Disc jockey, producer
A fixture on the British club scene since 1990, deejay Tall Paul is enjoying increasing popularity with electronica fans worldwide. Muzik magazine named him the Best DJ of 1998, and he has deejayed in clubs on six continents. Tall Paul’s two 2001 album releases, the live compilation Mixed Live and Back and Forth, his debut studio album, have won over audiences with their steady beats, energetic, hard-house performances, and tremendously popular remixes. Tall Paul is also a producer and cofounded Duty Free Recordings in 1998.
Born and raised in London, England, Paul first started deejaying close to home. His father was the owner of Turnmills, a popular gay nightclub in London; in 1987, the club had been awarded the first 24-hour music and dance license in the United Kingdom, making all-night parties possible. Paul convinced his father to give him a chance to deejay, and the 16-year-old started mixing on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Around the same time, the enterprising young man started his own pirate radio station, Touchdown FM, and secured a show for himself on another popular pirate radio station, Sunrise FM.
This early work prepared him for his big breakthrough in 1990—a one-hour slot at Trade, Turnmills’ all-night party. His popularity there quickly led to a full residency at Trade. His first single followed, 1992’s white label “Love Rush.” Following that success, Paul branched out and recorded “Rock da House” with Red Jerry. It was Red Jerry who christened Paul Newman—a name that would always bring to mind the American actor—Tall Paul. The name was a natural reference to the deejay’s extraordinary height: he stands six feet, six inches tall.
Tall Paul built a name for himself in London’s vibrant club scene throughout the 1990s. House music grew from its roots in disco and funk to become a new dance phenomena in cities like London, Chicago, New York, and Detroit. Gay clubs, such as Turnmills, were turning out the most cutting edge of this new dance music, and their all-night parties grew in reputation and popularity, eventually bringing in fans of all persuasions. Deejays make an art of playing to their audience, manipulating mood and energy, and keeping the dance floor packed. Tall Paul’s finesse at Trade led to another residency at the Zap Club in Brighton and to deejay spots at London’s other hot clubs, including the Gardening Club’s “Club for Life,” Cream, Godskitchen, and Gatecrasher.
Other performances include summer residencies on the Spanish island Ibiza, known for its hedonistic party scene. Tall Paul described the feel of the island to Ben Rayner of the Toronto Star, saying, “It’s how you wanna go. If you want to go crazy, you can go crazy and really get lost.” Tall Paul helped between 4,000 and 5,000 club goers do just that every night he played the island and was named “Best Overall Deejay” in 7 Magazine’s 1999 Ibiza Awards.
In January of 1998, Tall Paul cofounded Duty Free Recordings with his brother Danny Newman, a promoter, and his manager, Steffan Chandler. The label has released albums and singles by Tall Paul, Robbie Rivera, deejay Lottie, and JS:16, among other acts. Duty Free also runs a recording studio out of Turnmills, and in 2001, started representing artists.
Tall Paul is known for his hard-house sound; he keeps dancers moving with tracks that have a slightly harder edge and that move faster than softer house music does. His mix avoids the heavier vocals of garage house, and as he commented to David Holthouse of the Denver Westword, from his early days he leaned toward “the faster stuff, the tougher-edged stuff, the more drummy stuff that was a bit more techno.” Tall Paul generally plays a mix that has 125 to 135 beats per minute, a tempo that may not even be called “hard house” in the twenty-first century. Hard house deejays in 2001 were spinning mixes that started at 140 beats per minute, an acceleration that Tall Paul wasn’t ready to match, noting, “I’m not out to rattle anyone’s teeth.”
Besides having the obvious approval of his thousands of dancing, club-going fans, Tall Paul has received positive notice from the critics. Christopher Salmon of Time Out calls his work “wondrous,” and John Bush of All Music Guide calls the deejay’s mixes a “clubpleasing fusion.” Holthouse is even more enthusiastic, calling Tall Paul “one of the best party rockers on the planet.”
