FRISKY Artist of the Week Paul Sawyer continues to pursue his passions across the industry.
Paul Sawyer is a stalwart of the electronic music industry, dedicated, determined, and not afraid to get his hands dirty. In the early 90’s, Paul dove in headfirst into the underground world of Hampshire, discovering and polishing his sound when the industry evolved from the rave to the club, and finding his way to Ibiza where he solidified his place as a skilled and passionate DJ. He played along some of the biggest names in the industry, and was named one of the Top 10 Resident DJs by Mixmag. With a life efficiently intertwined with the music, Paul launched EJ Underground, releasing deep vibes of house, tech, and progressive and producing his own music that received global recognition, eventually partnering with Endemic Digital boss Darren Braddick to launch Krafted Music Group. Paul has continued to impact the music scene through his involvement in the industry, from crafting Krafted releases, to performing at some of the biggest underground events in the world, his dedication to the music is reflected in all that he does.
On Tuesday January 17th @ 2PM EST, Paul Sawyer will be bringing it all to FRISKY as Artist of the Week. Stay tuned for his resident show Textures, coming soon to a FRISKY near you. 😉
I was excited to catch up with Paul as he gets ready to get FRISKY:
What is your electronic music origin story?
This goes way back to when I was at school. I had already been playing the violin and piano from the age of 6, so when I started secondary school at 11, I discovered Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Jan Hammer and loved that electronic sound straight away. I begged my Dad to buy me a keyboard for Christmas and was lucky enough to receive one. That was it, I was hooked!
From then on, I sat and listened to all the Jean Michel Jarre albums, learning how to play every track. I played in various bands throughout school and went to my first club when I was 16. It was there that I discovered dance music.
In the late 80’s/ early 90’s the rave scene had exploded in the UK and my younger brother decided he wanted to be a DJ. It was 1991 and I was 18, driving him to various raves. This was a huge eye opener for me, as I loved the whole concept of the events. It wasn’t long and I started to DJ myself, playing house music from 1993 and landed my first gig warming up for Sasha.
It wasn’t long and I was flying to the white isle of Ibiza to play a one-off event and was invited back for the entire season the following year. I was playing every night at The Star Club, now renamed Eden. Carl Cox was weekly resident and The Prodigy made a rare appearance.
I’ve been back there numerous occasions now and the energy is still amazing, it’s definitely a special place when it comes to house music.
After spending so much time in Ibiza, I was promoting my own brand in the UK and was playing at some of the biggest events such as Cream, Bedrock, Renaissance and gaining a lot of press support from Mixmag, and DJ Magazine.
My current brand ‘Krafted’ came out of a new partnership with Darren Braddick in 2013 and we’ve been hosting regular events at the infamous Ministry of Sound, and Egg in London. We also host an event at Amsterdam Dance Event each year, as well as a one-off event in Los Angeles in May 2016 with our new partner Jason Miller who’s LA based.
Do you feel that what motivated you in the beginning of your involvement with the music still does so today?
I would say yes, the passion that I have for music is huge, overwhelming. It’s no secret that labels struggle to cover the cost of releasing music. But I couldn’t give it up, I love working with our team and all the artists who are involved. Every turn we make there’s just something exciting about it. We constantly connect with new people and its a buzz.
That’s when you know you’re passionate about it and your motivation is very much alive.
If you could change one thing about today’s electronic music industry, what would it be?
The one thing I’d change is piracy. I’d love to be able to put a stop to it once and for all. That way there would be more financial gain for everyone who put so much of their life into it.
What is the driving force behind Krafted? Is there a definitive quality that runs through all of your releases?
It’s taken a lot of time to refine Krafted and explore the direction for the brand. It’s made more complex due to there being more than one label. Making sure we define the sound of each label was a big step in the right direction for us and reducing the number of labels to a more manageable number.
We were spreading ourselves so thinly that it was really difficult to expose every release to a level that they deserved.
I concentrate of Krafted Underground which reflects that sound that I play and use in my podcasts, gigs and guest mixes. It’s been so important for me as it has helped fuse relationships with fellow producers, dj’s and labels.
I truly believe helping each other out in this industry is so important.
What accomplishments in your career are you most proud of?
There’s so many goals that I’ve set myself over the years, from playing my first club, to first festival, first festival abroad, first release and then there’s starting a label, getting airplay on shows like Pete Tong’s Essential Selection, Mark Knight’s Toolroom Radio show and having tracks in the Beatport charts, one of which reached number 7.
It’s a never ending list of goals that and I still have so many to achieve.
One of my goals was to eventually to have a show on Frisky Radio, something that I set myself a long time ago, so to be asked to host a monthly show was amazing!
What are some upcoming projects or gigs that you are excited about?
I have my new residency at Trash in Rotterdam that I will be flying over for each month. The guys that run it have become my close friends and I’ve met so many new friends there. Its one place that I love to play at, the atmosphere is second to none.
I also have a number of releases coming out in the early part of 2017 on labels including Juicy Music, Pineapple Digital, Nueva Deep and also on a compilation that’s out in February on Krafted Underground that I’ve spent a few months compiling. There’s some great tracks on this from Third Son, GMJ, Darin Epsilon, Redux Saints, Simon Sinfield, Dom Kane, Tim Engelhardt plus many more.
The album is celebrating my new show on Frisky, under the same name ‘Textures’ and reflects what I’ll be playing each month.
We’re hosting the Dance Arena at Pulse Festival later this year, something that we did in 2015 which was a great opportunity to showcase some of the artists signed to Krafted.
I’m hoping to return to San Francisco again for the Airpusher Crew. I’ve played for them two years in a row now and I love their parties. Hopefully more dates in the US too, so lets see.
Be sure to tune into Paul Sawyer’s FRISKY Artist of the Week, airing Tuesday January 17th @ 2PM EST [convert timezone]