Dave Paul is Da Bomb!

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Dave Paul was born in 1967. When in college he joined campus radio KCSF. He’s the founder of Bomb Hip Hop Magazine which was originally published between 1991-1996. The magazine featured artworks by 8th Wonder, Sanchez or Serkit and writings from Dave “Funken” Klein, Joseph “Jazzbo” Pattel, Dave Tompkins and DJ Shadow to name a few. Dave started Bomb Hip-Hop Records in 1994 which released early music from Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf, and The Return Of The DJ series of compilations.

Recently Dave Paul has been DJing on Twitch and sells Bomb merchandise online to raise money for nonprofit and community organizations. He’s now back on track dropping the music he's the most fond of through That Big 80s Party and 90s music live shows.


DJ Dave Paul
DJ Dave Paul
 

Jon

Can you tell me where you grew up and how you first started to listen to hip hop music?


Dave

I grew up, born and raised in San Francisco. I remember the first 12" that I had were Reckless by Ice-T [Polydor, 1984], and Egypt, Egypt by Egyptian Lover [Freak Beat Records, 1984]. Then I traded some rock records with this guy in high school for the first Run-DMC album [Run D.M.C. / Profile Records, 1984] and I was definitely hooked on hip hop after that.


Jon

Around that time you became a mobile DJ, how did it start?


Dave

Well, the thing you have to understand about San Francisco and the Bay Area is, back then everyone was a DJ, that was the thing. I had been into music and my friends had been into music and we're like, “Let's start DJing”, you know. Our first setups were really ghetto and mismatched equipment. You use what you have, and you progress from there.


When I went to City College I joined the radio station [KCSF], that was a different type of DJing because it was more...


Jon

Professional?


Dave

Yeah, it was more like, play a couple songs, then talk about the songs. It's very different than being a mobile DJ and mixing at a high school dance or a wedding or whatever.


I started doing an all hip hop show on Fridays, which was eight in the morning till 2pm, and that's how I ended up meeting a lot of artists. I started my Top 40 playlist, and I'd also write a review of a record, or some information about a concert that was coming up. Then that progressed into the magazine.


Jon

That's my next question actually, when did you launch Bomb Hip Hop Magazine, and the concept behind it?


BHH #1, Oct. 1991
BHH #22, Sept. 93

Dave

October of 91 was the first issue. Prior to that, I wrote a few articles for a few different magazines that were going to come out, and then they just never did, and I was like, “I'll just do it myself!”


I didn't have a computer so the first issue is actually done on my mum’s typewriter, and then I would take that and shrink it down on a copy machine to layout the page. Later on, I started using a printer and actually having it saddle stitch, so it opened up like a regular magazine.


Jon

Did you realize back then that the magazine would become an icon of the hip hop underground?


Dave

No, when you're in it, you don't realize really what it is.


Dave with Paris, circa 1990

Jon

Were there other similar magazines at that time?


Dave

We had Straight From The Lip in San Diego, Flavor in Seattle, One Nut Network which I think was Connecticut. There was Hype out in Australia, Sabotage out in Germany, and a few European magazines which were more graffiti than just a hip hop magazine.


Jon

Did you plan to print the magazine in colour at some point?


Dave

It would have been great but back then, to print something in colour was pretty expensive. I always thought it'd be cool to do a colour issue. If I ever do another one, I might do colour because it's pretty cheap to do it now, I wouldn't even need to do ads. I could just fund it myself.


Jon

You did the first issue on your own, but then for the next issues you had more people working with you.


Dave

Yeah, the next issues, Victor Osborne, who is a friend over at City College, he was like, "Hey, I have a Mac. I can help you with this." So probably for the next 10 issues he helped me with all that layout, and it really made a huge difference because I didn't know how to do any of that stuff. Back then we were doing it in PageMaker, which doesn't even exist anymore. I didn't know how to layout a magazine. Nowadays I'm sure there's some easy program for it.


Jon

I've been talking to Faisal Ahmad and he said that he started writing for BHH circa 95. He said that Jazzbo, Dave Tompkins, Mike Nardone, and Josh all wrote for the magazine. How did you hook up with these guys?


A Tribe Called Quest, circa 1991

Dave

Back then there was maybe only 100 college radio DJs so a lot of us just knew each other. We all started going to the Gavin Convention in San Francisco, which was every year, and you just ran into people. Mike Nardone I knew from doing college radio. Jazzbo was just from that whole Davis thing, you know, Blackalicious and Shadow. I don't remember the first time I met Josh, but it's not like we ran into each other a lot, because they were up in Davis and I was in San Francisco.


