DJ Paul Sparkes
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DJ Paul Sparkes

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
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"Newsarticle - Homecoming gig for DJ Paul"

A DJ since 1995, Ipswich-born Paul Sparkes has headlined gigs at top clubs globally for the last ten years.

He is resident DJ and promoter of Floorplay, a monthly night at the Club NL in Amsterdam and much in demand to perform at music conferences, festivals, fashion shows and beach parties around the world.

Paul - who lived in Halesworth until he was 19 - mixed the 11 Years Of Silver Planet mix album in 2008 and has released several singles.

For three years he presented two-hour Friday night show 365LiveRadio which was syndicated across the world by ID&T's Dance Tunes and featured live mixes and exclusive interviews with the top DJs and producers. Paul recently made the switch to hosting Global Dance Selection on Red Bull Music Academy.

He's appearing at Halesworth's Giginthepark tonight. The three-day event, based in the town park and now in its 12th year, boasts another bumper collection of acts including punk legends The Undertones, Baskery, Showaddywaddy, Mundo Jazz, Jon Allen and Lee Vasey and his big band. - Evening Star (Aug 2010)


"Interview - We chat to Silver Planet superstar DJ Paul Sparkes"

By Dave Skinz

For this month's interview we get a chance to chat with producer and DJ Paul Sparkes. This artist is on the up and up and is tipped for good things in the future. he calls Amsterdam his home and holds numerous residencies in the Dutch capital including the prestigious Club NL with both the Schaamteloos DJs on his ace, while still finding time to host a weekly web radio show on 365LiveRadio. Affectionately known as Sparkey to his fellow DJs he started his DJ career back in '92 before getting his own pirate radio station off the ground around the same time. Paul then began to promote his own events in and around London, before getting headhunted for an A & R stint for dance label heavyweights Ministry of Sound in '97. Afetr leaving MOS he then decided to take his game to the next level and initiated tours round the globe playing to packed floors on both sides of the Atlantic. Paul pushed the envelope even further when he signed some tracks he co-wrote with BCML to James Holden's Silver Planet label in 2004. He followed it up with two more releases on Silver Planet with Ben Camp before being signed to Ferry Corsten's underground label Aleph records. EMP mag gets a chance to chat with him before he tours SA early this year.

