EDMBoutique EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW With PAUL MORRELL + New Single ‘Desire’ ft Indigo Marshall on Somn’thing Records
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How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
I’m 35 years old, and I am based in Coventry in the West Midlands. I began Djing in about 1994, playing at small bars and parties in my home city. I was not old enough to be in nightclubs, however by the age of around 15/16 I was regularly playing for clubs in Coventry, such as The Foundry and The Planet (formerly the legendary Eclipse rave venue). This allowed me to hone my mixing ability, and also gave me my first taste of working with ‘Big Name DJs’ of the time, such as Brandon Block, John Kelly and Judge Jules etc.
What made you get in to dance music?
As a child I had always loved dance music, and collecting records. While my friends were out playing football and spending their money on football cards etc, I was buying 7” singles by people like S Express, Technotronic and Inner City. I was also a huge fan of the later PWL Label and their Euro sound – and groups such as 2Unlimited were big influences on my taste in music.
Where was your first gig?
My very first gig was playing at my friends party. I had a great record collection, and people would often ask me to play at their functions as a favour. It then became apparent that I could actually earn a living from doing this, and I therefore started approaching clubs and venues to see if they would book me to play at their clubs. The process was very different to getting booked these days, and I would record mix tapes and post them out via royal mail to nightclubs across my region in the hope of getting booked. I played as a mobile DJ for several years whilst at secondary school, before landing my first club residency at the Luminar Leisure venue IKON in Coventry in 1999, where I stayed for a number of years as their Friday and Saturday night resident.
How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning?
I have always enjoyed listening to music, and the very first track I produced was a bootleg of Bjork and David Arnold’s ‘Play Dead’ in about 2003. It was an extremely steep learning curve, initially working with my friend & studio engineer Barry Diston, at Fidget Studio’s in Coventry. As I had never produced a record before, I had a great ear for ‘copying’ the sounds of other producers of the time that I admired and aspired to be like. I also knew the type of track I wanted to produce, and as I was DJing Trance at that point, ended up creating progressive ‘Tiesto-esque’ remix. Amazingly, the bootleg was supported on Radio by Paul Van Dyk and Guy Ornadel, which was a huge deal for me at the time, as these were DJs I respected.
Talk to us about your latest release and the inspiration behind it.
The track is called ‘Desire’ which is a main room vocal house record. I wrote Desire with singer / song writer Kelli Leigh, whom I am sure you will know from her top 10 singles “I got U” (Duke Dummont) / “Cry Just a Little” (Bingo Players) / “I wanna feel” (Second City). Desire was originally inspired by Oliver Heldens “Gekko” which I absolutely loved, and I wanted to create a track with the same kind of and energy. Kelli was actually the original vocalist on the track, however due to various changes in management and other issues with labels etc we had to change the vocalist last minute. The track was written at the end of 2016, and the original version featured on the XXL album which I mixed last year, however has now been remixed by some huge production teams including Freejak, Nathan C, and James Bluck who’s remix was supported on BBC Radio 1 last week by Greg James. Desire has been a firm fixture in my set for quite a while now, and I am eager to see what other DJs think of it when the package finally gets its full release. The new vocalist on the track is an extremely talented artist called Indigo Marshall. I first heard her singing at an event in Birmingham, and thought she was great, so contacted her through social media. I emailed her Kelli’s demo vocal, and we re-recorded the track in Coventry just before Christmas 2017. This is the first major track Indigo has featured on, and she is also extremely excited to see what happens over the coming months with it.
What’s the music scene like where you live and how often are you playing?
It is an extremely sad state of affairs in Coventry unfortunately. For a city with such a rich musical heritage, the city now has no major clubs whatsoever, and I haven’t played in my hometown for almost three years. In the late 1970s / early 1980s, Coventry pioneered the Two Tone movement with hugely successful acts such as The Specials emerging from the City. Then at the end of the 1980s Coventry had a fantastic pop pedigree with Pete Waterman / King etc all hailing from there. In the 1990s Coventry spawned one of the UKs biggest Female DJs Lisa Lashes, who did a great deal for the citys club scene, and in the 2000s I had my own Coventry based club brand Classique, which attracted artists such as Oakenfold, Mauro Picotto & Boy George to the city. All of my gigs are now London, Birmingham, Manchester or outside of the UK.
Which other DJs or producers are you liking right now?
My favourite producers at the moment are Don Diablo, Oliver Heldens and Bingo Players, whom I have supported for years. All of their productions work really well for me, and I regularly play a lot of their tracks in my sets. Having said that, I am absolutely loving Erick Morrillo’s new sound as well, and his recent collaboration with Kryder entitled ‘Waves’ was one of my ‘must have’ tracks of 2017. From a DJing point of view, my all time favorite DJ is Jeremy Healy, however I love Martin Solveig, Tiesto & TJR as well.
What are your go to labels?
Spinnin’, Heldeep, Somn’thing, Hexagon, Armada, there are so many great independent labels at the moment that it is difficult to select just one or two. Quite often a label will release one huge record, and then go months or years without a follow up, so I don’t tend to stick to one particular label.
Tell us about your DJ setup
I would say that I am quite ‘traditional’ when it comes to my DJ set up. I initially learnt to DJ using Vinyl, then moved onto CD, however I haven’t moved into the laptop forum just yet, although this maybe something that I adopt in future years. I prefer to have my music stored on USB and use Pioneer 2000 Nexus, with all my music on Rekordbox on my Mac at home.
What’s been your biggest achievement
I have had some great achievements so far, and my most notable gig was performing at the 35,000 capacity
‘Weekend Festival’ in Helsinki, Finland alongside Tiesto, Martin Garrix and Hardwell. As a producer I have also worked with some fantastic artists including Mutya Buena, Boy George and former Pussycat Doll ‘Kimberly Wyatt’.
What can we expect from you soon
As well as ‘Desire’, I have two other tracks finished and ready to go. The next single is called ‘No Ordinary Love’ and features the vocals of former XFactor contestant Laura White. We also again have a brilliant remix package from Grammy Award Winners KKlass, and James Bluck, so it is again looking extremely positive. I have also been working with former Freemasons / Avicii vocalist Amanda Wilson on a record called ‘Up In Flames’. This is sounding great, and fingers crossed will be released before the end of the year. Other than that, I have a remix for Sonique of her classic “Sky” forthcoming this summer, and have just been extremely busy with writing new original pieces.