Jon

Did you know Matt Brown before you met Josh? Because Matt managed Josh in the early days...


Dave

I definitely knew Matt from way back when. I remember he was managing Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf. Maybe he was doing stuff with Shadow because those Blackalicious shirts were the same shirts as Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf. They had a safety pin with a little piece of twine coming down and then like his business card on it.


Jon

I'm not sure if he managed Solesides, but he was working in two radio stations north of Davis [KCSC & KCHO].


Dave

Oh, he was probably up in Chico. Then that's obviously how I met Josh, through Matt Brown.


Jon

You showed me some logos The 8th Wonder did for you, and he also did a few covers for your magazine. But how many?


The 8th Wonder's headings made for Bomb Hip Hop Magazine, circa 91-92

Dave

Quite a few actually, it's got to be at least 8 and then he did like a lot of headings for me, too. For the covers I would tell artists to just make it a square kind of form. But people just did their own thing. I didn't give any direction, I take no credit for that, that's all the artists. People would just send stuff in out of the blue and that's usually how I found great covers. 8th Wonder did some, Dario Sanchez, Scape One, and then there's just a host of other people, some from overseas.


Jon

Dave “Funken” Klein [from Hollywood BASIC] wrote for you too, how did you hook up with him?


Dave

He was writing for The Source. I think he might have been working at Def Jam, and we just sort of kept in touch and then after he stopped writing for The Source, we had talked about if he could do some articles for me, and he was up for it. I think he was one of the few people that would really push international hip hop back at that time. I think he doesn't get a lot of credit for that. Raw Fusion was probably their most, quote unquote, “normal” hip hop group in that sense. Here in the US, at that time, and even now to a point, fans of hip hop, they can't handle the accent, they don't want to hear stuff that's from another country.


Jon

As you're talking about it, a special Japanese hip hop edition was released on BHH. Even one on European hip hop.


Dave

Yeah, we did one on European hip hop. It was supposed to have a part two, but we just never got to the part two. There's just so much hip hop out in Europe and we did a whole issue focused on the scene in Japan, which in the 90s was such a great scene out there.


BHH #43, 1995
BHH #46, 1995

Jon

In 92, you released a couple of flexis, featuring Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf, as well as Dan The Automator, and they were released on Harlock Records not Bomb Hip Hop, why is that?


Dave

Yes, that was my friend John Gasser and he fronted the money for that. So I was like, "Dude, you pick the name for the record label because you're putting up the money." So that's why it just doesn't say Bomb Hip Hop on it, it says Harlock.


Jon

Did Charizma and PBW already have something out back then?


Dave

No, I think that was the first thing they were on if I remember correctly. We all knew each other. I knew Chris [Manak aka PBW] and Charizma and all of them from the start of the magazine because I'd get their demos. They were all cool with it, it was just like "A flexi-disc? Yeah, you can use this track."


Jon

What about Automator [Dan Nakamura]? He was already famous back then.


Dave

He was getting there for sure. I had known Dan for years, used to go over to his house when he was still with his parents and had a studio downstairs [The Glue Factory]. We would just hang out, and he would play me the stuff that he was working on.


Jon

Was it with these flexis that you decided to launch your own record label?


Return of the DJ (Reissue) [Bomb Hip Hop Records, 1997]
Return of the DJ (Reissue) [Bomb Hip Hop Records, 1997]

Dave

Yeah, I did the Bomb Hip Hop Compilation [Bomb Hip-Hop Records/PGA Records, 1994], which was mainly from demos that everyone had been sending me, and it was it was mainly all the people from out here like Mystik Journeymen, Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf, Blackalicious...


But here's the mistake I made. I hooked up with PGA Records, because I didn't know how to put out a record. And he was like, "Yo, I'll put it out and do it, blah, blah, blah." So he went to Rainbo Records, which out here was one of the bigger pressing plants. What he did was he ended up getting credit from them to press it up and I think he pressed like 7000 copies, vinyl, CD, and cassette.


Basically, he was like, “I'll pay you later for what I'm pressing.” Nowadays you just gotta pay for it upfront, but back then he got credit from them and then he went and sold them and then disappeared! So he didn't pay them and there was no money to pay the artists. That was my first lesson in Do It Yourself. Because when you put it in the hands of someone else, you don't know what's gonna happen.


