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Breaks Banter: Paul Arnold

DJmag.com caught up with breakbeat DJ Paul 'Trouble' Arnold to discuss the future of breaks, ketomine, and minimal.

Paul Arnold
Paul Arnold's dog loves breakbeat apparently


Paul Arnold
Little known fact: Paul once auditioned to be in boyband Westlife
Paul 'Trouble' Arnold's opening statement is likely to upset some DJmag.com readers, but with a middle-name like that, what were you expecting?

"Minimal techno is dull as dishwater," he mocks, unperturbed by the fact that he's just insulted thousands of ubercoolische DJs from London to Berlin.

Paul Arnold is excited at the prospect that this summer will see some of breakbeat's biggest DJs head over to Ibiza to play at one of the island's most prestigious clubs – Space, in Playa d'en Bossa.

Carl Cox has pledged his support to widen Space's musical repertoire beyond four/four house, and breakbeat jocks Evil 9, The Freestylers, and Adam Freeland will all play at Cox' weekly Tuesday club night during August.

For Paul, founder of the longest-running breakbeat night in the world (Chew The Fat!), Carl's initiative is exciting, not least because "it'll give Ibiza the chance to move away from the ketomine-minimal bullshit."

Ketomine & Minimal

"Drugs and music go hand in hand, and ketomine and minimal go hand in hand," reckons Paul.

"To anyone not taking the drug, minimal sounds bonkers."

Paul Arnold may be living up to his name as a trouble maker, but his statement is quite perceptive.

For almost 20 years Ibiza's club scene has revolved around house, techno, and trance, and although breakbeat and drum & bass club nights have been held on the island in the past, the genre has never been given centre stage at the likes of Space, Pacha, or Amnesia.

Carl Cox' musical experiment at Space could open up Ibiza's frontier to new sounds, which is good news for breakbeaters like Paul.

Back in the UK, Arnold believes that the popularity of electro, techno and house, has disaffected the breakbeat scene recently – so much so, that breakbeat DJs are now playing other genres.

"Not enough good breakbeat is being released," says Paul.

Paul Arnold Interview
Paul Arnold

Drugs and music go hand in hand, and ketomine and minimal go hand in hand

Paul Arnold Interview
Paul Arnold
Paul Arnold Interview

"All the best break's producers are also the scene's biggest DJs, so a lot of them are too busy gigging to go into the studio."

"The primary source will always be the producer, so if not many producers are making breakbeat, then DJs won't be playing breaks because they can't find enough decent records."

Leg Bone, Thigh Bone

It's an interesting 'leg bone connected to the thigh bone' concept.

Recently, breakbeat DJs have opened up their sets to house and techno, and that inclusive attitude towards other genres has meant Paul Arnold's prestigious breaks night Chew The Fat! will see its first ever house headliner at The End on Friday 9 June.

The party, which is Paul Arnold's album launch party, will see Space Ibiza resident Paul Woolford play alongside Elite Force.

"A lot of breaks DJs are playing Paul Woolford's records, so it made sense to get him to play for us.

"The breaks scene is opening up to other sounds, and it's a really exciting time."



Paul Arnold
Always willing to help: Paul Arnold holds a lift door open for a midget


Paul Arnold


Paul Arnold
The mish mash of musical genres that Paul Arnold is talking about can be heard on his latest mix compilation 'Chew The Fat! at The End presents Paul 'Trouble' Arnold'.

The mix showcases just how open breaks is at the moment, moving from soulful downtempo breaks like Merka, to the sexy electronic sounds of Soho Jo, to poppy, rock-led breaks by Milke.

Later the mix heads darker and deeper, with driving basslines from Friendly, Tayo & Acid Rockers, and B-Phreak.

If you replaced the underlying fractured kick drum of Paul Arnold's mix with a four four kick, the set would incorporate funky house, techno, acid, and electro all in 74 mins.

More amazing is the fact that every single one of these tracks is on Paul's own Fat! Records label.

"Normally if we do a label compilation it'll be unmixed because all the records sound too similar," says Paul.

"But we've released so many varied sounds recently that a decent DJ mix was actually possible this time."

New Sounds At Home

Whilst breakbeat is opening up to new sounds at home, abroad breaks is capturing the imagination of clubbers in emerging dance territories like China, parts of Eastern Europe, and the US reports Paul.

"Breakbeat is going down really well in China, where there isn't a drug culture," he says.

"For some cultural reasons the Chinese don't really take drugs, so breakbeat works for them as it's a lot more accessible than house or techno."

"It's easy to dance to, often has recognisable lyrics, and doesn't take itself too seriously.

"We've done a couple of DJ tours there already which went off, and might release a CD compilation there soon too."

Paul Arnold Interview
Paul Arnold

Breaks is easy to dance to, often has recognisable lyrics, and doesn't take itself too seriously

Paul Arnold
Paul Arnold
Paul Arnold
Many UK record labels are scrambling to take advantage of China's emerging music market, including Paul Arnold's Fat! Records.

About 75 million people in China have disposable income, which is equal to the entire population of the largest European country – an exciting prospect for any businessman, and especially for an independent record label.

Breakbeat could prove itself in the future to be the most popular dance music genre amongst Chinese youth.

Breakbeat Explosion

With Ibiza on the verge of a breakbeat explosion, and China's clubbers warming to breaks, soon Paul Arnold, Fat! Records, and the entire breaks scene could even become one of the most popular dance genres in the world.

Which isn't good news for Paul's tinnitus (a pesky, permanent ringing noise in his ears), that has recently become aggravated by his incessant gigging.

"My left ear is bit duller than my right," says Paul.

"It's not at terminal stage yet, but I play out every weekend which isn't good for my hearing."

'Chew The Fat! at The End presents Paul 'Trouble' Arnold' is out 3rd July on Fat! records.

www.thefatclub.com