Having launched last week in time for Bear Pride, XXL’s first ever album has finally arrived. Here XXL resident Paul Morrell explains more about his mix, plus he and XXL owner Mark Ames give their top 5 tracks from the album.
Hi Paul, the first track in your set is your version of the 90s classic Tall & Handsome – did you choose to cover it because you are in fact tall and handsome yourself?
[Laughs] No, because that would make me a knob! It’s a club classic I always absolutely loved, and one that I later found out was produced by XXL regular Bobby Blanco. I actually produced it originally as an up-to-date bootleg, featuring the original vocal. I then played it to the label who absolutely loved it. Unfortunately I was unable to clear the vocal sample, and was told that if I had the vocal re-sung, they would sign it. Amazingly Boy George agreed to perform the vocal, and an exclusive version of the track (which will not be released as part of the single) opens my mix. The track is released next month under the pseudonym ‘Tension’ also on Newstate music.
What other productions are you working on?
I have some amazing tracks and remixes already signed this year, due for release in the summer. I have just completed a new track, Keep On Lovin’ Me, featuring the vocals of Freemasons diva Katherine Ellis, which I am extremely excited about. It has been signed to somn’thing music and also features a brilliant remix from Grammy Award winning producer Stonebridge. Following that I have another single signed to Newstate featuring Duke Dumont/Bingo Players vocalist Kelli Leigh. I am particularly excited about this track entitled Desire (also on the XXL Album), as I have been playing it for months now and am hoping it will do brilliantly when it gets a full release. I also have two remixes for American artists Pebbles and rock band Half The Animal signed, and am currently working on a cover of Sade’s No Ordinary Love with The X Factor’s Laura White, so I’m crazy busy.
Paul Morrell’s top 5 XXL Album tracks
Tall & Handsome (Paul Morrell Vocal Mix) – Tension
This is a particularly important track for me as it will be my next single and features the vocals of legendary singer and DJ Boy George. The track is a cover of the Positiva classic by Outrage, and it was a great privilege to work with George on this project. The version on the album is an exclusive mix with an extended intro and will not be available anywhere else.
Timebomb (Dada Remix) – Kylie
This is one of the few Kylie singles that I support, and a key part of my sets at XXL London. The video for the track was also filmed on Old Compton Street, making it even more significant for the London gay community. I particularly love the Dada remix as it has a pumping EDM feel, which has become a signature in my sets.
Hollywood – Afrojack & Hardwell
The crescendo of my mix, this track is a full on EDM workout and the heaviest track on the album. It is Afrojack & Hardwell’s toughest collaboration, and reserved for my peak time sets at XXL.
Desire (feat. Kelli Leigh) – Paul Morrell
My forthcoming single, featuring vocalist Kelli Leigh (I Got U – Duke Dumont/Cry Just A Little – Bingo Players). The track is particularly significant to me, as I first met Kelli at Birmingham Pride last year, where we agreed to collaborate. Desire is a chunky vocal house track which I have been playing for months at XXL now. It will be familiar to anyone who attends the club regularly.
WTF – Sander Van Doorn & Hi Lo
A cover of Fatboy Slim’s Star 69 –“They know what is what, but they don’t know what is what / they just strut, what the fuck!” The lyrics made infamous by Norman Cook are now beefed up by Sander Van Doorn. This track is again particularly appropriate for my sets and a great addition to the XXL album.
Mark Ames’ top 5 XXL Album tracks
Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden’s Star Trunk Mix) – Tori Amos
This is one of those songs that should never have been a dance hit but it just shows you what a great remixer can do.
Blue Monday – New Order
The first 12-inch to go to number one, this is a fusion of New York/London/Manchester sounds and introduced the Roland 808 drum machine to the UK.
Happiness – Alexis Jordan
Epitomises the general feel my staff, customers and I attain at the club on a weekly basis.
Right Here, Right Now (7th Heaven Radio Edit) – Giorgio Moroder feat. Kylie Minogue
What would XXL be without Kylie? I just want to say fuck all the DJs who are ‘too cool’ to play Kylie – that’s like saying you’re gay and you don’t suck dick.
Dreaming (Paul Morrell XXL Remix) – Ruff Driverz Presents Arrola
Way before XXL I had a life often spent in Ibiza. I was there when the original of this was out and I guess I better go back now Paul has done this remix.