TF Archives

Paul Taylor- the First Superstar DJ of Retro

Author: Benedetta Ferraro
Saturday, January 12, 2002
Ten years after launching his first ever Retro session at seminal Northern night spot Angels, Paul Taylor sits at the top of the Retro DJ tree, each month spinning to up to 8,000 people at Tall Trees in Middlesborough. Inspired by the thought that too much music was discarded too quickly, what started as a gut instinct has metamorphosed into a mini retro empire, spanning Middlesborough, Ibiza and a new series of up to 5 compilations, coming out on Eddie Gordon's Neo Records.

And with ten more years worth of tunes to select than for his initial 1991 set, he appears to have discovered a formula that's unlikely to run out of ideas in the foreseeable future.

"I am educating a new audience to an old sound without ever playing cheesy records," he told Skrufff's Benedetta Ferraro this week. "A good tune is a good tune; it's in the riff and the vibe it creates."

Skrufff: What prompted you to release the Retro compilation in the first place-

Paul Taylor: "There are many reasons why I did it, starting with the fact that I've been DJing for 27 years now, making this a very personal album for me. I was one of the first DJs involved in the house scene back in '88. From the late '80's through the '90's I co-owned, 'Angels', a venue in the north of England which quickly became one of the first superclubs in Britain, with DJs like Oakenfold, Cox and Sasha, playing there regularly. In the early '90's we started promoting 'The Retro Hour' there, which was the last hour on the Friday night that quickly became very popular.

We then turned it into a monthly full-on retro night and people started asking for it in all parts of the country, turning it into a massive event. We had our own music policy, which was built around the Angels' sound, with its special blend of house music, with no divisions or pigeonholing. This album reflects all this, with tracks that you won't find in any other compilation. Some tracks have also been held back, since we intend to release four further compilations and we want to make them all interesting to the listener."

Skrufff: How do other Retro compilations such as Hed Kandi and Ministry compare to yours-

Paul Taylor: "Hed Kandi have done a very good job, but they're on a more vocal/garage vibe than us. There is a distinct difference in what we do and what they do, although some of the tracks we have used feature on their compilations as well. However, the Ministry Of Sound compilations are totally different. They might be popular, but their sound is definitely cheesy and their music policy is a bit all over the place. I'm sure that by me saying that, they wouldn't take it personally, because I know them and I work with them too."

Skrufff: Is there a particular theme underlining all five compilations-

Paul Taylor: "They're simply called "Retro Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3" etc then once these albums are out, we're planning to change tactic and involve some of the big name DJs, like Rampling, Sasha, and Cox, to compile their own favourite retro albums. At some stage, we're also hoping to do an Ibiza retro album. Eventually this dream will come true, but for now we have to hope that the initial five compilations will sell."

Skrufff: Could your nights work elsewhere in England, such as in London-

Paul Taylor: "London is major centre for what's new, trendy and fashionable and apart from a few amazing underground parties, the majority of the nights in London are fairly boring, I feel. I don't think our nights would work in London anyway, although I would love to play there. The north of England and Ireland are some of the best patches in this country for clubbing, because the audiences like what they're doing; they don't go out just to be seen in an outfit, or in a particular place."

Skrufff: Are all the tracks present on the CDs going to appear on the vinyl versions as well-

Paul Taylor: "Very good point. The first volume of the CD has 22 tracks on it, which is th