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Paul Woolford interview: From Prodigy to Peru

Author: Amanda Storey
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Doogie Howser M.D. may be a fictitious hero for scientists and school geeks, but Paul Woolford has made the "Doogie myth" a reality for music lovers. Like Doogie, the childhood prodigy in the field of medicine, Woolford was no ordinary kid. Instead of spending his pocket money on lollies and basketball collector cards, Woolford was buying vinyl at 8 and turntables by 12. Woolford began turning heads at 13 when he won a megamix competition on Leeds Radio from a collage of DMC mixes recorded on his tape-to-tape hifi. Today, Woolford remains just as talented, determined and inspired. While continuing his love affair with UK radio through his mixes for Radio 1, Woolford has also ventured into new fields, including carving himself an esteemed reputation as a producer. He now boasts a swagful of quality releases under his Bobby Peru and Erotic Discourse projects, and has continued to nurture his creative impulses of late by recording new material for his forthcoming label. Furthermore, Woolford has somehow found the time for his monthly residency at Back to Basics in Leeds and weekly residencies at il Muretto in Venice and We Love Space in Ibiza. Indeed, when it comes to music industry accolades, this former Wonder Kid has conquered the whole kit and caboodle.

You have described yourself as having "an urge to make the kinds of records that make people screw their faces up when they hear them". Do you seek that sound from each of your various projects- Or do you want your listeners to respond differently to them-
Well I said that at a certain point in time, but now I guess the expression can be anything from a screwed up face to a mildly melancholic glare...! But seriously, what I was trying to say is that I want to get a reaction rather than things just wash over people. As long as it's not bland. I would much rather provoke, rather than what I produce sound like fucking wallpaper music, so the actual style of track is unimportant, just that there's something challenging in there somewhere.

What is happening with each of your projects at the moment- Any upcoming productions-
The Bobby Peru project is on-going and is consisting of loads of new tracks and loads of older material which I'm not quite ready to let out yet. It's scope is very wide as well, possibly far wider than people would expect so I'm constantly re-appraising what is and what is not relevant to the whole thing. I have been recording material for the second LP for 2 years now and "erotic discourse" was only one part of the bigger picture. It-s quite radical stuff but as I have said before, I'll release it when I'm good and ready, not when PR companies or my label want to strike with their strategy or whatever.

I will be releasing more material on Junior Boy's Own. I have a great relationship with Steven Hall and Terry Farley who run it and so that's something for the future.

The next thing is my own label, which is definitely happening, I am recording material for it now, all very dancefloor but still experimental and I can say with 100% conviction right now that I won't be putting a half-cut release schedule of tracks off anyone, signed on the cheap. I have studied my favourite labels for years and I know exactly what I want to put across with this so be ready for something a bit different i.e. not half cut swap mixes from whoever's this week's flavour!!

I love the story about you winning the Leeds radio competition when you were 13. It sounds like an inspirational turning point. Have there been any other more recent events which have further galvanised your passion for dance music-
Only the actual music itself which constantly blows me away. I have been so absolutely hell bent on doing this for years that I probably couldn't get any more determined. In terms of inspiration it comes daily, and it comes in the most mundane ways as well. I've been trying to strip away the cynical side of my personality for years and it see