Manchester AfterDark

Manchester AfterDark

The former Leftfield producer/remixer chats to AD ahead of his guest spot at new club night Construct


Paul Daley, together with production partner Neil Barnes, was once part of the legendary house act Leftfield. As both producers and remixers they were responsible for a raft of progressive dance tracks that saw the birth of a sub-genre that repaid its fathers by taking its name from their band. After their debut single, ‘Not Forgotten’, and remixes such as React II Rhythm’s ‘Intoxication’ made their name, their next releases on their own Hard Hands label included the anthemic ‘Song Of Life’, the chart hit ‘Open Up’ with John Lydon and their critically worshipped debut album, ‘Leftism’.

Paul doesn’t DJ as frequently as many of his contemporaries, aside from a summer residency in Ibiza, so when Construct promoters James McArdle and Martin Hewitt decided to launch their club night at the Northern Quarter’s Moho venue, it must have seemed like a real coup to draw Paul out of hiding.

We asked Paul what he’s been doing since Leftfield split 6 years ago. It seems he’s “been bunkered up working on some new music.” 6 years is quite a length of time in house music and clubland. Entire dance sub-genres have shifted in popularity and become yesterday’s music de jour since then. Perfection can’t be rushed, but it seems Paul’s nearly there. “I am now taking stuff away and stripping tracks down to essentials so I must be near the finish. I don’t know what people expect. I’m sure they will let me know if they like it or not!”

So to give us an idea of where he’s headed, he named the labels that float his boat. We’re talking about music on “Kompact, Cadenza, 8 Bit, Herzblut, Gumption, Leftroom”, among others. Minimal tech house from places such as Germany, Switzerland and France.

With his former band having been credited with pioneering a new sound and creating a genre tag, you’d expect Paul to feel pressure to innovate when his new music is released. Not only that, but Leftfield were well-known for working with the people that are regarded as innovators, such as Afrika Bambaataa and John Lydon. Paul trusts his own instincts on this topic: “I do what I feel is right and try to do what I did 20 years ago when no one knew who Leftfield were, which is to focus on trying to make as good music as possible with the tools you have and try to enjoy the process. All the other stuff is a by-product of this process.”

Back to the reason for his visit to Manchester, and the question of why his DJ stints are so rare on these shores and he sounds like a pragmatic veteran: “Times change, so do my energy levels. New, young people have to be given room to do their thing.” It comes as no great surprise that a man who took powerful, electronic house and then added such apparently alien influences as dub, punk and ragga should embrace the future of dance music, whatever it may hold, and face it with an open mind. “I’m happy with the way things are and grateful that people are still interested in the noise I make. I played all over the UK during the 90s and rarely did a gig I did not enjoy.”

Technology has moved on since the 90s and DJs have more choice about music formats than ever before. So when Paul arrives on Tib Street, what will he be carrying into the club? A laptop full of mp3s? Wallets stuffed with promo CDs? In the style of a true deckspinner and underground tune collector he doesn’t hesitate, “I’m very much a Vinyl Lionel!” Once he’s in the club, the crowd can expect 2 things: “Beautiful noise and sweat!” AD looks forward to hearing one, and doing the other.

Paul Daley plays at the Construct party, Moho Live on 14th March.

Written by: Justin Richards


24/08/2009 by John Hughes( Quebic records)
brill review man. would it be poss to get hold of paul and ask , what mixing console was used to produce leftism please. thanx justin if at all possible John.
Rated 5 out of 5

Leave a comment


Paul Daley (Leftfield) DJ Paul Daley Construct