Dave Skinz - Hi Paul, welcome to EMP Magazine
Paul Sparkes - Thank you
DS - You completed a tour of the States in the early part of '08? How was it,and why do you think so many artists are heading west lately?
PS - I've been going to the US since 2001. Boston was the first city I played and it just grew from there. I'm heading back in January 2009. It's big in certain cities, I'd say NYC, Chicago. LA and San Francisco are the main ones, but also in other places, for instance I've had many good gigs in Seattle, Tampa and DC over the years. I think America has finally embraced dance culture, ESP festivals and outdoor events.
DS - So what are your expectations for your South African tour?
PS - I've never been over, my mother was born in Kimberly though so it's about time. I'm really looking forward to it. From what I've seen SA seems to have an amazing vibe, a real energy and I'm positive the gigs will be rocking. Mike Politis from MPI Project tells me I'll love it.
DS - You've been involved in numerous aspects of the music business from DJing, to journalism to A&R, to promoting. Do you put it down to just evolving through the roles or more to "it was a cool opportunity" at the time?
PS - I just wanted to immerse myself in the scene as much as possible; it seemed to be the way to get ahead at the time. As a promoter, the radio show helps me promote. The radio gives my DJing profile. The A&R'ing gets my contact base wider. It's all a natural evolution really. I think there is a genuinely different excitement in all of them. I just enjoy the music and it's 24/7. I think most people in the scene have multiple roles, at the very least DJ/producer.
DS - As an A&R guy you must have taken quite a bit of insider knowledge with you when you moved along. Care to share any?
PS - I think there are tracks that grow on you over time, but my experience of finding records to sign, it really does have to have that "wow"factor, within the first few bars I knew that Lio's Rapture would be a hit and it did great for Ministry. In my opinion a really good A&R man is a mixture of a DJ (does it work in the club?) and radio presenter (does it work on the radio?)
DS - Describe your music style to someone that hasn't heard of you?
PS - I try to find records which sound futuristic, have a solid groove and also melody. It sounds simple, it's true. It's also important to find tracks which flow into the next, there has to be a logical line to it. Also, production quality is very important to me, it could be the best track in the world but if it doesn't sound hot through the system the energy will drop. I also use a lot of acapellas and fx throughout my set.
DS - You've worked with quite a diverse cross-section of producers on your material. Do you prefer to work with someone in the studio?
PS - Yes! I'm really not a studio bod, I come from 15 years of DJ background, and I find people with a click and we do it. Fiddling with programs and hoping for the best is no use, I want to be able to say, right let's find this or that sound, and it works from there. In saying that, I'm probably more competent technically than I let on.
DS - Talk us through your DJ and studio set-ups?
PS - DJ setup is 3x CDJ1000s and an Allen & Heath mixer. In the studio it's Logic, an Access Virus and a bunch of soft synths.
DS - Talk us through how you got involved in the scene way back when?
PS - It started through radio, it was a weekly Pete Tong show in 1991 that I listened to, as there were no clubs in my area playing this music. I've had a soft spot for radio ever since. First club experiences were with Nomad and Capella and Black Box tunes, Neneh Cherry and Paula Abdul. Started playing in 1993 and it just went from there.
DS - Where do you see music moving towards?
PS - This minimal thing appears to have more longevity than everyone previously thought, it's still huge here in Amsterdam. Techno seems to be big, both Ali Dubfire and Sharam have traded in house for it, Nic Fanciulli also plays it. Christian Smith has come up with a wicked sound too recently, kinda techno house, really funky.
DS - Who's the best DJ and/or live act you've seen this year?
PS - 16 Bit Lolita's are always amazing, playing all their stuff. I played before Sasha at Rockit festival this year, he was top notch as usual.
DS - Word through the grapevines is that you've just signed to Ferry Corstens' underground Aleph recordings label? Care to comment?
PS - Yes, it's the Landguard track I did with Edgar Duijff, it's out now on Aleph which is a sublabel of Flashover, selling really well and supported by 16Bit, Paolo Mojo, Hernan, Lucien Foort and many more.
DS - Talk to us about the Schaamteloos DJs?
PS - It's a hook-up with two Dutch guys, Jan Boom and Branko van Hilten. They are residents at my Floorplay night in Amsterdam, and I play with them at Panama too. We sometimes play together at a beach party or somewhere also.
DS - What's the strangest thing you've seen or experienced while playing?
PS - Lots, people sometimes mistake the DJ box for a bar and try to order a drink. I have seen people trip over cables flat on their face. I had a monitor fall on me mid-set in Portland, Oregon, it just lay on the floor buzzing after that.
DS - Best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
PS - Follow your instinct.
DS - So what do you listen to at home or to chill out?
PS - Anything but dance music!
DS - Thanks for your time, and looking forward to hearing you in Africa soon.
PS - Thank you EMP, see you soon.
- Electronic Music Performer (Feb 2009)


"Review on Tuc-a-Toe (Short Bus Kids presents Winter Sampler EP; Bounce House Recordings)"

"... DK Watts teams up with 2 different artists to show us some funky beats that warm up those long cold winter nights- Tuc-a-Toe by DK Watts & Paul Sparkes has tight tuff bassbeats, vocal layers dynamically interwoven intricately in to the bass, quirky catchy and set for DJ sets." - Deep South Audio (Jan 2011)


"Review on Tuc-a-Toe (Short Bus Kids presents Winter Sampler EP; Bounce House Recordings)"

RECOMMENDED By Russell Deeks (9/10 score)

Short Bus Kids presents Winter Sampler EP
Bounce House (US), BHEP24

Although featuring the SBK in the title, this is actually a 'various artists' EP, albeit with DK Watts collaborating on two tracks. Bounce House has long been a fave label of this page, so if you've yet to get onboard the short bus, the five tracks here will serve as the perfect introduction to the label's deep, jackin' house sound, as well as showcasing their newest talents. For existing Bounce House devotees, it's a no-brainer. - iDJ Magazine (Dec 2010)


