Paul Hardcastle originally rose to the top of the charts with his global hit '19' in the early 80's. A ground breaking record at the time, Paul's in studio experimenting, gave him a place in history as a pioneer of electronic music production. His classic record '19' was number one in 13 countries and led to the formation of Simon Fuller’s empire, '19 Management'. Paul has received a host of international awards for his work, including an Ivor Novello and a Grammy nomination, and regularly tops the Billboard US charts.
In 1984, the UK club scene was focused on the Soul Funk sound and it's from this genre that Paul hails. However sensing change in the air and with a wizard like flair for producing something new, Paul started tinkering with the soul/ jazz sound and infusing some heavy electronic synth production. His early material courted the charts and whilst he had several underground club hits, his first big break came with ‘Rainforest’, which was number 1 on Billboard’s R&B charts, knocking Madonna off the top spot and a number 1 club chart record in the UK. With the production of '19', originally written as a political shock statement about the average age of soldiers in the Vietnam war, his dramatic and groundbreaking production skills really came to light. In 1995 the track stormed into the UK top 40 for 16 weeks, remaining at number 1 for 5 of those and becoming a global phenomena. The record changed the face of British dance music, selling 8 million copies worldwide and becoming one of the fastest selling records of all time. This new sound became one of the integral paths that paved the way for the early 90's Acid House explosion that followed 4 years later.
Whilst it is his best known accolade, '19' is not the only credit to Paul's name. A year later Paul created a track called "The Wizard' which became immortalized as the theme tune for Top Of The Pops for the next 9 years. It was not long after, that Paul returned to his musical roots, focusing on the US market and creating the Jazzmasters series, where he has had continued success topping the smooth jazz charts in America for almost 2 decades. In 2010 Paul won the Billboard award for Best International Musician. Paul has remixed for artists as diverse as Ian Drury to Luther Vandross and Thin Lizzy to Barry White. Earlier this year Paul recorded ‘Perceptions of Pacha’ an album for the famous Ibiza club.
'19 Below Zero' is a kaleidoscopic double album of ethereal beats, hypnotic rhythms and sensuous soundscapes of warm electronic artistry. It features 9 brand new tracks and a collection of material previously unreleased in the UK. Paul is proud to present an album that he considers contains some of his very best work including; his 2011 remix of 'Rainforest' v's Marvin Gaye's, 'What’s Going On” (which became a US top 5 hit last year) and an as yet unreleased original version of '19', found by Paul on a lost tape when he was compiling the album’s track listing. This long forgotten version of '19', was made 25 years ago and has, as yet, never been heard by anyone outside the studio. The album is primarily an ambient affair, split across two CD's. CD1 has been born to accompany sunrises and sunsets and contains a morning mix of the legendary '19' track by Rob Da Bank (Radio 1/ Bestival). CD 2 takes the tempo up with some smooth tunes, perfect for driving on a sunny day or mooching around on a friendly dance floor and features the lush anthem 'Summer Love' with vocals by Paul's daughter Maxine Hardcastle.
Maxine is already making a name for herself as an Urban/ House DJ on the European club circuit. A DJ at Pacha and for Ministry Of Sound, she also co-produces and sings on club collaborations with Wes Clarke, which can be heard on several Hed Kandi compilations including; 'Beach House', 'A Taste of Kandi' and 'A Taste of Winter'.
MUsic-News.com caught up with Paul to find out more, check out the full uncut interview below. 19 Below Zero is available here.