As soon as Cakeboy, aka Paul Croler, went to a rave in the mid-‘90s, he left his heavy metal band behind — and drum-kit — in Derbyshire and moved to Brighton.
“I had already been playing around with hardware samplers and synths for some time, and tried to incorporate them into the band,” Cakeboy tells DJ Mag. “It wasn't really working. Bands like Senser had already nailed it. Time to move on.”
His move to the south coast city coincided with the big beat explosion that was being spearheaded by Skint Records and a DJ called Fatboy Slim. “This was exactly what my ears had been waiting for — heavy, fun music that wasn't just about bleepy sounds,” he says. “Rockin' tunes made with sampled real instruments along with plenty of squelch.”
He reminisces about Big Beat Boutique nights at the old Concorde club in Brighton, and how they sometimes wouldn’t get in cos the queue was so long, “but there were no locks on the windows so we usually did”.
Instead of becoming a DJ himself, he started playing his tracks out live and making a name for himself on the beats & breaks scene. “Of course, humping all the gear around could be a hindrance, especially when I started getting invites to festivals or boarding aeroplanes,” he says, “but I was very proud to be playing my own stuff, and being free of headphones meant I could act like a nutter.”
As he got bigger and better gigs in the noughties, he started launching cakes into the crowd at his shows — sound familiar? “I was havin' a laugh and it was generally well-received,” he says. “I'd rather be known for my music, though.” He professes not to know much about US cake-thrower Steve Aoki — “Does he make music? Apparently he's one of those 'Press Play' people, I really don't care” — but says that he himself gave up the cake-lobbing long ago.
Paul finally got around to releasing an album on Mutate a few years ago, and now his second album on Rocstar — a veritable beezer breakbeat bonanza — is about to drop. With funkin’ tunes like zippy electroid missive ‘Throbbed Out’, clanging old skool centerpiece ‘This Is Cake’ and a wonky ‘Glam Sandwich’ featuring MC Manic, not to mention a kamikaze ‘Skyride’ and MC Fusion from Credit To the Nation guesting on the boombastic ‘Funkin’ Ridiculous’ — “he was my kind of rapper. Lyrically relevant, positive, non-aggressive” — this is a body of work full of invention and joie de vivre. All killer, no filler.
With the dance music oeuvre having shifted back towards breakbeat music, ‘Gateau Blaster’ is already being spoken about as one of the party albums of the autumn. “There's more mashing up of genres going on than ever before,” says Cakeboy. “I just lock myself away and make music that is fun to make, has groove and that I'd want to jump around to.”