'People are getting used to actual music again'

Moving forward

Disco enthusiast Paul T Stewart, one of the leading DJs of UK collective ‘The DJ Dispensary’, appears to be a shy sort at first glance. But catch him behind the console and the joy of music is quite apparent on his face. He speaks to Metrolife during his recent visit to the City for Sound Lab 2014 with DJ Matty Wainwright.

The two DJs often share the same stage, making them one of Bali’s most sought-after duos. Speaking about the chemistry they share, Paul says, “Every now and then, one of us secretly gets a jam from somewhere that we haven’t told each other about.

 But that’s what keeps it fresh. We’re constantly recommending new tracks to each other and we have labels that we both like. So musically, it’s a good combination. But we’re not always DJing together. We often play the same club but different rooms.

When we play together, it’s nice because we’re constantly pushing each other and seeing how it works.”

He shares that after shifting to Bali from UK, their attempts at reshaping the music scene there have progressed surprisingly well.

“The events that we do we collaborate with DJs coming through Asia. We’re trying to see who we can bring down to Bali because for a few years now, the scene’s been tipping away from the EDM culture and people are more open-minded to new music,” notes Paul.

A fan of house music, he enjoys that the genre is “super versatile and limitless”. On the worldwide trends in music, he shares that there’s been a swing back to good quality house music. “People are getting used to actual music again, not just hammered noise. It’s all about bringing back the melody,” he says.
 Asked how he comes up with a setlist, Paul answers that it’s all about ‘getting the vibe of a venue. “You just have to look at the crowd and see what they’ll enjoy. That’s the way I move forward. There are some tracks I enjoy for say, a sunset set, and some crowd favourites that I know work well. But I connect the dots for the rest.”

Having played gigs for over a decade now, is there one that stands out in his memory? “Not because it was a jam packed club or the best club in the world or had super famous DJs but years ago, there was a gig in my hometown of Newcastle (England).

Todd Terje, a Norwegian producer and a disco DJ from New York called Eric Duncan of ‘Rub-n-Tug’ were playing and I was just the supporting act. The place was full of musicheads who were strictly there for the music. For me, that’s been the best gig yet,” he recalls. 

With every second person having a bedroom project and calling themselves a DJ these days, what’s his advice to the new breed of DJs? “Don’t just stick to some software but learn the skill and knowledge behind using the equipment.

And though they aren’t readily accessible, try and work with some vinyl records and play some decks every once in a while. Your skill set will improve tenfold. Don’t follow the crowd and copy what other guys are doing because they’re popular and doing well. If you have a sound you like, stick to it. It’ll pay off soon enough,” concludes Paul. 

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