Papaoul // Guest Mix 010

21st September 2021

He’s a DJ, radio host and presenter based in London. Papaoul has a weekly Sunday morning show on Worldwide FM playing an eclectic range of music, with a monthly focus on new alternative sounds from Latin America for a radio and events platform he runs, “The Fifth Sun”

Your time as a DJ is quite closely tied to Worldwide FM, how did you start out with them and how has the station shaped you?

I started at the station as an intern helping out in the studio. I think I applied 4 or 5 times for that internship before I got it! At the time I was working for Movimientos, a Latin music promoter in London, and Gilles Peterson came to one of our club nights at Total Refreshment Centre, DJ Tahira was playing. He recognised me as one of the interns and we got chatting. He said he was looking for more Latin music on the station and asked if I DJed. At the time I had done some student radio but never touched a CDJ in my life, but I said yes anyway – how hard could it be right? So I started doing a bi-monthly Latin show, before being entrusted with the flagship WW Daily show and now Sunday mornings. Growing alongside the station has shaped me massively. I was playing on there before ever playing a show in real life and even before then, working in the studio with incredible broadcasters and DJs like Tina Edwards, Tash LC and Channel One taught me so much about music and radio.

When did you start discovering music for yourself? Who/What was the first act that you felt you had your own relationship with?

I’d say I was a late bloomer in that regard! One of the best things about music is sharing it and having someone share it with you. I’ve always loved music but I think for many years my taste was shaped by other people sharing theirs. I loved Bon Jovi growing up as my dad was really into it. My mate put me onto Sex Pistols and we used to cover their tracks in our band when we were 11. Then as a teenager I was really into Bombay Bicycle Club. They were probably the first band that I developed a long-lasting relationship of my own with. But I wouldn’t say I was going out and truly discovering music for myself until much later. I do remember the first CD I bought with my own money though… Black Eyed Peas – Elephunk. Top tier album!

Did you have a moment or discovery that opened you up to different musical cultures or have you always been looking around the world for new music?

I grew up around family speaking lots of different languages, so I always had one eye outside of the UK and outside of the English-speaking world for music. But I would say that the biggest eye-opening experience came while I was living in Argentina. Before moving I thought I had a job lined up working with Universal music which fell through a few days before heading out there, and so I ended up interning with independent record label ZZK Records through which I was exposed to a whole new world of forward-thinking, progressive, electronic music from Latin America. Wanting to share these sounds with people back home was the gateway into DJing and radio for me, and for sure my musical outlook wouldn’t be what it is now without that very fortunate change of plans!

I think the best word to describe you as a DJ is eclectic. Your selections come from all over the world and from the undiscovered to mainstream pop stars. What criteria do you use when choosing what music to share on your shows and in your live sets?

It’s really hard to put a finger on what it is that I look for. There’s no singular sound that I look for, and my sets can vary pretty wildly so it really depends on the occasion. If I had to pick out the thread that ties it all together, it’s the question “Does this excite me?”. If I don’t get excited by it, I can’t really expect anyone else to either.

For some people jazz has quite a narrow definition but for others it’s more of a broad church encompassing everything from Lauryn Hill to old school bebop, what comes to mind for you when you think of the genre?

I definitely fall more on the broad church side of things! I was introduced to jazz through hip hop, and more generally its influence on other genres, so for me jazz is everywhere. I’m just as likely to think of Kendrick Lamar or Hiatus Kaiyote as I am Elis Regina or John Coltrane.

What, for you, is the place of Jazz in contemporary British culture?

Well jazz has clearly had a recent resurgence amongst young people in Britain, and in a way that reflects the broad church outlook that we were talking about before. Many of the most exciting new artists in Britain today have their roots in jazz, but jazz in Britain isn’t just one thing; it’s an amalgamation of all these different sounds that fuse into one, rooted in tradition but not just jazz tradition – afrobeat, grime, dub – it’s all there. It’s one of the best things about Britain, this meeting of different cultures, and jazz sits within that, always with the freedom to be remade in one’s image.

What are the artists/producers you find it hard to get through a set without playing? (For me it’s Andrew Weatherall, Erol Alkan and Dan Carey)

This really depends on the context! All for different settings, but I’d say Gilberto Gil, Allysha Joy, Lay-Far and Swordman Kitala are staples at the moment.

Can you talk us through what you’re playing in this mix?

This is definitely a mix of tracks I love to play out on dancefloors, some of it tried and tested and others brand new like the Mark de Clive-Lowe track. The opening track from Baby Rollén & Gallegos came out a year ago but has been my go to opener this summer. I’ve put some other recent favourites in there from Poison Zcora, Park Hye Jin and Village Cuts remixing Scrimshire and Penya. Talking about the broad church, there’s some really bass-heavy club tracks in here, but everything for me has a touch of jazz to it.

Finally, we have a feature called “Supremes.” This us a regular feature we’re asking all the DJs who get involved in the guest mix series and can be any three musicians youtt would like to see work together. Producers, vocalists and instrumentalists who you think would make for a dream collaboration.

Little Simz: she’s my favourite MC at the moment and her new album is incredible.

Shabaka Hutchings: his energy is just unrelenting, Sons of Kemet were definitely a We Out Here highlight for me this year.

Joaquin Cornejo: one of my favourite producers right now, from Ecuador but spent plenty of time in the UK and you can hear that mix in his productions, I just love everything he makes.

Together I think they’d make something really sonically interesting and powerful – definitely something I’d get excited about!

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