Many DJs have been associated with Cream throughout its colourful history, but few more so than Paul Bleasdale.
Resident at the club from 1992 to 2002 and revered by DJs and punters alike, Paul was tempted out of retirement in May 2012 for the Cream Reunion, where he played his first set in over a decade.
Now the local legend returns to the club for the Cream 20th anniversary on October 13th, which promises to be another special homecoming for the much loved DJ.
Firstly, what an honour it is to get you back behind the turntables you know so well having spent 10 years of your life as resident. Why do you think you were and still are by a lot of people, rated as one of the best resident DJs ever?
Not sure about that, there was some great resident DJs in my time. Maybe the fact that I was there for so long and played a good variety of music.
What made you decide to hang up your headphones and sell your record collection?
After Cream finished weekly I lost interest and needed to get away from the whole scene. I eventually ended up in college and started developing my interest in photography and videography.
You returned to DJing earlier this year, with an appearance at the Cream Reunion 5. After all the years away from DJing, what made you want to return and play at Cream Reunion 5?
Money! No, it had always been at the back of my mind but it was just about the opportunity I suppose. I'd heard great things about the Reunion nights and I couldn't wait to play again.
You were a part of Cream from day one. What made it a huge success do you think?
Smart people, guts, ambition, and a drive to compete with other major clubbing cities.
Who was your favourite DJ to warm up for at Cream and why?
Oakey is the obvious one. That was a great period and the crowd was always intense. That said, it was difficult sometimes as most were just waiting for Oakey to come on. I enjoyed playing before anyone who was interesting and a bit different, who made me work a bit harder.
And the least favourite?
There was a few prima donnas who didn't even acknowledge your presence, but you just laugh it off.
How do you think DJing has changed since you were last on the decks in a club, and do you think it's changed for the better or worse?
I haven't taken a great interest since I've been away, but from what I've seen recently I don't think it's changed that much apart from the advances in technology. It's definitely a lot easier now but that's probably a good thing. Whatever you use it's still about creating an atmosphere. I certainly don't miss the days of lugging record boxes around.
What do you think of the current big boys of the commercial dance scene e.g. Guetta, Swedish House Mafia vs the big boys of yesteryear?
I've not heard a lot of them to be honest. They seem to be big artists and brands now as opposed to the names I grew up with. I think there'll always be room for both.
A great memory of mine was circa 95 when Doc Martin moved to main room after Jeremy Healey didn't show and you played the Annexe for 4 hours. Can you remember it or were there too many good nights to recall?
I remember it well. One of my favourites too. That was the great thing about being a resident in the Annexe; on occasions you'd get to play really long sets and experiment.
What was your favourite Cream night ever and why?
It's a tough one that, too many to remember. But the Birthdays and Boxing nights were always a bit special. Any time Andy Weatherall played too.
Top 5 Cream classics?
In no particular order:
Slam, 'Positive Education'
Mindtrap, 'Much Betta Man'
Mory Kante, 'Yeke Yeke' (Hardfloor mix)
Energy 52, 'Cafe Del Mar'
Chemical Brothers, 'Chemical Beats'
Paul Bleasdale makes his return to Cream on October 13th for Cream's 20th anniversary Part 2 with Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, John Digweed, Paul Oakenfold and more. Tickets are available through Skiddle priced at £30.
This interview was originally published ahead of the Cream Reunion in May 2012, at which Paul Bleasdale DJed for the first time in 10 years.
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Originally published: 25th Apr 2012