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Paul Mac: Sleepless Beats

A name synonymous with UK techno.

He has in excess of 200 releases to his name, dropping on some 50 plus labels, with over 17 years in the game. No matter how high your expectations are, that's pretty good for a guy who confesses to ‘just making beats'.

It's unsurprising then that the name Paul Mac is synonymous with a UK techno sound that's as timeless as it is timely. Spanning decades in the studio, his oeuvre never follows trends, but relentless international bookings prove he's perpetually viewed as having a finger on the pulse.

Collaborative work alongside the likes of Ben Sims, Tony Anderson and Mark Broom further evidences this point, as does his forthcoming fifth LP, Hotel Insomnia. A truly coherent offering of devastating late night four fours, ahead of it's arrival this month we called him up to talk making tunes on the road, and why we may be about to enter a new golden age in the record release schedule. Eyes to the front please.

So, how long has the new collection of tracks taken to put together?

"Probably the best part of a year, that was when it really began. Some of it was a little longer but that's when I started to get it together properly."

Was your intention to make a full album?

"I was speaking to Olly at EPM about doing an EP. Then realised I actually had more tracks than were needed, and enough sounded good, so the album was suggested and here we are."

It's called Hotel Insomnia, something of an ode to life as a DJ. The tracks themselves are solid dancefloor stuff, was the sleeplessness a concept behind the sound too?

"No, there are a couple of tunes on there I made when I couldn't get to sleep and stuff, but there's no real concept to any of it."

Do you find it difficult to produce whilst you're on manoeuvres?

"It's not too difficult. Obviously, the tools we have today are amazing, if you know what you're doing. Really it's possible to make a track just using a laptop and Ableton."

"I don't finish them when I'm out though. It's just about getting ideas together. Occasionally I'll try and play something later in a club I made like that, but generally it's not a very good idea…"

After almost two decades, has the restless lifestyle ever got the better of you?

"I don't mind it still. A few years back, when I was doing a lot more in South America, it was getting a bit much. You'd do 14 flights in 10 days or whatever. But if it's mainly Europe really it's just like a long commute."

People often talk about a cycle of popularity- you'll play a lot in one part of the world, then things quieten off there. Do you ever feel the need for exposure in places you haven't visited in a while?

"I just try and do what I do to be honest. I don't target certain areas or anything like that. There are always places you'll go back to a few times and some you won't. When the whole South America thing was really happening there was a lot of people going down there too. It is cyclical, and right now it seems techno is coming back into the light."

How so?

"It just generally feels to me like we're on the cusp of another golden age. Some of the music out there is just so interesting. Particularly what's happening with people that kind of came through dubstep."

"It has been a long time since you went record shopping and found five or six tunes you thought were amazing. Probably the last time was in the late 80s, early 90s, which is reassuring because that's the period most people consider to be the best."

How much of that sound is going into your sets then?

"I've just had a 12” out with Kryptic Minds, who are definitely down that route. We have been friends for about 12 years since they used my studio to make a drum n bass track, which was a very weird day."

"Anyway, that's the first fruits of it studio wise, but I've been playing that kind of thing for a while DJ-wise. I never set out to do anything though, just see what's good and how it goes."

Finally, then, you have several other collaborative projects- what's going on there?

"Well, me and Ben Sims are doing some more work together. Under Killa Productions we've done stuff for a few years now, and it was originally a place for things to be re-edited and re-imagined or whatever."

"But now we're doing this other thing, Focus Group. The first time we're doing it will be a PCM party that's coming up, and we're keeping it under wraps really, but it should definitely be different to normal- that's for sure. In terms of collaborations it's really just what I like to do to keep things fresh. Without it you can get stuck in a rut, which isn't healthy at all. It's good to keep creating new sounds."

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