Ever since releasing tranced out tech-house epic Push in 2002 on Darren Emersons Underwater Records label, British producer/ DJ Paul Jackson has flourished and thrived, following up with a series of acclaimed singles as well as mixing one of the two CDs in Underwaters Episode 3 compilation, earlier this year.
Also a regular DJ at Underwaters Pacha nights in Ibiza, hes just about to set off for an Australian tour, though chatting to Skrufff this week, hes quick to point out his lifestyle remains modest.
This business is about perception, its all how youre perceived, says Paul.
Its bizarre; Ive had moments where Ive had no work some weekends yet people have remarked on how brilliantly I was doing. Its actually really hard to put a finger on how well youre doing.
Not thats hes obsessed with material success, he stresses.
I get a lot of recognition from people which is really nice, because thats why I do it and I really mean that, he insists.
Im sorry if it sounds a bit corny, but for another DJ to come up and say I really love your record! is just the ultimate for me. Thats exactly what I do it for, that sort of peer appreciation, or for anyone else who appreciates it, to be honest. I was lucky to have Push as my first record because it was completely indulgent, and because it was so accepted by everyone that it allowed me to go off and be indulgent again afterwards. It really helped my confidence and a lot of music production is about confidence.
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): Youre off to Australia shortly, how you find the crowds differ from country to country?
Paul Jackson: I think there are only subtle differences though people are pretty much the same wherever you go, especially when youre in a nightclub. But the last time I was in Australia was about 8 years ago when I was pretty young and green back then and, as stupid as it may sound, comparing myself to who I am now doesnt even equate. I was young and stupid and I suppose traveling has taught me a lot. I do remember having a really good time there though. I remember a bizarre coincidence which led to me meeting up with the pop group Bewitched.
Skrufff: Quite cute girls I seem to remember
Paul Jackson: They were- and also really, really sweet girls. They were very positive from what I remember. Obviously completely wrapped up in cotton wool and didnt really know anything about the outside world, but they were nice enough girls.
Skrufff: So did you try and lead them astray?
Paul Jackson: No, we went out for dinner a few times together and, disappointingly enough, just hung out and played pool.
Skrufff: Where are you living these days?
Paul Jackson: I live in the old town part of Hemel Hempsted. I was born and bred in Hertfordshire though Ive just moved to this particular house about three months ago.
Skrufff: Are we talking about a massive mansion or castle?
Paul Jackson: Its a two bedroom house about 130 years old, on a street that looks like terraced Georgian houses but this one was built thirty years before the others. I understand it was the only house on the street for years. It has two bedrooms upstairs and a really nice bathroom and the piece de resistance is the cellar, or record dungeon.
Skrufff: How many records do you own?
Paul Jackson: A rough guess is about twenty five thousand though I havent actually counted them one by one.
Skrufff: Do you have them all catalogued?
Paul Jackson: No, no. Im anal in a lot of ways but Ive never really done it like that. My system, if we can call it such, is that I put the records there and remember where everything is because I put it there. Does that make sense? It works for me.
Skrufff: Do you feel a personal attachment to the records?
Paul Jackson: For sure, though I play mainly CDs nowadays, purely for ease. But yes, I still love vinyl and I love going down in my cellar and playing. I started buying records when I was fifteen, so I have seventeen years worth of vinyl there. I have the real collector instinct. When I was about 18 I was DJing in Tenerife and I sold about four or five records because I wanted to make some money at the time. I thought Ill sell them and buy them back when I go back to London, though never did, which is something I regret to this day. I even remember what they were; Floatation by The Grid, an amazing record, The Shamens Move Any Mountain another brilliant record, and La Passionara by Doctor Robert. That episode gave me a bit of a stigma about selling records. This year I finally thought I can get rid of all those dodgy ones, such as Louise remixes and stuff like that, that youre never, ever going to play. I got rid of a couple of thousand, theyre boxed up, ready to roll, though dont know what Ill get for them.
Skrufff: How far down the line are you with your album?
Paul Jackson: Ive got the basis of about six unreleased tracks finished. Two or three of them will have a bit of a vocal treatment, thats what we are doing at the moment; were picking and choosing people to send them off to. Weve sent a couple of bits off already to an Irish singer/songwriter Mundy, and to a young English guy. I had a wish list of people to send to, but Im realistic about the fact that most of them are going to say no. So Im just trying to find interesting people that might complement whats already there.
Skrufff: Youve been in Ibiza a lot this (Northern) summer, whats your take on this years season?
Paul Jackson: There will always be people grumbling about Ibiza, but I still find it great. If youre discerning enough to know a good club from a bad club, then youll always find something good in Ibiza because theres always something really good happening there. It caters for all tastes, Ive been going now for eight years and I still find it comfortable and exciting at the same time.
Skrufff: Did you get many of the Monaco royal family on the dancefloor when you were DJing at Pacha?
Paul Jackson: No not really. I think P. Diddy was going to come down one week and the week after I think Jay Z was over there. Also people like Kate Moss
Skrufff: Did you see Paul Oakenfold when he played at Amnesia?
Paul Jackson: I didnt, no.
Skrufff: Reports were bad.
Paul Jackson: Really?
Skrufff: A rival DJ said he lacked enthusiasm. . . .
Paul Jackson: He must be interesting to see. Hes doing soundtrack work, which is something Im really envious of, and something Id really love to get into. Id like to think that some of the music I make could lend itself to that, especially the sort of stuff Ive done on the album. Though having said that I met up with Photek earlier in the year and spoke to him about composing soundtracks and he put me off it in some ways. He said its very demanding. He has an agent to find him scores, he gets briefed, and sometimes they want a whole series worth of music, and they want it in a weeks time. If you dont come up with it, you dont get the job. Its really high pressure and very hard work. The reason he lives in LA is because you have be there to have the meetings, and then literally get straight in the studio. When youre in the studio you have two weeks of solid work to get it all done. Sometimes they dont even use it, they just chop it up. I was a bit disillusioned, but its still something Id love to do sometime.
Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)