DJ/remixer extraordinaire Paul Epworth talks about giving up his hugely successful Phones remix moniker to go anonymous.
London-based producer/remixer/DJ Paul Epworth made a name for himself producing indie rock bands such as Bloc Party and Maximo Park, but he’s much better known in clubland for his remix work done under his stage name, Phones. Consistently a party waiting to happen, his neon mixes revitalized U2, Goldfrapp, Simian Mobile Disco, and New Order with an electro-techno flair. So it was quite sad last December when he posted a brief obit on his MySpace page announcing that he was killing the moniker so he could “start fresh under a new name—anonymously.”
We tracked Epworth down in L.A. to discuss the death of Phones. “I guess I felt like Phones’ records were very of a time and [I] didn’t feel connected to it any more,” he says. “I first worked as Phones over five years ago and it seemed to have little to do with where I was going as a producer now.”
Part of the problem was that he felt listeners had a preconceived idea of where a Phones remix would take them. Epworth curiously questions the relevance of the Phones sound, stating his final remix, for Santigold’s “Say Aha,” is an indication of his new direction. (It sounds nothing like Phones, we can confirm.) With all the nails securely in the coffin, Epworth has no plans to put out a collection of his remix work, which, relevant or not in his mind, would obviously be excellent. He says he would rather focus on his works-in-progress, and it appears that he has many.
“I’ve been doing some slower Italo stuff and a remix or two. I’ve been writing and recording albums with Jack Peñate and Florence & the Machine, [and working on] more tracks with Friendly Fires and the Big Pink…I’ve always been keen to go forward creatively and not look back.”
All the production work has limited his DJ gigs, which he now performs under his own name. Not to imply that cash money is why he does this, but doesn’t that mean a pay cut? “Yes, of course,” he says. “But I’ve been too busy with everything else, and DJing doesn’t pay anywhere near as well for me as my work as a producer and writer. Plus I’m an infinitely better producer than DJ.”
Words: Christian W. Smith
as featured in Issue 27