-one until it was fully agreed.
You were the resident alongside Nic Fanciulli. What are your thoughts on Nic as a DJ?
Nic is an outstanding DJ whom I have a lot of respect for. Our approaches are very different yet we often overlap musically so when I hear him play it's interesting to get a different take both on those records that we both play, and then the records that maybe I wouldn't go for. I have total 100% trust in him and what he does.
Ibiza is full of fantastic bodies during the summer. Do you hit the G-Y-M to keep in shape and keep a balance with the DJ’ing lifestyle? Apart from Morales' impressive guns, who is the biggest GYM junkie on the DJ’ing circuit?
I have joined a gym but the only part I've explored properly is the pool and steam room so far... perhaps it's about time I went into the other realms! As far as who the biggest gym junkie is, I have no idea...
We recently saw Kate Moss in a bit of trouble due to bad press coverage. With press coverage of dance music as strong as it’s ever been, are DJs having to be more careful about their partying antics?
Well I hardly think it would be front page news if some tabloid exposed that DJs take drugs. There's so much hypocrisy with it all. It wasn't "news" that Kate Moss was doing what she was doing, and I think that many of the companies that employ her do that knowing her reputation and the edge that she brings. The music industry is ripe with stories and a culture of celebrating excess but at the end of the day it's all bollocks if the music isn't up to it. That's the most important thing.
What can you tell us in the way of upcoming productions?
I have just finished some remixes of a new Underworld track called "JAL To Tokyo". This has been the focus for me, and I've put more time into it than any other project. It will be available as a download first of all in Japan only on iTunes over there, and then on Underworld's download shop, www.underworldlive.com. There will also be some vinyl floating around at some point. Also another remix, Vicarious Bliss "Theme" for Skint which was initially quite challenging but also very rewarding.
I have been constantly working on another album for 2020 Vision under the name Bobby Peru which has been slow progress but better for it, and additionally I have been experimenting with some very stripped and rather abstract material under the name Erotic Discourse. This we have leaked to a small number of key record shops to gauge the reaction and it's been overwhelming. There are a few more things have worked on recently but I'm in the process of working out where they sit in the scheme of things.
With recent sales now leaning towards the digital format, as a producer, have you noticed any benefits or disadvantages of this trend?
As a producer there's benefits and disadvantages but more importantly, if I can bend the question a little, as someone who has grown up buying records, I love the way that records are packaged. I love the artwork when it's done right and I love reading the credits. All that now seems to be sadly not as important. It's pretty uninspiring looking at a load of burnt cds. The good thing about downloads is the convenience. It's great that you can think of a record, and then within a moment be able to listen to it, but I'm very attached to the way records can be presented. I'm not somebody who spends half their life copying music from other people, I like to explore and find things for myself and I love record shops. Some DJ’s can spend too much time "keeping up with the joneses" music-wise, but ultimately I would rather find my own path and dig a bit deeper. Craig Richards recently said he had a romantic attachment towards vinyl and I feel the same.
Desyn Masiello recently told us in an interview, and I quote; "It's actually pretty hard for a DJ to get a girl". Can you put any light to this shocking claim and put up and coming DJs' minds to rest with some success stories?
Well maybe what Desyn means is that it's pretty hard to get a girl that's ready to be a girlfriend to somebody that's away for 3 or 4 days a week. Let's face it, it must be very difficult knowing that you're other half is in nightclubs and sometimes at parties every weekend. My girlfriend is really cool with it, and likewise I'm happy if she's out and I want to stay in but it's not a lifestyle for everyone.
There are a few DJs who stay on after their gigs to network and party with the local promoters, whilst others fly in play their gig and then shoot back to their hotel. Both can put in equally flawless DJ’ing performances, but do you think there is a responsibility from the DJ to go beyond just the performance and interact with the locals after the gig?
I think the responsibility is for the DJ to give the gig their all. If the moment is right and you hang out then that's cool, but it's not always appropriate and I don't think that it's rude if you don't hang out. I certainly don't think it's a responsibility. I don't expect my plumber to hang out after he's sorted out the bathroom. Having said that, I'm quite inquisitive so more often than not I do because I like to know more about the people that have made the effort to book me. I have found myself in some quite abstract situations where my inquisitiveness has got the better of me, so these days I pick and choose more carefully. Sometimes you are just tired which is no way to be when you're around new people.
And finally, if you weren't in this wonderful industry, what is it you would be doing on this earth?
Design, I studied it at art school but the lure of nightclubs ensured I didn't pass the last course... music got the better of me then as it does now every day!
Author: robbie y.
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2005.