Paul Gardner aka Soul Avengerz has been delivering peak time dance floor number of decades. He has worked with and remixed with an impressive array of talent including Marshall Jefferson, Axwell, Inaya Day, Nightcrawlers, George Benson, Beyonce, Blondie, Alison Limerick, Shapeshifters, Joey Negro, and Roland Clark, among many more. Soul Avengerz music can be found on some house music’s top labels including, CR2, Positiva, Ministry of Sound, Big Love, Black Riot, Manifesto, Sony BMG, Hed Kandi, and Strictly Rhythm, and the beat goes on as his new collab with Adeva, ‘Musical Freedom’ drops on Mark Knight’s newly launched Fool’s Paradise label.
WWD: Hi Paul, How are you? How has your 2023 been so far? What have been the highlights?
It feels like it’s only just started and we are in October already. On a musical level, getting to release tracks with Ten City and Adeva this year, have been a highlight of my career, never mind this year! Absolutely mind blowing.
WWD: What are the essential credentials of a Soul Avengerz release?
Rule one: Every release will have a funky ass bassline.
Rule two: The aim is to move and groove the dance floor.
WWD: Tell us a bit about the early days of Soul Avengerz and where you’re at now.
Separately Wayne and I were both part of the early house scene in the UK, and started playing around London in 89 at the iconic venues such as Gardening Club, Limelights, Velvet Underground, Raw and Pushca. Then Ministry of Sound, Leisure Lounge and Club UK, when they opened mid 90’s. By ‘98 we had DJ’d together a couple of times and got on well, Wayne was running a cool house night called Dirty and invited me to play – so we decided to book a studio session with James Reynolds to work on a disco house idea. I guess that was when the Soul Avengerz started, we had our first release in 1999 which was played on BBCR1 by Danny Rampling and that was it, we were hooked.
WWD: You have released a lot of music over the years. What do you think has been your most important release so far and why?
That’s a hard one to quantify, but key ones were ‘Love You Feel’ and probably our track with Javine, ‘Don’t Let The Morning Come’- this was important as it charted in the UK charts at No.44 missing out on the last ever ‘Top Of The Pops’ TV show by a few places, but also a huge disaster behind the scenes!
WWD: So you’ve just collaborated with vocal legend Adeva, on an excellent remake of her 80’s classic hit, ‘Musical Freedom’, on Fool’s Paradise. What was your motivation to re-shape the song and are you pleased with how it came out?
I am really pleased with the way it turned out, this record is a big, big part of my youth, I was 18 when the original came out and this was a game changer for me, it was a huge honour to work with the queen of house Adeva on this one.
WWD: What other releases of yours should we be on the look out for?
I would say the Ten City remix I did of ‘That’s The Way Love Is’ early this year. Seemed to go under the radar with regards to chart positions etc, but I’m super proud of it and the reaction from my peers was amazing, shout to Marshall Jefferson for the kind words too.
WWD: Have you any other new releases, remixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
Similar to the above, through lockdown I had a moment of reflection and really enjoyed getting creative again, firing up the studio and revisiting records that really meant something to me from when I started. So, I did an update of Turntable Orchestra’s ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ and gave it out to a few close friends / DJs. Simon Shapeshifters loved it and played it at Glitterbox, which lead to Seamus Haji reaching out asking if I would like it to be an official remix for one of the Defected sister labels, so that is dropping end of November.
WWD: As a producer, what’s your favourite piece of studio gear?
Has to be my studio headphones, I have a full time job now as an artist manager, so my only time to work on music for myself is late at night, when the family are asleep, so a good pair of headphones is my essential piece of equipment.
WWD: You also run an artist management company, who do you look after and how’s it all going?
It’s fantastic, I really love it, I have a super talented roster who are all slightly different in their sound, work flow and their personalities. I love the way I can help them achieve their targets and goals I get a real kick out of it, and the bonus is, I get to have my weekends with the family back – something I missed out on touring for 20 years as Soul Avengerz.
WWD: What makes a good artist manager in your opinion?
Understanding your artist’s personality, their targets and goals and also being a good diplomat, I have the ethos, let’s make it work for all sides. Then the project flourishes.
WWD: What do you like to do to relax when you’re not in the studio or Djing?
Watching my youngest son play football, or take my oldest son away on trips with me.
WWD: ADE is here, what do you most look forward to?
I love Amsterdam as a city, I use ADE to meet up face to face with all the US agents and labels I work with on a daily basis
WWD: What has the rest of the year got in store for you?
More of the same, it feels like it’s going 100mph, so hoping it slows down a bit.
Soul Avengerz, Adeva ‘Musical Freedom’ is out now on Fool’s Paradise. Listen Here