Then later on, when I went to go do my own release, and went to Rainbo Records to press it, they were like, "Nah, we're not gonna press it because you were with that guy that ripped us off and never paid us." Now, I was like, "That's not my fault, you know? I'll pay up front," and they were like, "No, we're not going to deal with you!" So that's when I went to Bill Smith’s Custom Records down in LA and then I did all my pressings with him.


Jon

As far as I know, The Return Of The DJ albums [Bomb Hip-Hop Records, 1995 to 2009] were the first of their kind, in the sense that they were compiling unreleased demos from new DJs. So how did you come up with this idea?


Dave

The reason I wanted to do it was, back in the day, every rap album always had that one DJ track. Mr. Mixx [David Hobbs] for 2 Live Crew and a lot of albums started having that. Then rap groups started dropping their DJ, so my idea was like, “Well, let's just do a whole album of scratching.


I remember I had talked to Q-Bert about it, and he hadn't given me a full yes yet, but when I talked to other DJs and I would say "Q-Bert is going to be on it," they're like, “Okay, I'll be on it too.” So that's how the first one came about. I just told people “Try to keep your songs under five minutes, make it however you want to make it, just try to keep it under five minutes.” Because you only had so much room on vinyl and even though it was double vinyl, you're talking anything past 12 minutes on one side, then the quality starts going down.


Jon

Are there any outtakes from the different BHH albums, like unreleased tracks?


Dave

Oh, yeah, there's a lot of stuff! Sometimes people would send me four or six songs. But it's funny, I remember people used to ask me like, "Oh, why don't you repress Return Of The DJ?" and I'd be like, "Are you kidding?! I got all the units sitting right here still shrink wrapped. Dude it's right on my website!”


Jon

I've seen that video on your YouTube page of a show Jurassic 5 did at DNA Lounge for The Bomb Records Parties in 95. The Solesides Crew played right after them and I heard Josh filmed the performances from a staircase behind the stage while you were doing the front of house recording, so I was wondering if you knew anything about Josh’s footage?


Dave

I have that videotape. He just happened to be there and had a camera. He was just going around, walking around videoing, and I think you can hear him talking in it too. He gave me the tape, so now I’ve got to go find that because it'll be fun to watch. We were all just so happy, we were all having a good time.


Master tape for Liquid Liquid Remixes [Mo Wax, 1997]
Master tape for Liquid Liquid Remixes [Mo Wax, 1997]

Jon

You remixed a Liquid Liquid track for Mo’ Wax in 97. How did that come about?


Dave

I had been in touch with James Lavelle. The first time I went out to London I went over to his offices, and we met in person. He had heard a battle record that I had made called Phantom Breaks [Not on label, 1997] which I made on my four track reel to reel, and he was like "I want you to do the same thing for Liquid Liquid."


My thinking was like, "Cool, send me the multi tracks and I'll just go over to Automator's and do it in the studio,” and he was like "Well, there are no multi tracks. It's just the song, here's the song. Make it from there." So, I just did this edit thing and I sent it to him. He was like, "Yeah, I like it," and I was like, "Well, let me work on it a little more, I can make it better," and he was like, "Nah man it's fine, there's no time." And then it got put out on a Mo Wax promo 12" [MW078LPP]. I remember I got paid $1500 for it.


Jon

Have you worked with other Mo Wax artists and are there other remixes out there that you've not released, like different takes?


Dave

It was just the one Liquid Liquid thing. The only other Mo Wax artist that I really knew was Shadow.


Jon

Are you planning to release the 50th issue of the magazine, you said that you were thinking about that?


Dave

You know, I've been saying that for a couple years. Um, so it's just a matter of doing it. Quite a few people said they would write for it so I just kind of need to put my mind to it. Thing, but I think the biggest stumbling block is I just got to figure out what, what program I need to get to design it. So it's just a matter of learning a new program.


Jon

That's great! Thanks for your time and for the memories that you have shared with me.


Dave

As much as I can remember! Now I need to hit up Matt Brown and be like, "Hey, so I met Shadow through you!"

 

All photos kindly provided by Dave Paul.

Follow him on Twitch, Facebook, Instragram and shop online at Beats4Hope.


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Conducted by Jon (eikimono) on May 21st, 2021

Editing by James Gaunt

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