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Paul has been on Dance music’s frontline since the release of Leftfield’s debut single ‘Not Forgotten’ in 1989. With partner Neil Barnes, the duo went onto become one of the most globally successful and respected acts in Dance music, along the way shaping styles and creating sounds that have influenced heavily and been borrowed from literally. As a DJ, remixer and producer in his own right, Paul employs the same approach to being different, fresh and exciting as he has throughout his vocation and the success he has enjoyed has come through an absolute understanding and love of the music, the clubs and the people.
Paul spent the late seventies and the early eighties soaking up the wide variety of music that the vibrant gig and club scene of his hometowns of Ramsgate/ Margate offered. This meant he was able to soak up everything from Rock'n'Roll, Punk, bass leaden Reggae rhythms,Disco/Funk, Soul and an emerging post punk underground electronic music scene.
Along with being a drummer with various local Punk bands such as The Rivals and The Need he also ran and DJ'd at his own nights in a basement club on Margate seafront, based around underground european uk/us electronic disco/ Post-Punk/Funk
The early 80’s were also spent living/moving to London with underground clubs such as the Dirtbox,
Le Beatroute,Mud and Wag clubs along with early warehouse parties in the then derelict east/south of london providing the night-time hangouts and the places to hear old and new/contemporary underground music such as US/UK Funk,Rockabilly,jazz,soul,early 80's US\ UK Electro, Hip-Hop,dub. 70's soundtracks,disco,afro latin,dub, northern soul and unrealised at the time these clubs and happenings were to be the embryonic Balearic/House/scene pre-cursor to the late 80's\early 90's uk rave movement to which Paul was later to be fully involved on a creative musical level.
Bank Holiday's of the early/mid eighties provided rites of passage weekender trips to Bournemouth and the uk coast for Dirtbox all nighters and daytime sessions again accompanied by a pre-balearic DJ soundtrack.
The mid/late 80's saw Paul working a lot in the Acid Jazz scene run by Eddie Pillar and Giles Peterson,
he also playing regularly as a percussionist with bands and dj's at Blitz legend Chris Sullivan's Wag club.
A trip to the states in the late 80's as session percussionist with the Brand New Heavies enabled him to visit clubs such as The Sound Factory, Red Zone, Save The Robots and many other underground happenings of the NYC club scene of the time, opening him up to the exotic American scene and House music in particular.
Back in the UK and Ibiza this new breed of dance music was bubbling away, but it’s highly potent cocktail of repetitive beats and exiting new electronic sounds would explode on contact with a simmering British boredom and the Ecstasy boom. For Paul, the abundance of music arriving from the States and Europe, the excitement of the clubs and hearing British DJ’s mixing it up and doing things differently persuaded him to become involved in the music and get behind the decks again.
Paul was now in demand as a DJ on a UK and international level taking his cutting edge sound around the country
and the world as part of the early 90 's wave of superstar dj's to emerge from the london underground scene of the time.
He also played regularly at every main club in Ibiza such as Ku,Space,Pacha,Amnesia as well as playing regularly along side chill out legend Jose Padilla at the sonic sunset temple that is Cafe del Mar.
He held down guest and residency gigs at uk clubs such as Love Ranch,Full Circle,Strutt,Solaris,Ministry of Sound,Renaissance, Back to Basics and many more including regular trips to Naples,Amsterdamn,Japan,Ireland,Scotland,
South/North America,Australia,Goa,Canada and Europe.
“Suddenly at those early Acid-House/Balearic parties, it seemed that everything I’d ever been into came together under one roof,and everything was nice’ Cue Leftfield...
In 1990 Paul was given the opportunity to remix "Not Forgotten" the first single by Leftfield.
The result was the 'Hard Hands" remix.
Paul's Hard Hands mix was a genre splitting funked up heavy bass spaced out balearic/techno dj dance floor monster, still dropped today and regarded as a seminal
tune in the history of dance music, it set sound systems alight and paved the way for other budding electronic artists and dj's.
This record joined the ranks of classics and cemented Paul and Neil's partnership for the coming decade.......
As dance acts go they don’t come any bigger and few have had such an enormous impact on the international scene. By not repeating themselves, Leftfield delivered two key albums - for which they received Brit & Mercury nominations for Best UK Dance Acts in both 1996 & 2000 - that helped shift Dance music’s sound into new and dynamic phases and as such the reputation and the respect that the name Leftfield still commands to this day, is literally second to none.
