Eye of the Storm
David Pollock talks to one of Glasgow’s hot house hopes as Maelstrom starts to make his mark on the international scene
‘I started DJing,’ says Paul Gordon candidly, ‘by playing some pretty dubious music. Definitely nothing I’d admit to! You know, all the usual under-18s discos when I was about 13 or 14, then I started to get a few decent gigs as I got older. I played Colours a few times and got a gig in Cape Town once – this was back in my progressive house days.’
It was also what might be thought of as phase one of Gordon’s career, because he got out of the DJing game (and his job as a record buyer for HMV) at the age of 22 to enter the less glamorous world of construction. ‘To be honest,’ he says, ‘it was purely down to money. I used to spend a hundred quid a week on vinyl just to keep up with what was happening, and when I moved out of my parents’ house in Glasgow I couldn’t keep that up any more.’
Phase two – the chapter where the 29-year-old became Maelstrom, received praise from people like Prins Thomas and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, and now DJs and plays his own tracks around the world – began two years ago. ‘I became interested in home production,’ he recalls. ‘Just about the first thing I did was a pretty illicit edit of Metro Area’s ‘Miura’, which took me an afternoon but got played by James Murphy and Prins Thomas once it was out there. After that I made a few edits of old psych rock tracks for Mindless Boogie and then entered a singles deal with their parent company Eskimo Recordings [The Glimmers’ Belgian-based label, which has also housed Thomas, fellow Norwegian disco-house producer Lindstrom and Glasgow’s Optimo]. So yeah, it all built momentum pretty quickly.’
Gordon has bittersweet feelings about the Metro Area edit which broke him, entirely because the track’s originators didn’t like the fact it was out there. ‘It did take the shine off it,’ he admits. Concentrating almost entirely on his own productions since then, however, it’s still obvious that Gordon gets a buzz from the fact that Prins Thomas selected the track he sent from the mountain of MySpace MP3s he receives every day.
Since releasing his own double A-side single ‘Assynt/Valdresfjellet’ on Eskimo, Gordon has earned comparisons with the upbeat, ultramodern disco-house sound of artists like Thomas and Lindstrom for his own work. ‘Although obviously I’m not at anything like the kind of level they are,’ he says, ‘but if I could have one iota of what they’ve achieved, I’d be happy with that.’ So far, so good; Gordon is booked around Europe on the back of his releases these days, and through his own label Solardisco he releases records by artists like Ilija Rudman, Sankt Goran and Blackbelt Andersen, as well as promoting his own monthly Glasgow night.
Possibly most exciting of all, Gordon is shortly to begin another project for Prins Thomas’ own label later in the year. ‘It’s under an assumed name, though,’ he says, ‘and I’m not allowed to tell you about it yet. But I set up a MySpace account under this name and sent Prins Thomas an anonymous link, and out of the blue he replied.’ That’s a one hundred per cent hit rate, which suggests the two producers share a kindred spirit.
Maelstrom plays Men & Machines at Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 22 Aug; Solardisco at Basura Blanca at the Brunswick Hotel, Glasgow, Sat 12 Sep.