Dance music is emerging from its self-destructive, monotonous slumber. Perhaps most surprising — as obviously logical as it may seem — is that it's not the new faces making the most noticeable impact. It's the OG players who are making it happen with nothing more than a sense of fundamental evolution.
Two of the most adaptive personalities that have weathered the uninspiring period following dance music's heyday are among the best prepared to confront the scene's resurgence: Dave Audé and Tall Paul. Remix caught up with both of them on a fine Melrose afternoon at one of the local vinyl haunts, The Temple of Boom. Appropriately, it was the very eve of Audé and Paul's releases (Audacious and The Beat Technique, respectively) on Koch.
Emerging in the '90s, Dave Audé served as in-house producer and remixer for Moonshine Records; traveled the globe as a mainstay in dance history's greatest parties and clubs; and on top of too many labels to list, dropped bangers on his own label, Audacious.
Not many DJs can boast 16 No. 1 remixes on the Billboard Dance Chart, but Audé can (including Gorillaz, Coldplay, Sting and Britney Spears). And players such as Paul Oakenfold and DJ Dan frequently tap Audé's talents when they're looking for fresh ears to tweak their own productions. Additionally, Audé works alongside longtime friend and current touring partner, Tall Paul.
There are few DJs as well known around the world as Tall Paul, a fact only magnified by his seemingly permanent spot on DJmag's Top 100 and BPM's annual rankings. At 19, Paul managed to secure a residency at the UK's legendary Trade party, propelling him to a secure position in the world's exploding dance-music scene of the '90s.
Since then, he's put out more than 20 mix albums (among them, some of the genre's most defining compilations series, including Dance Nation, The Annual and The Clubber's Guide) on labels including Moonshine, Ministry of Sound, Virgin and his own Duty Free Recordings. And then there are his charting remixes for acts such as Blondie, Duran Duran, New Order and, most recently, Keane's “Is It Any Wonder?”
Both artists come from the same class but perhaps from different schools. Paul embraces new technologies with more spontaneous acceptance. “I get maybe two records a week, and I haven't used vinyl in a couple of years,” he says. “Ever since those Pioneer [CDJs] came out, I actually prefer them.” Meanwhile, Audé approaches his craft in a more traditional sense. “I don't like the fact that people are playing music off the computer,” he says. “I love vinyl. I like having to actually mix records.” That isn't to say that he hasn't succumbed to using digital technology. “A lot of times I go to places where they're not expecting guys to play vinyl anymore,” he laments. “So the turntables suck; they don't have needles, the tonearm is messed up, or the weight is messed up.”
The way Audé and Paul integrate analog with digital also comes from opposing ends of rationale. “I'll produce records and give out the CDs or send them through AIM or iChat accounts, and if I get the right vibe back, then I'll press some up on vinyl,” Paul says. But Audé takes the flipside approach: “I buy usually five to 10 vinyl records per week. I play the vinyl, and if the record is huge, I'll record it in and play the CD.”
Despite its ease and accessibility, the onslaught of music offered through the Web has created new issues for DJs. “I think commercial companies used to be a sort of filter,” Paul says. “If someone gave them a record and said, ‘I'm thinking of pressing up 1,000 copies of these. Would you promote it?’ they might be like, ‘We don't think it's right yet.’ Now, that person can just burn up 100 CDs. I think it's a quality-control issue.”
“Back in the day when I bought my first record, the guys [at stores] who were ordering records would kind of point you in the right direction,” Audé adds. “Nowadays, you go online and have to listen to a shitload of MP3s and figure out what you want.”
“Every now and then, you do find that hidden gem,” Paul says with a smile. “You have to go through it all and be patient, man. It's hard, but there are always one or two that pop up.” Fortunately, Paul and Audé collected a whopping nine gems at Temple of Boom — ah, success.
Dave Audé's tracks:
“Heart of Darkness” (Adrift)
I've loved these guys for years. Probably better known for breakbeats, these guys really surprised me with this progressive piece of space funk. Can't wait to try this out this weekend and on the tour. Two thumbs up, guys!
“Bad Boy Rockin (Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero Remix)” (Sondos)
The train is rockin'. Harry “Choo Choo” kicks ass with this tribal progressive peak stomper. This has a few elements of electro, which makes it a perfect supplement to pretty much every record out there at the moment. I hope there's a paramedic on hand when I drop this one.
“Is It Love (Starkillers Remix)” (Made)
Everyone expects me to play the big-name records. This isn't one of those times, however. I wasn't really interested until I found out that Starkillers (Nick Terranova) remixed this track. Nick is the man of the moment, and I'm backing him 100 percent. Just when you thought Nick was just an electro guy, he makes this progressive monster that has a progressive DJ's dancefloor in mind. Big room, big sound, big record.
LITTLE GREEN MEN
This has all the right ingredients: great bass line, great drums, great vocal and great production — nothing but an absolutely solid track here. No hype, just go buy it now.
This is one of those smooth progressive tracks that you play to get the room warmed up. It's solid and has just the right amount of tension. Trippy effects and hypnotic synths send even the modest head-bobber in a head-shakin' frenzy. I punched in Chris' name into Google and discovered he's been cranking out the jams for a few years — check his ass out now!
Tall Paul's tracks:
BLACK RUSSIAN VS. CHESHIRE CATZ
“Hooked on Hope” (Fakt)
This track starts off as a good groover and builds very nicely. There's plenty of dirty production, but at the same time, it's still very dancefloor friendly.
“Theme From Oliver Casco” (Nano)
Best out of the bunch. It's not your average floor filler but still has an amazing feel to it. It's mellow but has a strong funk-electro vibe. Play it loud.
Taxi Driver Picture Disc (White Label)
This is great. It has some of the classic lines from a classic film, Robert De Niro's Taxi Driver. It's De Niro at his absolute darkest. It's not really for the clubs, but it's a prize collector's piece.
“Exceeder (DJ Fex Remix)” (Boss)
This track follows in the very popular D Ramirez sound. The original has been a big tune for many over the summer, getting across-the-board plays in Ibiza. This remix manages to still keep the best bits of the original but at the same time giving it a cooler edge.