Most DJs dream of packing up their controller, headphones and record collection (okay, hard drive) and heading off to the sunny paradise of Ibiza and beyond to play to eager partygoers. Paul Hutchinson did just that and continues to enjoy an adventurous life as a DJ and Producer after over 3 decades behind the decks. Taking a brief sidestep into writing, Paul has written a brand new book called A DJ’s Guide To Success where he gives you everything that you need to become — you guessed it — a successful DJ, together with guiding you through the social media jungle, goal setting, motivation, brand building and more.
Originally from Essex, Paul started DJing back in 1988 in the good old days of vinyl and has cultivated a strong passion for House and Disco. He’s been lucky enough to play at parties around the globe including Miami, Ibiza, Italy, Madrid, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, New Zealand and back home at numerous clubs and bars around the UK.
We sat down with Paul to chat about his journey as a Disc Jockey and of course to talk about his exciting new book…
We’re all in the business of music and often have fond recollections of the first time we browsed records at Woolworths or the cassette that your Dad played in the car on every journey. What’s your earliest memory of music?
“Growing up there was always music in the house. My mum would listen to Barry White, The Drifters and ABBA all the time. My Dad was into his Jazz music and would play 8 track cassette tapes in the car; I was introduced to so many amazing Jazz trios. My brother and I would get under the bed covers and listen to Radio Caroline trying to hear as much music as we could.. I remember listening to my parents playing Elvis tracks all night on the day that he passed away. We would pretend to do radio shows in our bedroom, recording them to listen back later. I’m sure there would be a few laughs to be had if we listened back now!”
What’s the first record or single that you bought?
“I think it was Swords of a Thousand Men by Tenpole Tudor, and then Paradise City by Guns ‘N’ Roses. The first album I brought on cassette was Word Up from Cameo.”
Some strong choices there! Fast forwarding a few years, what made you take the step into DJing?
“Like I mentioned previously, I used to pretend to be a radio DJ as a kid so I was always into it — it was almost ingrained into me. It was 1988 and I started playing vinyl in Palms Wine Bar in Colchester, and really got hooked on the House scene as it dropped in the UK from Chicago. I played solidly every weekend for 4 years until moving to New Zealand to DJ over there. It wasn’t until 2010 that I really took it seriously and started to push my career, DJing with my pal Darryl Wright as a duo called Slavziihouse. We played all over the place including regular parties in Ibiza, Madrid and Pacha London.”
What’s your go-to gear these days? I’m sure everyone would like to know which controller takes your fancy.
“I’m a huge fan of the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX. I initially got it so I could go back-to-back with other DJs like Brandon Block etc. I love the fact it works and feels just like CDJs that you would find in a club, so I am confident in my ability when I go and play abroad. Headphone wise for me it has always been VMODA. I love the whole range and the way the bass pulses on your head in a loud environment.”
Do you have any rituals before a set?
“If it’s a big club with a big crowd I always say to myself “you got this, you know what you’re doing, you know what you’re gonna play, now go and enjoy it!”. Other than that, it’s going for, on average, about 5 wees!”
Do you have a funny tale from your time behind the decks?
“The one that sticks in my head is playing New Years Eve at a huge bar in New Zealand with 2000 people in attendance. I was the headliner so played to bring in the new year, and above the DJ booth we had some dancers. They let off flares as it approached midnight, waving them into the crowd. Sparks were dripping down on me and the decks, melting little holes in my vinyl records as they were playing! So I had to quickly mix in the next track before it got to the melted section of the vinyl. Pretty stressful if I remember correctly!”
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to take up DJing, what would it be?
“Learn your music, know the history of the genre you are playing, and try and stick to that genre throughout your career. The minute you stop enjoying it, get out. You should love every moment standing behind those decks and controlling the dance floor. Always watch the floor too, that way you know if you’re playing the right music or not.”
You’ve just released a book titled A DJ’s Guide To Success. Tell us what it is about and what inspired you to write it.
“It’s me documenting my journey to where I want to be to feel successful. So I’m documenting all the lessons I’m learning along the way in a course and now a book. It was also born out of frustration from seeing other DJs throw away opportunities for getting big gigs, turning up drunk to a gig or generally coming across on social media unprofessionally. I coach DJs with managing their music files and growing their social media pages so they get noticed and in turn get more bookings. There’s so many opportunities out there for DJs to shine and half of them don’t do any of it. It’s an online course on Facebook which is currently £15 a month to join. With that you get one-to-one coaching calls with me, access to all the videos I have created and a copy of my Book as a PDF.”
What’s your favourite part of the book?
“My favourite part is all the social media and mind mapping content, which helps DJs with their goal setting. I’m fascinated by all types of social media and the fact that we have the potential to reach anyone from anywhere in the world.”
What do you think the future of the DJ and the art of DJing looks like?
“I think live streaming of DJ sets will continue to grow. It could be someone like Roger Sanchez playing a live set at Hi in Ibiza and that same set being streamed on a giant screen to other clubs around the world. Roger could be playing in Ibiza, Vegas, South Africa and Australia at the same time on the same night! There will also be more and more live remixing of tracks with the ability to play a baseline from one track, the drums of another and the vocal from another. I’m so excited about the future. I love technology!”