Paul Maddox got his lucky break within the music industry after handing a demo production CD to the Tidy Boys at one of their gigs. He rapidly became the boy wonder of hard house mesmerising those who laid ears on his productions, He speaks to Johnny Dangerous about his productions returning to Tidy and what he has been upto since those days.
You got your lucky break following that infamous remix of N-Trance’s Set U Free. Can you tell us the story for those that may have been late to the party?
I’d been producing for a year or two, and handed my remix to Andy and Amo at a gig, (One Love in Mansfield I think!). As it turned out, they were looking for a kind of apprentice in the studio, so as well as putting the remix out on a white label, I got brought into the fold and given an opportunity to learn how to do it all properly!
Did you ever send the track to AATW before you sent it to Tidy? If not why Tidy first?
It was actually just one track on a CD with six or seven others, but with the benefit of experience I probably should’ve done!
How did you get into making music and how did you fund it back then?
I was a bit of a geek, so I was always playing around with computers. I was also a huge music fan, so the two kind of merged and I started playing around with things like Dance eJay and ReBirth.
As I got a bit deeper into it I invested in a few modest bits of equipment which were funded by a mixture of birthday and Christmas presents, and what I earned from my weekend job at a butcher’s shop.
You were relatively young when you joined Tidy and rapidly became established as one of the scene’s most talented producers. That must have been some roller coaster ride with the productions, remixes and DJing?
Yeah, they were great times, and thank you! Going from music being my hobby to my career in a relatively short space of time was a total whirlwind but really shaped the course of my whole life.
What have you been doing since you left Tidy?
I’ve always kept my hand in the hard house scene, but have done quite a lot outside it too, including being half of Spektre, running our label Respekt, and doing a fair bit of co-producing and engineering for other artists, as well as teaching music production.
You contributed to one of the Hard House Producer Series USB’s. It was some collection… was it difficult to get so much work together?
It wasn’t too bad actually! I’m a bit of an archivist (some might say more of a hoarder), so most of it was pretty easy to find.
As you said, you are also one half of Spektre. Can you tell us about that?
Sure, it’s a moniker of myself and Rich Wakley under which we’ve been making various flavours of techno for almost fifteen years now, and is my main focus most of the time.
Do you think we will see any Spektre releases or remixes on Tidy?
The techno sound has been circling back onto a lot of trends from the late 90’s that were also key to the Tidy sound, so it does feel like we’re at a bit of a confluence of two of my musical streams. If there was ever a time for it to happen, now would be it!
Your new release on Tidy is called Slightly Mad. Can you tell us the story behind it and how it came about?
It was a bit of a lockdown project really. I hadn’t made anything on the harder tip for a little while, so with plenty of time on my hands I just spent a few days going through all my hard house vinyl and started to get a bit of a vibe together for something new. The weird arrangement was a bit of a happy accident, which works, but is slightly mad!
You are also one of the TidyPro tutors. What made you want to become involved with the project?
The team approached me, and as I’d been doing quite a bit of tuition on the techno side of things it seemed like a logical step to share a bit of knowledge for the harder generation too.
What do you teach on TidyPro?
Various aspects of music production in Ableton Live, which is my software of choice. I’ve done a couple of deconstructions where I show how a particular track was put together, and a couple of sessions focussing on specific aspects of building a track.
Can you see any talent emerging through TidyPro that we should be aware of?
There are some really good bits getting made, so I have no doubt that there will be some Tidy and Untidy releases coming through.
You are a bit of a studio geek… what floats your boat?
My gear lust has lessened a bit as time has gone on, as I definitely went through a phase of being more interested in the equipment than the process. I have a pretty streamlined setup these days with just a Mac, a great pair of monitors, and a very small selection of outboard.
How does it feel to be back working with Tidy?
I never really stopped to be honest, but having the opportunity to be a bit more of a regular collaborator recently has been great. Tidy has been absolutely instrumental in my career and development, so it’s a good feeling to be reliving a bit of that magic.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
That’s a hard one! We’ve done some pretty spectacular Spektre shows alongside the likes of Carl Cox, Adam Beyer and so on, but having played at every Weekender is definitely still high on the list!
What can we expect forthcoming from you on Tidy?
Slightly Mad is out on the 5th March, along with a straight up hard house chugger called “Build it Up” on the B-side. There may be more to come too, so keep ‘em peeled.
After all these years… how do you manage to stay Slightly Sane..?
I gave up on that idea in about 2001, ha ha!
Slightly Mad / Build It Up is released this week on Beatport.