Their debut album ‘Leftism' (1995) redrew the borders for dance music, pioneering a radical hybrid that drew intuitively on rib-shaking dub, futuristic techno, house and breaks and with its timeless qualities, is regularly declared ‘The Greatest Dance Album Of All Time’. Its included collaboration with Sex Pistol John Lydon on ‘Open Up’ was the first ever dance/rock crossover not to sacrifice any of the attitude of either genre. Their second album ‘Rhythm & Stealth’ (1999), contained an equally exciting new blend of crisp, cutting-edge electronic sounds and alongside vocal contributions from Afrika Bambaata and Roots Manuva, included the fearsome electro-breaks beast ‘Phat Planet’, with which Leftfield once again wiped all pretenders away. Sales are in excess of 1,000,000 copies worldwide for each album.
With the Leftfield sound dictating much of clubland’s direction they were in-demand as remixers and subsequently deconstructed then dusted their magic over an assortment of artists that included David Bowie,Stereo MCs, Inner City, Tricky ,Renegade Soundwave and many more. During the Leftfield years the duo also formed their own label Hard Hands which itself was at the front of the scene and aside their own music was responsible for issuing over 60 other releases by underground artists that included Pressure Drop, Dark Globe and Full Moon Scientist.
As well as Leftfield scoring music for the soundtracks of the internationally successful Trainspotting and director Danny Boyle’s follow-up Shallow Grave, their music has been used on the big screen in the films Tomb Raider, The Beach, Hackers, Hackers 2 and Vanilla Sky. It has also been utilised in a number of television commercials, most notably the now infamous ‘White Horses’ ad for Guinness, for which the fearsome rumbling intro of ‘Phat Planet’ was also the teasing first taste listeners got of Leftfield’s then imminent second album. This critically acclaimed unison has since been voted ‘The Greatest Television Ad Of All Time’ in myriad charts, programmes and polls. Other Leftfield music used in advertising clips has been for Volkswagen’s Lupo car (‘6/8 War’) and the atmospheric intro of ‘Release The Pressure’.
The impact of Leftfield’s debut single helped secure Paul DJ bookings and he quickly earned himself a reputation for spinning a choice of solid tunes and raising the temperature on dancefloors worldwide. Throughout the decade he played regularly across the planet at clubs and festivals, including all the large UK outdoor events like Tribal Gathering, Homelands, Witness in Dublin (now the Oxygen Festival) and the Brighton Essential Festival. The overtaking demands of Leftfield meant that DJ’ing took a back seat through the turn of the decade, although he maintained a residency at London’s Fabric club between 1999-2003.
For the last ten years Paul has been in demand as a DJ, remixer and producer in his own right, turning out killer dancefloor ammunition for, among others, Slam (‘Alien Radio’), Dub Pistols (‘Six Million Ways’) and Bolz Bolz (‘Take A Walk’ - which went on to be synched to a Smirnoff commercial), plus the sunset-tinted ‘Adios Ayer‘ for long-time friend Jose Padilla (Café Del Mar) and a rework of Massive Attack’s ‘Butterfly Caught’. In 2004 he produced a single for the alliance of funk renegade Afrika Bambaata and robo-synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan, who teamed up on a new version of Numan’s 1979 track ‘Metal’, resulting in an electro floor-curler with a commanding presence.
Paul has been operating more in the shadows over the last few years, DJ'ing and remixing whilst putting the finishing touches to his solo album.
He is still just as comfortable playing to 100 people in a sweaty sub-basement as he is DJ'ing to larger event crowds.
When Paul DJ’s, it’s still predominantly a diverse mixture of electronically infused Techno, House and beyond. The linear connection being the all important funk and sonic subversive element. But appreciating so many different types of music, has always made it hard to pinpoint Paul Daley as a particular style DJ (or producer, or remixer…) and is key to his ability at keeping a dance floor and sound system on the edge.
"i'm not a one sided coin,being into a multi faceted pop culture for 45 years creates a lot of different influences, that is why i like playing different sets for different situations, there's too much good music around to be blinkered by one style or sound"
“My laws are still the same as when I was DJ’ing at my sister’s house parties in the mid seventies which is, if the people aren’t dancing or smiling then it’s not happening. I still get the same buzz I got when I was 12 years old playing records in my bedroom, it’s the same feeling but I’m sharing it with 100’s of other people”
Paul understands and encourages new music from underground labels from all over the world, anyone who comes to listen to a set should not expect to hear some kind of 90’s revival (he didn't hold down a 3 year residency at Fabric for nothing...), his sets and records represent an energy of someone half his age with twice as much musical experience.
Anyone fortunate enough to catch his summer residency at Ibiza’s uber cool country club ”The Underground”from 2005 - 2010 bear witness to this.
Those who have heard Paul play understand his love and sincerity to the music. This has always outweighed taking an obvious commercial route as a DJ and this attitude continues to this day.
PAUL DALEY (ex Leftfield)’s tracks