Interview with Phil Reynolds ahead of Puzzle Project this Saturday!

Interview by Ali Cantor

Some people need no introduction. It’s one of the oldest cliché’s in any interviewer’s notebook. On this occasion I happen to be more than comfortable using it – but only because I’m interviewing Phil Reynolds, Frantic legend, Puzzle Project resident and all round trance supremo! Ahead of his headlining set at Puzzle Project on the 27th February, I caught up with Phil to see what he’s been up to in the past year and what he’s got in store for Puzzle fans on the 27th.

Hey Phil, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions.

Hi, no problem!

We last caught up with you in February of 2009 when you joined the Puzzle team as resident DJ. We know you’ve played a few cracking sets for Puzzle since then, but what else have you been up to in the last year?

I did a lot of overseas gigs last year. I went to South Africa, Argentina, America a few times and Ibiza to name but a few. I have been focusing on where I want to go musically as I feel its time for a change. I’m not saying that I’m going to totally give up hard dance, but I’m more focused on doing trance stuff from now on. I’ve been looking after myself more and now exercise a lot and enjoy spending time with my girlfriend Jackie. After all the years of working constantly every weekend it’s nice to now enjoy a semi-normal lifestyle!

You’ve recently completed a track with Ben Bennett our beloved former resident and have imminent plans to hit the studio with Matt Church, PP stalwart and Red Sky head honcho. Can you tell us a bit about this and anything else you have coming up on the production front?

I have done a track with a South African DJ, Andrew Eastes, which will be coming out on my label, but other than that I haven’t finished anything else off. I do have a lot of unfinished tracks which I need to get round to completing. So there will be quite a few new tracks to come out this year.

You are a regular collaborator with other producers in the studio. Who’s been your favourite person to work with over the years?

Probably Nick Sentience and Alf Bamford. They are both brilliant people to work with because they are really good on the technical side of things and very good musically. They are both really good friends so we always have a fun time working together.

When we last caught up with you, your artist album Digital Revolution was about to drop. How did it go?

The album got lots of good comments from people. I was pleased with it. The sales weren’t that great, but in the age where things can get copied easily there isn’t much you can do about it. I have never done it for the money, so the comments from people are more important than any financial gain. At least I can look back and say that I produced an album.

Has the past year seen any changes to your musical style or seen you branch out in different musical directions? I know you’ve recently played a few house sets….

As I said earlier I have been really enjoying getting back to playing a lot more trance over the past year. Most of my sets at Puzzle Project have been trance sets. I’m still playing harder stuff at other clubs, but am starting to prefer playing proper trance stuff as opposed to hard trance. I also really enjoy playing the odd house set from time to time. I really enjoy listening to house, so it’s always a joy to play it out when I get the chance.

Which labels and/or producers are doing the business for you at the moment?

I really like Ben Gold, Alex M.O.R.P.H., Mac & Taylor, Will Atkinson and Thr3hold on the trance side of things. Alex Mac & Zeebra Kid have been doing some great hard trance stuff recently too.

The trance and hard dance scene nowadays is a very different beast to when you first were coming up as a DJ and making your name. Do you have any advice to budding jocks out there trying to make a go of DJing in the present environment?

The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself and your ability. Set yourself goals and work hard towards them. Along the way you are always going get knocked back at some point but if you work hard and have that belief you can achieve anything in life. You do need to set goals though so that you have something to aim for.

You’re certainly a bit of a legend to my group of friends. We all cut our teeth back in the golden days at events you used to play regularly. We’ve all got lots of fond memories of Frantic sets at the old Camden Palace and all have our favourite ‘Phil’ tunes that you used to play. What are your all time favourite classic tracks?

Generator (Generator – Parker & Clind) was always my most played Camden Palace tune. I probably played that last more than any other tune. But between 1998-2002 there were so many good tunes around. It’s hard to pick a favourite.

And the best gig you’ve ever played? Do any stand out as especially memorable and for what reasons?

One of the Camden Frantics we did was unbelievably good. From start to finish the atmosphere and music was just amazing. I had hairs on the back of my neck standing up the whole time I played. I wish I could go back to have just one more set like that. But I guess things never stay the same and I was very lucky to have been a part of that night.

What’s the most outlandish/amusing thing that’s ever happened to you in the course of your DJ’ing career?

Lots of things that couldn’t be mentioned on a public website!

Cheers Phil – looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us on the 27th! To close things out we’ve got a few quick fire questions for you:

Bionic arm or bionic leg?

I have weak arms, so gotta be arm!!!!

Favourite food?


Your greatest pleasure in life?

Well after something else beginning with s, sleeping or eating!!!!

And your greatest annoyance?

Rude people

Top person to be stranded on a desert island with?

My Girlfriend.

Three deadliest weapons in the DJ box right now?

My gun
Kitchen knife
Egg whisk!