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Paul Jackson: Up the Hill Backwards

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, 17 May 2003
"It's been a very slow journey for me, and in some ways I've quite liked that. I was always a little scared about being thrown up there too quickly because I always thought the place after that was to teeter off the edge. I was quite happy trundling up the hill slowly."

9 years after launching his UK DJ career, house honcho Paul Jackson looks poised to enjoy major league, A list success, upon the release of his upcoming single The Push. Funky, melodic and impressively simple, the techno house track sits comfortably in the club/ crossover space occupied by DJ Rolando's Knights Of The Jaguar, a comparison he's delighted to embrace.

"You're not the first person to say it reminds them of that track, though that wasn't deliberate," he told Skrufff's Jonty Adderley this week.

"That's praise indeed, though, because I always loved that track," he added. "I played it all the time."

Paul was chatting in a back street Notting Hill pub on a sunny afternoon that matched his uplifting demeanour as well as hinting as his summer ahead. Fully teamed up with Darren Emerson's crew, he'll be not only releasing The Push via Underwater Records but also DJing at the label's Ibiza residency at Pacha, throughout the upcoming season.

"I like Darren's set-up and the people that he's gathered around him at Underwater," said Paul.

"As well as being great people they're also all really friendly."

Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): Was The Push an easy record to make-

Paul Jackson: "Yes, actually, it was quite easy. I'd made some personal space and time for myself to be really indulgent after working on loads of Kidstuff material for ages. I enjoy working with the other two guys on the band but it always involves compromise because there are three people sharing ideas. It's good compromise, but still a compromise. So I made about three days' space then, as it happened, the track came out almost instantly. All I needed to do was edit it down because the first version I made was about 15 minutes long. My goal was to make a record that was really big, using that big base sound and once I had that monster sound, the track virtually wrote itself. Straightaway I knew I'd done something good."

Skrufff: How long ago was that-

Paul Jackson: "That was in early December. I then gave a copy to Pete Tong the day after I'd finished it and he played it on his show the next Friday. It's been interesting to see how the record's developed. I've always watched records that have had the big hype and I always thought the whole process was a bit contrived but, to be honest, it seems to do it all by itself. We gave out just 6 CDRs and the whole thing kicked off from there, it destroyed my illusions of how things work."

Skrufff: Where did Underwater come in-

Paul Jackson: "I wanted it to go to Darren straightaway because I've known him for ages. Darren rang me about it and within a couple of minutes we'd agreed a deal, without any lawyers involved. I had a few offers after that, but as soon as we'd had that chat, the record was going to him. He actually called me while the track was still being played on Pete's (Radio 1) show. That's the beauty of Underwater, it's made by a lot of friends, with friends around the outside. I don't generally like the business side of making music, it was really pleasant to talk to somebody who said 'I like it, what are you planning to do with it-', I said 'nothing' and he said 'Well, let's do it together then'. That was it."

Skrufff: Your biog talks about you paying your dues for nine years, did you have to do day jobs in the early years-

Paul Jackson: "I originally worked as a graphic designer and used to DJ at the weekends, but my heart was never in the day job. I was good at it, but my real enthusiasm was for music, so I gave up graphic design as soon as I could, to concentrate on DJing and loafing (lounging around) for the rest of the time. It's been a very slow journey for me, and in
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