Interview with Paul Newhouse
Paul Newhouse is a pioneer in the Irish EDM scene. From an early age, he knew he had to do something creative with his life. He left Ireland at the young age of 16 to move to Berlin. This is where he discovered his calling in life, music.
Purchasing your first set of turntables at the age of 21, what brought you to become a DJ?
Well, I remember in 1988 watching about the illegal raves in the UK, sitting at home in Dublin, before I left school at 16, and wondered what it was all about. I was never into commercial pop really. I liked Erasure, Bronski Beat, Depeche Mode. I was very much into the early rave indie bands too who really kicked off the rave culture, Happy Mondays, The Farm, and The Charlatans, all the more electronic, and the more dance stuff. I did a couple of parties at friends’ houses, with my dad’s record player, a tape player, a microphone and really enjoyed it. I never thought I would want to do more with it; it was more like just something to do, while drinking, when I'm not at the legal age to drink with friends!
I left school in 1989, and moved to Berlin to work with a family member. I met a lot of English, Irish and Scottish people working there. After about 3-4 months of going about to the ex-pat places, a couple guys and I went to see the prodigy in a club in Berlin converted from a cinema.
I remember being asked, at the front of the stage, while the crowd was going mad. Charlie says, “what have you taken mate”, I remember thinking. ”eh, 6 bottles of becks!” With a response of extreme laughter, and a quick, “come with me mate!” I followed him to the toilets, which I thought was very strange and remember feeling a bit freaked out at this, but I bumped into one of my mate's and he followed on too. That's when I was truly introduced to the party, and from then on, we searched for the best parties and raves in Berlin! We found Tresor, and lived in the place, meeting the likes of Moby, Underground Resistance, and DJ Tanith, danced with the Prodigy, and chilled out with “The Face” magazine photographer one night. Who was doing an article on techno in Berlin. I even met the owner of Mute Records, outside Tresor one morning about 10am. We had seen this large well dressed guy walking about in the club with a body guard earlier in the night. He spoke to me and my mate outside the club, while we where stressing about how to get home and a little worst for wear! He must have guessed we where a little stranded, and offered us a lift back to the city. I asked after a chat and waiting a while where his car was, and he said he was waiting for it, just after that a black stretch limo pulls up, and he says hop in.
While in this limo, we get bombarded with questions about the club and the music, which was industrial techno, something that was not heard of really in the UK at the time. After a good chat and a short distance we pull up outside a very grand hotel in Berlin, and he says “good bye thank you for the chat!” Of course at the time we did not know who he was, just some rich guy in a suit, but the driver put us right, and we where quite happy that we had time with him! About 6 months after Mute Records went underground and released the first Tresor album, which I still have today on vinyl. Sometimes I wonder, maybe we had an influence on his decision to sign the guys in the club, and make Tresor the icon it was and is today?
I have very fond memories of this time in Berlin, and from meeting DJs, and the people I did, I started collecting vinyl, about 1 year before I got home and set upon getting my first set of decks!
Do you feel that attending a Dance Music Business Program really set you in the right direction with your career?
Yes, at the time I was trying to set my own dance magazine up in Ireland, it was 1995, I think, and Ireland was very anti-dance, and it was seen not to be good, still very underground. So the venue failed on funding grounds. So I really had to add to my knowledge of the business. I feel it answered a lot of questions I had, and introduced me to points I'm using today.
What is the best knowledge that can be given to a DJ who is just starting out?
Ah! That's hard, because even after all my years doing this, I'm still not where I want to be. It’s very hard, and a lot of people bow out, and to be honest, I would not blame them. Keep at it if it’s what is in your heart. I have tried the 9-5 and shift work jobs, and just don't get it. It is okay to bring in the funds to live fine; we all need to do that, as a career no. Even though I don't make lots of money, and never really have. I keep going, and it’s for the love of the music, and what makes me enjoy life. There is nothing better than a room full of clubbers having a great time and you’re bringing it to them.
Describe the feeling you get being able to play on the radio.
Playing on the radio is great whether on FM or the internet. Mixing it up in Ireland, or in the UK, in my studio, or from my bedroom, to people in Australia, Germany, USA, and everyone commenting on the mixing or tunes, is very cool. It also gets your name to people you would probably never see. It’s a great promo tool, and a great buzz also.
Tell me about Redbox Records.
