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Paul Jackson: Underwater’s Man Goes (Down) Under ::

Reported by Trackitdown TID on September 21, 2004

Ever since releasing tranced out tech-house epic Push in 2002 on Darren Emerson’s 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 CD’s in Underwater’s Episode 3 compilation, earlier this year.

Also a regular DJ at Underwater’s Pacha nights in Ibiza, he’s just about to set off for an Australian tour, though chatting to Skrufff this week, he’s quick to point out his lifestyle remains modest.

“This business is about perception, it’s  all how you’re perceived,” says Paul.

“It’s bizarre; I’ve had moments where I’ve had no work some weekends yet people have remarked on how brilliantly I was doing. It’s actually really hard to put a finger on how well you’re doing.”

Not that’s he’s obsessed with material success, he stresses.

“I get a lot of recognition from people which is really nice, because that’s why I do it and I really mean that,” he insists.

“I’m 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. That’s 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): You’re 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 you’re 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 doesn’t 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 didn’t 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 I’ve just moved to this particular house about three months ago.”

Skrufff: Are we talking about a massive mansion or castle?

Paul Jackson: “ It’s 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 haven’t actually counted them one by one.”

Skrufff: Do you have them all catalogued?

Paul Jackson: “ No, no. I’m anal in a lot of ways but I’ve 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 I’ll 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 Shamen’s 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 you’re never, ever going to play.  I got rid of a couple of thousand, they’re boxed up, ready to roll, though don’t know what I’ll get for them.”

Skrufff: How far down the line are you with your album?

Paul Jackson: “I’ve got the basis of about six unreleased tracks finished. Two or three of them will have a bit of a vocal treatment, that’s what we are doing at the moment; we’re picking and choosing people to send them off to. We’ve 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 I’m realistic about the fact that most of them are going to say no. So I’m just trying to find interesting people that might complement what’s already there.”

Skrufff: You’ve been in Ibiza a lot this (Northern) summer, what’s your take on this year’s season?

Paul Jackson: “There will always be people grumbling about Ibiza, but I still find it great. If you’re discerning enough to know a good club from a bad club, then you’ll always find something good in Ibiza because there’s always something really good happening there. It caters for all tastes, I’ve 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 didn’t, no.”

Skrufff: Reports were bad.

Paul Jackson: “Really?”

Skrufff: A rival DJ said he lacked enthusiasm. . . .

Paul Jackson: “He must be interesting to see. He’s doing soundtrack work, which is something I’m really envious of, and something I’d really love to get into. I‘d like to think that some of the music I make could lend itself to that, especially the sort of stuff I’ve 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 it’s 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 week’s time.  If you don’t come up with it, you don’t get the job. It’s 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 you’re in the studio you have two weeks of solid work to get it all done. Sometimes they don’t even use it, they just chop it up. I was a bit disillusioned, but it’s still something I’d love to do sometime.”

Jonty Skrufff (