Filed under: Interview
You may’ve heard his Heretic radioshow, you’ve definitely heard his prog stomping ‘1983’ and now you’ve even heard all about his medical history. That’s right it’s Paolo Mojo, former ‘Best Bedlam DJ, record label owner, “Balance” series contributor and international DJ extraordinaire.
Back on world touring duties, after a stint on the sidelines due to illness, we chatted to Paolo Mojo backstage at Womb nightclub.
Interview & Introduction by Nick Lawrence (HigherFrequency)
HigherFrequency (HRFQ) : Firstly, we wanted to ask you how you are. You’ve been sick, are you feeling better?
Paolo Mojo : I’m still not 100% to be honest. I’ve got some problem with my gall bladder at the moment which causes a bit of pain, it comes up into the shoulder. It’s a little bit inconvenient but I’m a lot better than I was.
HRFQ : Is it something that’s always going to be a problem?
Paolo Mojo : God, I hope not. I’ve got to be careful. The worst case scenario is they’ve got to take my gall bladder out but apparently that is a very simple procedure, it’s an operation you can have in a day. But it might not even come to that, it may just be a case of waiting for things to calm down because pancreatitis is quite a serious thing and it’s not unusual to have residue pains quite a few weeks after the event.
HRFQ : Are you on full touring duty again now or are you still cutting back?
Paolo Mojo : Yeah, I’m pretty much back on full touring. I mean I’m now away until Christmas. I’m going out of Japan, into China, into Hawaii and then all the way through America, back home for Christmas and out to South America for New Year’s. Things are still pretty hectic. Obviously I had a really quiet October, I didn’t do any work then, and November has been mainly gigs in the UK just to get me back into it.
HRFQ : You are touring around to pretty much everywhere, has that just been since your “Balance” CD?
Paolo Mojo : Well, kind of. There’s never really a point where you notice things have changed. I guess in 2004 I started to my own producing, I got an Essential Mix, then the end of that year I joined with Excession and the following year I did a lot of touring with Sasha. Then I wrote a few more records, things like ‘1983’ and then I got the “Balance”. You know, all these little things kind of built up and built up and built up. Now there is another CD next year, don’t think I can say who that is with but it’s a good one. So there will be a big world tour with that one as well. So you just kind of take it from day to day really. I suppose if I look back on three years ago I think yeah I have come along a bit.
HRFQ : Where did you get the name Paolo Mojo from?
Paolo Mojo : Well Paolo is my nickname. My grandfather is from Italy and my dad used to call me Paolo since I was a baby, so I’ve always been Paolo. Mojo came as part of a club night that I got involved with a couple of other guys called Desyn Masiello and 16B, that was about six or seven years ago. So I just became known as Paolo from Mojo, and it was just about the time that internet message boards became popular as well. I had to pick a handle, so to promote the night I called myself Paolo Mojo and it just kind of stuck from there. I won the Bedroom Bedlam competition with Music Magazine and they asked me what I wanted to be called and I just chose Paolo Mojo. I remember regretting it for a few weeks later but I’ve grown to love it now. Everybody seems to like it and it is one of those names people seem to remember so I am comfortable with it.
HRFQ : You worked on the “Heretic” project with Cass, is there anything else you guys will be working on in the future?
Paolo Mojo : Well it’s funny you mention that, we’ve actually been farting around in the studio together again, which is probably the best way to describe it even when we were doing the CD and the remixes. So, without wishing to nailing myself to the wall I would suggest we will be doing some new stuff together, probably an EP. I don’t think we’ll do another CD because that was of its time, and something that just felt right at the time, but doing new material together is certainly something we’ve been looking at.
HRFQ : Now you have your label Oosh and you have had two other labels before. Do you view these record labels as another artistic output or is it purely business?
Paolo Mojo : I viewed the first two labels…Actually they were one and the same, Orc Music and Music is Freedom were really one label. The reason why I stopped doing those was because I lost loads of money. I didn’t know how to run a label. The difference with Oosh! is I have other people managing it for me, so all I have to do is produce the tracks and find the tracks. So it’s A&R and producer, and to be honest that’s all I wanted to be. I remember Dean, who is the label manager, said to me, “Right, we need an invoice for this amount.” So I thought I owed him that but he was like, “No you plank! It’s not like before, your label is actually selling now, we owe you money!”. So I guess these days the nice thing is that they view it as a business but I can view it as creativity. The older you get the more you realize what you are good at and also what you are not very good at and I realized I am not very good at running record labels.
HRFQ : Apparently you could afford your first decks because of insurance money you received from a car crash you were in. Is there a similar story with how you got started with producing?
Paolo Mojo : Producing is just something I started doing on somebody’s Mac that I borrowed. Then I started doing stuff on pirated software on my PC, like I think everybody does. These days I am legit and I am back on Apple. The great thing about the past few years is that production has become a very democratic thing. The bar has been lowered for entry, you don’t need to have a studio full of expensive gear to make good music. Obviously the flipside of that is that you get a lot of mediocre music as well. But from my point of view, a cheap PC and some cracked software, that got me into making music. I think once you are in a position to get everything sorted out and make it legal then you should do but I think there is a lot to be said for not having barriers to making music.
HRFQ : And your DJ work is the perfect place to road test your productions.
Paolo Mojo : It is, and it’s amazing how many time I’ve thought I’ve finished a track and I’ve gone out and played it in a club and you just hear something or see how it works with the people. And you think, “I could have never got that kind of feedback or that notion to change something by listening to it in my studio a million times”. It is amazing as well just the dynamics of sound. I mean I’ve gotten more used to this now because I now know how the music sounds in my studio relates to how it sounds in a club, but when I first started oh my god the difference was just incredible. What you thought you’d produced well and you take it into the club and it just sounds flabby and just all over the place. But I think I’ve got a pretty…I don’t think you should say you can never improve, because the day you stop learning is the day you should stop full stop, but I’m definitely a lot more comfortable now.
End of the interview
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