Paulina Taylor: The Queen of Cheese
Continuing our two-part interview with California’s most influential Happy Hardcore scenesters, we bring you an interview with Paulina Taylor, the self-titled “Queen of Cheese.” Although it may be a heartbreak for many young happycore males, Paulina Taylor is none other than Darryn Taylor, or for you trance fans, Kage. Darryn is the resident DJ for H3 [Ed: see Massive 19 for an interview with H3], the Happy Hardcore Hit-squad, and all around talented fellow. He has been on the forefront of the massively happy 4-beat sounds of the UK and Germany, with tape releases such as ‘Smile,’ ‘Smiling,’ ‘Bounce,’ ‘Slam Evil,’ as well as many gigs out in the West Coast. Definitely the most popular and well liked happy hardcore DJ on the Left Coast, we caught up with Darryn to get the inside track on the rise of happy hardcore in the States, and where he thinks it will be going.
When did you get started spinning and what eventually lead you to start dropping happy hardcore into your sets?
I began spinning around 1992. In terms of happy hardcore though, my first exposure to it was from record compilations. Around 95, I was playing trance and jungle (which I still do) under the name KAGE. When I was buying jungle, I ran into some happy hardcore compilations, which I thought was pretty cool because it utilized some old jungle breaks with a 4-beat on top of it. I later learned that happy hardcore was actually more popular in the UK than jungle was and found that pretty surprising since nobody out here has heard of happy hardcore. I still remember telling Thee-O, “I bet if someone released a happy hardcore tape and gave it some exposure, this music might become big.” After all, it was bigger than jungle in the UK. So I decided to make a tape but wasn’t sure about how it would go, so I released the tape under a different name. I decided to use a female name as a marketing tool. I thought people would buy the tape if they saw a female DJ mixing hardcore techno. Also, Speedfreak was one of my favorite artists and someone told me that Wendy Milan was actually him. I thought that was pretty cool, so that was another reason why I used a female name. The tape was all for fun and I didn’t think people would take the music seriously, that’s why I never even placed booking numbers on the first 2 tapes. But I was wrong.
Your sets are fast and furious, pitched up to speedy levels and the mixing is quite quick. Do kids respond better, do you think, to faster happy hardcore, in general, or is this some sort of backlash to the gabber craze that California has?
Well actually, I began to like HH a lot more after listening to a tape of Jimmy J playing a pirate radio set. His set was fast! I played some of the same records on my 1200 but couldn’t get them to play as fast as Jimmy J did. That was when I began to pitch up my turntables. I had always liked fast hardcore techno and gabber, so it was only natural for me to play my HH fast. Ravers here are use to hardcore and gabber since it’s big in LA. I want to be able to show that hardcore can be hard and fast, and yet not be evil but uplifting and positive. Anabolic Frolic used to make a big deal about me playing fast and thought that I did HH some injustice.
How have kids been reacting to your sets? Do you generally get a lot of positive feedback or are people really turned off by happy hardcore?
So far it’s been all good thank GOD. Everyone seems to be enjoying it. One thing you’ll get from HH that you wont from other types of techno is that people sing along to the music. Whistles, shouting, hand raising, singing, and going crazy makes the whole thing interactive. There is definitely a lot of positive feedback. Sometimes people will call the voicemail and request certain songs they want me to play for my upcoming gig.
I’ve heard you drop some pretty silly stuff into your sets, like Rednexx at 45, and the like. How do you come across these tracks and do people get the joke?
I do it all for fun. I sometimes do things out of the blue just for the heck of it.
You’ve played alongside DNA and Stompy, as well as Force and Styles. Are there any DJs you’d like to hear come stateside and rock the decks?
Sy for his scratching skills, Jimmy J since he’s inspired me, Charley Lownoise/Mental Theo – surprised nobody’s brought them out since their material is very popular here, Brisk & Supreme cause they play hard, Hixxy the man, DJ Hype & Mickey Finn… the best!
Tell me a little about Hypersound. What plans do you have for Hypersound?
Hypersound is the label I release my mixtapes through. It pretty much specializes in all kinds of techno, more specifically stuff 140 bpm and above hardcore, hard trance, gabber, jungle, cybertrance, happy hardcore, goa/psychedelic, hard acid, etc. Also to expose other great styles that are popular in other countries but not stateside, stuff like trancecore, nu-nrg, and breakcore. There is a lot of good stuff out there that people don’t even know about. It always makes me feel good to hear from people from other parts of the US happy to hear the music on the tapes because either their scene doesn’t play it or they don’t have access to it.
Where do you see happy hardcore’s future here in the US?
There is definitely potential for it to grow more through out the US. I’m not good at predicting things, I’m just enjoying it as it is and hope that HH can continue to bring more positive attitude and feedback to the scene. Hopefully it continues to innovate. It really is a unique style of music that spreads a unique vibe among the crowd. It’s definitely something good and healthy for the scene. I love gabber and terrorcore stuff, but it doesn’t unite the crowd and instead instills an aggressive attitude. But it’s all-good as long as it doesn’t ruin the scene.
What’s your connection with the Happy Hardcore Hit-Squad?
I’m their resident DJ. H3 aims to push happy hardcore and jungle further into the US scene.
Many up and coming DJs always ask me where I find my vinyl, since you cannot just walk into any old record shop and pick up the latest Essential Platinum or Slammin Vinyl track. Where have you been getting your tracks?
I’ve been fortunate with some friends in the UK helping me out with records. Alphamagic/Majestic have also been a big help. They’re the biggest distributors of HH music and are responsible for the inflow of HH records to the States. If anyone is having a hard time finding HH records, I would suggest calling Majestic at 213.651.0275 and asking them where you can get the records from.
Any favorite labels or tracks that have caught your attention lately?
Stuff on Next Generation, Quosh, Fused Up, Maverick, Raving Mad, Blatant Beats, Slammin Vinyl, Go Mental, UK Dance, Bonkers, Master Maximum, Bunker Beats. Favorite tracks right now are Insomniak (Rapido), Shooting Star (Bang), Love Is (Voodoo Possee), Eye Opener (Brisk & Trixxy), Outta My Face Brisk Rmx (Blitz, Blaze, & Revolution), I Believe Rmx (Stompy), Slammin Vinyl 16, Power of Love (Q-Tex), Back in Your Arms (Huxley), Jump Around (Slippery Project), Magic Touch (Demo/Eternity/Kingsize).
What’s your favorite cheese?
Cheddarella – the all-purpose cheese, the best of both worlds. Provolone and Haverti are excellent for sandwiches. Laughing Cow is pretty good too.
Any additional comments or questions or shout outs?
Bugs Bunny was once cornered in an alley by a group of dogs. He held up a book entitled “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” and they all ran away and left him alone.
Well said! If anyone of you would like to reach Darryn please feel free to contact him through email at: email@example.com or at 818.682.5410.
Now, for all you happy hardcore nutters out there, we have a contest to give away some fine tapes from Miss Paulina Taylor herself. (or is it himself?) Either way, we’re giving away free tapes!! That’s right, FREE. How do you get them? You just have to send us the answer to one question and the first 10 people will receive a selection of Paulina Taylor and Kage tapes.
“What is my favorite cheese and why?”
Send all answers to me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t have email? Send it to me at: DJ Noahphex, 4105 Victory Drive, D101, Austin, TX, 78704. Be sure to send the address where we can send the tapes, in case you’re one of the winners. Otherwise we’ll give the prize to someone else!