Get to know a DJ: Scuba
Musician Paul Rose comes in many forms. Widely known as the driving force behind Hotflush Recordings - a label that's been pushing the boundaries of electronic music since its founding in 2003 - Rose also reigned over Berlin club Berghain with his residency set SUB:STANCE, and has a release in the famous DJ-Kicks compilation series.
Yet it is for his alias, Scuba, that Rose is most recognized. He will be attacking Coda (formerly Footwork) under this name, in a can't-miss stop on his North American tour that opened with Mexico's BPM Festival on January 5th.
Leading up to the show this Friday I chatted with the UK-born DJ to get some perspective on his musical roots.
First things first, where did you grow up?
In north London.
How did you get into DJ-ing?
I got into techno when I was 15 or 16, having played guitar and been in bands since I was really young, and part of that was going to record shops and spending all my money on vinyl. I didn't get my first set of decks (which I still have) until a bit later though, and my first paid gig was a year or so after that.
Who were your major influences starting out?
Carl Cox's FACT 1 mix was a key thing for me early, but there were so many different things happening back then and being in London most of the good stuff was right on my doorstep. So I went to a lot of jungle nights where Andy C and Mampi Swift were the stand out DJs for me. Techno was the main thing for me though, there were two shows on Kiss FM (Colin Dale and Colin Faver) which I used to record and listen to on the way to school.
How did you start Hotflush Recordings? What has your favourite release from the label been thus far?
Hotflush was a complete DIY thing for ages, we didn't even have proper distribution for the first 4 or 5 releases. The label has gone through various different musical stages, obviously it was a big part of the early dubstep thing, and then the "post-dubstep" thing happened with Mount Kimbie, and in the last 2 or 3 years we've been much more focused on house and techno. So it's difficult to pick any one release because there's been so much different stuff.
You moved to Berlin in 2007. How does the German music scene compare to the UK?
Well, Berlin is very different to the rest of Germany and the same applies to the music scene. The UK generally is incredibly forward thinking, and since 1990 every important new thing in electronic music has basically come from there, and actually you could make a reasonable case that it's all come from London. Berlin is probably the best western city to go on a night out, and Berghain is still probably the best club in the world, but generally I wouldn't say that cutting edge music is something that I associate with Germany or even Berlin.
There were some amazing selections on your DJ-Kicks album. Did you have a theme or tone in mind when you chose those tracks? What was your experience like making that album?
The mix I did for DJ-Kicks was an attempt to condense the longer sets that I was playing at Berghain around that time, where I'd start off at around 135bpm and gradually slow down over the course of 3 or 4 hours to something around 122bpm. So there was a concept behind it, and listening back to it now I'm not sure if I completely succeeded in what I was attempting to do. It feels a little rushed to me, but the music is great...
I think if I'd had another 30 minutes or so to play the same number of tracks in the same order the result might've felt a little bit more natural to me now. It's a long time ago (nearly 3 years) that I did it though, and quite a lot has changed in the way I approach things in that time.
What's in your headphones when you aren't onstage?
What's your favourite thing about playing live?
The opportunity to test out music that I've spent the whole week working on in the studio. Of course it doesn't always work out well, but the instant feedback is crucial.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite song? Darling Nikki by Prince
Favourite venue? Arsenal Stadium, Highbury (RIP)
Favourite food? Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
Favourite beer? Anything flat, not too cold, served in a pub in England.
Scuba plays Coda on January 31st for the official Brrr Festival pre-party.