I took over a records shop in North Wales, UK, in 2006. Now I knew this was a risk, as vinyl was going out and mp3 was coming in. But again it was a dream of mine for a long time, so I did it. I closed it in 2009, as the sales where not keeping the costs going, I still sell a lot of the stock on discogs.com about 2500 vinyl, but that's all. I sold all the shop equipment, so this covered most of my payout to set-up anyway.
When I moved back to Dublin, after another crappy job for a few months, I had the idea to follow the record shop name on and set it up as Redbox Records the label. I noticed that in the UK, there are a lot of labels, so looking at the Irish indie labels, and there really are not that many.
So the idea of Redbox Records was and is to promote unknown Irish artists, and have remixes by known Irish and international artists as a way of promoting Irish talent to the globe. Here we are today, 2011, and all is good, I am getting a lot of support from both Irish and international artists.
Where do you see Redbox Records in 5 years?
I would like to see the releases hitting top name DJs charts more. I would hope that it is an established and respected label. To be remembered as I remember, the labels of past, that I loved. I would like to take the label to all the big festivals and clubs, have a regular Irish and UK tour dates for the label, and maybe even across Europe. I know it’s a big dream, but what have you got, other than your dreams, nothing!
Now that you have an established record label, what do you see for yourself and your artists in the future?
Well, I would not say the label is really established in my eyes, there is a long way to go, but it’s definitely getting there. I would hope that the quality of the artists stays the way it is now, and continues to grow, with the Irish people, and for Redbox to be noticed worldwide in the coming years. I would also love to see some of the Irish guys we have to be discovered branch out and do well.
What style of music would you classify your music as?
Well, I play mostly tribal based house now. On the label I do, house, trance, and techno, as these styles are closest to me. When I first got into the scene in Berlin, it was industrial techno, so I played this first, when I moved back to Dublin, it was progressive house and trance, so I played this for a long time. I'm getting a bit older now, so I think the trance has moved away from me, and 125-128bpm is just nice for my old bones! So yes, house; deep, tech, progressive, I'll play all these but really love the comeback of the tribal sounds.
What do you feel personally that sets you apart from other artists/DJ's out there?
For one, I would say it’s that I can play all styles of house and some times a bit of trance. There are not a lot if any other DJ's in Ireland playing tribal house, and I'm a Scorpio, so everything I do has to be spot on, I never do a mix and promo it if there is anything I'm not happy with. I get a lot of demo mixes sent to me, and you would not believe the mistakes on them, not good. I'm very dedicated to my music and promotion, and never stop.
Do you feel that moving from Dublin to Berlin at a young age played a role in you being where you are now?
Yes, it definitely did. I was very young, 16 going on 17, and I really did not know what I was doing. But soon grew up in the city of Berlin, at that age! In a good way, but it made me realize the world was a much bigger place than Dublin! It taught me how to live, both in the sense of parties, and of looking after myself. It opened my eyes to people, and to the different music, which I live for today. It taught me a big lesson on how to trust and how to notice when not to trust, which I think is a big deal in life.
Also, the European clubbers are more grown up than in the UK and Ireland. Most people in the UK, and Ireland, tend to grow out of the “rave” culture at a younger age, and want to “grow up” and “settle down” quicker, not sure why! But I think when I left Berlin at that time I had a different outlook about the whole scene. I think this is one of the reasons I've kept going also. I don't see it as a teenage culture at all.
What were some of your first part-time jobs growing up if you had any before music?
I have had so many, I'm not sure if I can remember! I've worked as a bus driver for many years, a van and lorry driver, worked in warehouses, shops, garages, lots of dead end stuff. I need to be creative, and that's what I was not getting from any of the other jobs. This is one of the reasons I've started Redbox to keep my mind doing what I want, it’s just an extension of the DJ side, but now I'm helping others, and keeping myself happy too. It’s really not work to me, and if I can make something good from it, that's the end result.
Are there any other things besides your music career that you are focusing on?
No! Apart from my wedding next year! No, I really have no other enjoyment, well maybe when I had my Honda CRX sir, I love cars and I've had 4 CRX's and love them, spending every penny on building and modifying them. I've now stopped that, and got a Lexus IS200 Le. Now, all I've got to spend money on is the label. I think its better, having lots of hobbies is not good, when they cost a lot too!! Better off with just the one!