From pirate radio to the FIFA world cup, dBs Plymouth tutor Paul Connaughton turned his teenage vinyl obsession into a vibrant career as an audio professional.
As a teenager growing up in London, Paul was exposed to a melting pot of 90s electronic music. A fusion of hiphop, garage and jungle fed a developing vinyl obsession. Having honed his DJ skills through countless hours of practice, Paul found himself at the centre of London's emerging pirate radio and graffiti art culture, leading to guest mixes on Rinse and Ice Fm amongst many others.
At 15 Paul's family decided to leave the capital in search of a better quality of life, moving to Devon. Quickly finding residencies in popular local nightclubs, Paul became a member of SOS Sound-System and embraced free-party culture. Although he wasn't aware at the time, this development would have a huge influence on his later career working in Live Sound. The time spent being involved with the free-party scene helped cultivate an interest in the technical side of working with large sound systems.
Countless opportunities followed leading to work alongside promoters such as Slippery Fingers, Big Large, Jangle, Filthy Kleen, 2SME Events and Garage Nation. Paul went on to share the bill with acts such as Dj Hazard, Adam F, Nicky Blackmarket, Ray Keith, Wookie, Dj EZ, Dj Cartier, Mc Luck & Neat, Artful Dodger, DiIllinja, Mickey Finn, Sub Zero, Calvertron, Raffertie, Mc Fearless, Mc Det and The Ragga Twins.
Having established himself as a DJ, the desire to ensure longevity in his career led to gaining a formal qualification in music production. After completing a BTEC Extended Diploma, Paul also gained a bachelor degree in Live Sound (both at dBs Music) where his passion for audio continued to blossom.
This was a turning point in Paul's career as DJ duties started being replaced with regular work as a front of house engineer. During his 3rd year as a degree student, Paul also began working for dBs Music as a technician.
Although Paul didn't imagine himself becoming a tutor at the start of his journey, time spent working in the technician's role allowed him to pass on knowledge leading to a deep sense of reward and satisfaction. The experience stuck with him and although he was starting to establish himself as a front of house engineer and a music producer releasing music with In:flux Audio, the compelling urge to help others could not be ignored.
Finding a greater sense of reward and satisfaction in his work inspired Paul to pursue teaching as a career choice. He decided to continue his education by completing a one year PGCE qualification and soon landed teaching roles at dBs Music while also working independently as a Live Sound engineer.
Paul continued to nurture his career a freelancer and developed expertise in areas such as front of house mixing, wireless systems engineering, system tech and stage tech. Having a wide and varied skillset gifted the opportunity to work on events such as the FIFA 2018 World Cup, The America’s Cup, The Royal Air Tattoo Air Show, Bournemouth Air show, Sunderland Air show, Glastonbury, Slam Dunk, Harbourside, Teddy Rocks, Wimbledon and Westfest, among others.
During his extensive career Paul has engineered for Dj EZ, Andy C, Dj Friction, Roni Size & Reprazent, Loyle Carner, Idris Elba, Mr G, Goldie and The Heritage Orchestra, New Order, The Specials, Echo & the Bunnymen, David Rodigan, The Streets and many more. The passion for Live Sound and love of teaching show no signs of slowing down. If you're a frequent festival goer or keen to start a career in the music industry, you'll likely see Paul in a classroom or behind a desk somewhere soon.
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