Paul Woolford
Paul Woolford

Paul Woolford

About Paul Woolford

The essence of rave comes alive in Paul Woolford’s music. No matter what style the UK DJ/producer tackles—thundering breakbeats, ecstatic piano house, spring-loaded techno—each of his songs feels like a tunnel back to the muddy fields of the early ’90s. Born in Leeds in 1976, Woolford was a preteen when the UK’s renegade party scene kicked off in the late ’80s; soaking up dance music through pirate radio, he began DJing and eventually landed a residency at his hometown’s celebrated Back to Basics club night. He began producing around the turn of the millennium, developing a nervy, peak-time style and landed his first classic with 2006’s “Erotic Discourse”, a taut techno-thriller released under his Bobby Peru alias. Then, in 2012, anticipating club culture’s retro turn, Woolford launched a new pseudonym: Special Request, a love letter to the rugged sound of classic hardcore and jungle. Looking back proved fruitful: Between 2013 and 2019, he put out six albums under that name, all of them rooted in the sounds and thrills of his formative years. (One of them, Bedroom Tapes, even gathers vintage electronic he recorded as a teenager.) At the same time, Woolford simultaneously kept up a prolific stream of ebullient, floor-filling house anthems under his own name, racking up collabs with Diplo and remixes for Lana Del Rey. He’s the rare DJ whose underground cred and mainstream acclaim seem naturally in sync; whether he’s crafting a throwback club cut or a radio-friendly hook, his productions stay true to electronic music’s grassroots spirit.

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