Started as deejay at Turnmills in London, England, 1987; deejay at prominent British clubs such as Trade, Godskitchen, Cream, and Gatecrasher; released fulllength albums Pump, 1995; Pump Harder, 1996, Dance Nation, Vol. 6, 1999; Duty Free, 1999; Headliners: Tall Paul Live at the Gallery, 2000; and Rock da House, 2001; cofounder of Duty Free Recording 1998.
Awards: Muzik magazine, Best DJ, 1998.
Addresses: Record company —Duty Free Recordings, 3rd Floor, 67 Farringdon Road, London EC1M 3JB, United Kingdom, phone: 020 7831 9931, fax: 020 7831 9331, website: www.dutyfreerecordings.co.uk, email: [email protected] Website —Tall Paul Official Website: http://www.djtallpaul.com.
As with most deejays, Tall Paul’s focus has primarily been on his live performances, but this hasn’t stopped him from releasing singles and albums and remixing songs from the likes of Blondie, Stone Roses, and Nalin & Kane. He has recorded under his own name as well as Camisra and Escrima; some of his songs have hit the top 40 dance charts. His most popular singles have included the Escrima recording “Train of Thought,” Camisra’s “Let Me Show You,” the remix of Nalin & Kane’s “Beachball,” and the 2001 remix of INXS’s song “Never Tear Us Apart,” released by Tall Paul as “Precious Heart.” Holthouse called this last single a “succulent… slice of up-tempo, feel-good house music.”
Tall Paul has released eight full-length dance albums, but the two that have received the most positive attention are Headliners, Tall Paul Live at the Gallery and Mixed Live, recorded at the Los Angeles club Giant. These live albums reflect the energy and creativity of the club scene and let Tall Paul show off his skill for spontaneity and working the crowd. Other albums have been criticized for their predictability; Bush finds “Paul’s mixing style (or practical lack thereof) a bit bland.” With the release of Back and Forth in 2001, though, Tall Paul received more favorable critical attention. Melissa Piazza of Listen.com called him a “crowd-puller” and an “industry stylist,” and Salmon raves, “Here is a man wholly submersed in his art, and it shows.”
As a man submersed in his art, Tall Paul performs 200 shows a year. He has played in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and throughout Europe; in 2001, he toured the United States for a month. He continues to hold a residency at Turnmills’ Friday night party, Gallery, and has his own show on London’s KISS 100 FM radio station. No longer just a London celebrity, though, his album releases and tours are steering him toward wordwide fame. As Piazza notes, Tall Paul is “quickly becoming a global sensation.”
“Love Rush,” Trade, 1992.
“Rock da House,” VC, 1996.
“Because We Want To,” Innocent, 1998.
“Be There,” Duty Free, 1999.
“Freebase,” Import, 2000.
“Precious Heart,” Telstar, 2001.
Pump, Moonshine, 1995.
Pump Harder, Moonshine, 1996.
Dance Nation, Vol. 6, Ministry of Sound, 1999.
Duty Free, Duty Free, 1999.
Headliners: Tall Paul Live at the Gallery, Ministry of Sound, 2000.
Rock da House, EMI, 2001.
Mixed Live (compilation), Moonshine, 2001.
Back and Forth, Duty Free, 2001.
Billboard, May 15, 1999.
Denver Westword, November 8, 2001.
Music Week, June 13, 1998, p. 10; November 7, 1998, p. 51; November 28, 1998, p. 52; January 9, 1999, p. 57.
Time Out, November 22, 2001, p. 124.
Toronto Star, September 23, 1999.
“Deejay Profiles: Tall Paul,” British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/dance/djprofile_tallpaul.shtml (December 13, 2001).
“Tall Paul,”All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (December 13, 2001).
“Tall Paul,” Listen.com, http://www.listen.com (December 13, 2001).
Tall Paul Official Website, http://www.djtallpaul.com (December 13, 2001).
"Tall, Paul." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 15, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tall-paul
"Tall, Paul." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved April 15, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tall-paul
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