When DJ Paul Taylor talks about music, you stop and you listen.
The visionary vinyl spinner put Burnley on the map during the early 90s with some of the biggest club nights the country had ever seen.
Thousands of revellers travelled the length and breadth of the country to Angels as the likes of Sasha, Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Boy George and Pete Tong lit up the legendary club.
And it was here, during those halcyon days, where Retro was born. Despite now being a brand recognised the world over, Paul has certainly not forgotten its roots.
He may have moved from Scotland to Burnley when he was a teenager but he doesn’t hesitate in calling this town home. And so when he sees the scene he helped create here all those years ago dying a death, make no mistake, it hurts.
“I keep my ear to the ground and I’m sick of it. I really feel for the town. I’ve lived there since I was 14. There isn’t a club in the area to put Retro in, it’s ridiculous. The last gig I did in Burnley was at the beginning of the year at Vogue (Hammerton Street) and it was a sell out. It was nightmare though and I’ll never go back there.
“I’ve been approached by a few people in town but there just isn’t the room to make Retro work. And everything has to be right with my brand. I’ve had it for 27 years.
“It has to be the right lights, right sound system, right size, everything. The sad thing is the people in Burnley still want it.”
While the Retro band remains as strong as ever, the thought of it never returning to Burnley clearly saddens him.
“It’s just ridiculous. Burnley should have its own premier underground club where people can enjoy the music like we used to. It’s just gone though. Burnley’s dead now and it’s never going to happen again, unless somebody invests. But of course when you invest you have to get your money back and there isn’t enough people in Burnley now wanting to come out to enjoy themselves.
“Dance culture hasn’t changed. You go out in Manchester on a Saturday night and it’s absolutely booming. I know they’ve got students there, a lot more than Burnley, but the house scene at the moment is great.
“It’s full of melodies. Girls are into it, which is a big thing. It always goes full circle, dance music. It’ll go through periods where it’s getting a bit tetchy and a bit too laddy but now’s gone full circle and girls are loving dancing again and Burnley is missing out on this opportunity.”
Paul will next be appearing around these parts on the Friday night at Beat-Herder (July 17th) when he takes the 10pm slot in the Fortress. He cannot wait.
“I’m not a great lover of festivals. Festivals can destroy club world because people who go to festivals don’t go out for a month before or a month after because they are skint. So I would never contemplate DJing at Creamfields because I don’t think it’s right. Now, Beat-Herder on the other hand is so eclectic and so wonderful in its approach and the way it makes you smile and laugh, it’s different. It reminds me very much of what it could have been like if I was old enough to appreciate the early 60s when the hippies were having it right off. It’s a modern day hippy festival for people who are into all sorts of music and who want to enjoys themselves.
“There are no attitudes there, there’s a cross breed of people, kids right through to grandmas and grandads and a lot of my fans goes there. It’s constantly changing as well and some of the ideas are amazing.
“I’m actually quite flattered that I’ve been asked to come back for a third year in a row and I can’t wait.”
Paul turns 58 in August. He has been DJing for 39 years now and the passion for his craft remains as infectious as ever. There’s certainly no sign of him hanging up those headphones just yet.
“Definitely not. I feel fitter than I did 30 years ago. I look after myself, I’m not a great alcohol drinker, I do have the odd drink, I do a bit of running and I eat proper food.
“I’ve still got this young feeling inside of me because I’m playing for young people all the time. I still feel like I’m 25 and I still act like it. I’ve never felt that I have been separated physically or mentally by a crowd, I’ve never felt like a crowd is not into me or that I’m feeling a bit too old for this scene now. I’ve never thought that, ever in my life, and I am worried about that day because it will have to come. I am going to try and get past 60 though and maybe become one of the oldest dance DJs in the country – maybe try and break and a record or two. I’ve certainly still got the passion.”
And long may it continue.
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