Discography

Paul Sparkes & Mike Seaver 'Tactic Mist' (2011, released on charity compilation album Nachtlab for Japan)
Paul Sparkes & Stephen Fox 'Anorok' (Alter Image Recordings, 2010)
Edgar Duijff & Paul Sparkes 'Waveheat' (Alter Image Recordings, 2009)
Edgar Duijff & Paul Sparkes 'Weekender' (Aleph Recordins, 2008)
Edgar Duijff & Paul Sparkes 'Landguard' (Aleph Recordins, 2008)
NGE & Paul Sparkes 'Response' (Alter Image Recordings, 2007)
PLX 'La Loca' (Silver Planet, UK, 2006)
Ben Camp & Paul Sparkes 'Robots' (Silver Planet, UK, 2006)
Ben Camp & Paul Sparkes 'May Music' (Silver Planet, UK, 2005)
Muzikjunki & Paul Sparkes 'Closer Than You' (F2 Records, Holland, 2005)
Fadoua Mae 'Signs' (MJPS remix) (2Recordz, 2004)
BCML & Paul Sparkes 'Fun/Ladysparkes' (Silver Planet, UK, 2004)

Unsigned
Paul Sparkes, Timothy Watt & Farshad Kay 'Feet R Rocking' (2011)
Paul Sparkes 'Stay Away' (2011)
Paul Sparkes & Dave Brickwood 'Cuba' (2010)
Paul Sparkes & Dave Brickwood 'Moderate' (2010)
Paul Sparkes & Dave Brickwood 'Salame' (2010)
Paul Sparkes & Dave Brickwood 'Loco Control' (2010)
NGE & Paul Sparkes 'Lucky Boy' (2010)
The Hoosiers 'Ocean' (Paul Sparkes & Joa-G remix) (2010)
The Hoosiers 'Unlikely Hero' (Paul Sparkes & Joa-G remix) (2010)
17C Project (Stephen Fox & Paul Sparkes) 'Marker One' (2007)
NGE & Paul Sparkes 'Logic' (2007)
NGE & Paul Sparkes 'Landguard' (2007)

Photos

Bio

A DJ since 1995, Paul has headlined gigs at top clubs globally for the last ten years. He is resident DJ and promoter of Floorplay, a monthly night at the glamorous Club NL in Amsterdam. He is also much in demand to perform at music conferences, festivals, fashion shows and numerous beach parties.

He mixed the 11 Years Of Silver Planet mix album in 2008, and has signed his first single entitled Landguard (co-produced with Edgar Duijff) to Ferry Corsten's Aleph Records. The track was supported by Sasha, Desyn Masiello, 16Bit Lolitas, Hernan Cattaneo, Lucien Foort and many more. Since then he has released Weekender and Waveheat to Ferry’s label. Melodic hit Anorok followed on NYC’s Alter Image Recordings, followed up by house stormer Lucky Boy which aimed directly for the more housier floors.

Paul has a long history of radio and for three years presented 365LiveRadio. The two-hour Friday night show was syndicated across the world by ID&T's Dance Tunes and featured live mixes and exclusive interviews with the top DJs and producers. Paul recently made the switch to hosting Global Dance Selection on Red Bull Music Academy.

Paul is powered by Pioneer Pro DJ to perform his DVJ sets which offers a new and revolutionary audio/visual combination to clubland – the ability to spin with DVDs on giant plasma screens at clubs and festivals is one which is taking dance music to the next level and Paul is often booked exclusively for a DVJ show.

This hard-working British DJ has incredibly played in the US, Israel, Sweden, Germany, Dubai, Russia, Bahrain, Finland and Belgium and his native UK in 2010. He has rocked tours of America from Conneticut to Cayman Islands, New Haven to New York, and Boston, Seattle, LA, Portland and Tampa. Unforgettable clubnights in Tel Aviv, wild beach party in Egypt (in 40 degree heat), reputable music conferences such London Calling, Stockholm Electronica and Amsterdam Dance Event, boat parties in Dublin, an intimate back street club in Edinburgh, sell-out gigs in Honululu during Mardi Gras, DJing barefoot on the sand in Grand Cayman and many more experiences keep this focussed DJ at the top of his game as we kick-off 2011.