Infinity & beyond
As part of our series on local heroes, and following our introduction to the island’s prestigious music studios over the last few months, we’ve been down the road again – some five kilometers.
It’s a lovely sunny February day and we’re off to lunch with an old mate who we bumped into briefly at a bar the evening before. We’re going to share reminiscences that we’re going to share with you… In fact we’re catching up with him in the middle of his world tour, performing to tens of thousands of adoring fans every week. His name is Paul Walden, but we’ve always known him as Guru Josh – it was easier to remember on this island where first names are all that people bother to learn.
His current success is the result of a remix of his pivotal ‘Infinity’ track in 1989, which many claim started the dance music revolution twenty years ago. Since then Josh has spent most of his time slumming it with the rest of we ‘survivors in Ibiza’.
The re-released track has already gone platinum around the world, which is unusual in the new millennium of freely downloadable music. It has topped the charts around the world in recent months and currently stands in the top five of the ‘global play-list’!
In fact this is how I came to catch up with my old mate. I spent quite a bit of time in England this winter and saw his video all over the TV all day and heard the track on an hourly basis on every radio station I could find…
We turn up to find Josh playing with new equipment he’s just installed in his mobile studio. The studio is the same camouflaged winibago that he used to live in years ago on Es Canar’s ‘Camping Florida’. We used to sit in the front seats watching the waves rolling in from Africa, just over the horizon, through the front windscreen, with his new music blasting out through the open doors for the benefit of the other residents.
Now it’s changed inside. The bathroom, kitchen and toilet have all gone as Josh has transformed it into a studio that he reckons has better acoustics than the half a million pound London studio he was recently using. My passenger seat has disappeared, but his driver’s seat is still there. This is a mobile studio, which you may well chance upon on your travels around the island this summer as Josh parks up at different venues seeking inspiration for his new material.
He’s always been a bit of a traveller. He was just as likely to blast his way into town on the jet-ski parked outside the winibago as to use the camouflaged Porsche parked alongside it. This was usually so that he could perfect daft stunts on it to entertain the bikini clad tourists on the nearby beaches. With hindsight I accept his explanation that he was preparing for future stage shows once he’d won his court battle with BMG, his record company.
His other strange hobby was flying a microlite around the island, except that this wasn’t a miniature aeroplane – it was called a ‘parapent’ and consisted of a man with a parachute and what looked like an air conditioning fan attached to his back. Many happy hours were spent curled up in laughter at him running down a muddy field, fully equipped, then aborting the mission at the last possible moment as he approached a nearby copse of tall pines. Nonetheless, when he did get airborne he brought back some stunning aerial photographs, and he lives to tell the tale despite the equally difficult problem of landing his vehicle!
In fact his attraction to extreme sports was simply a diversion to briefly take him away from his ongoing battle with the record business. The original ‘Infinity’ track that he had created had altered the direction of music and earned a fortune but, in a familiar story, he hadn’t been paid the bulk of the money. He’d employed legal experts to fight for his entitlements and found that they either weren’t good enough to take on the professionals employed by a multi-national record company, or were already in cahoots with them!
They do say, ‘if you want a job doing – do it yourself’, so Josh went on the internet, found the courses and information that he needed, researched the precedent and, ultimately, became a lawyer good enough to beat the best that the record company could muster.
In the meantime, as another leisure time distraction, he decided to renovate the winibago. The shower base was looking shoddy and Josh had a vision of how it could be improved. He searched for what he had in mind, but it couldn’t be found.
It hadn’t actually been invented yet, so it was time to produce a new variant of three dimensional art. A little research into chemistry, some glass resin and a cocktail of other chemicals should do the trick. Slowly Josh closed in on what he had in mind. In the meantime the fire extinguisher saw respectable use on the prototypes as he struggled to get the chemical mix right. ‘It’s the same theory as making music, but more dangerous’ he said at the time…
An example of the final product can be found at Guarana, acting as a backdrop to the regular live bands. Anybody out there in possession of any of these unique works, albeit under another pseudonym: ‘Louie Fabrix’, should guard them carefully once the art world realises that these were produced by arguably the biggest musical talent on the planet at this moment in time – much as he was twenty years ago in fact.
However, today we’re sitting outside one of the cheaper lunch options in Santa Eulalia and Josh’s starving team are choosing from the German menu. Billy, the manager, is struggling to get a word in edgeways while Josh is keen to get on with the interview. Deva, the saxophonist and Josh’s co-musician on the remix, sits quietly amused watching the bickering. The bad news is that the spit roast chicken, for which the venue is famous has all gone, as have most of the other menu options. So Josh offers to nip down to the supermarket on their behalf.
It transpires that Billy just overheard their landlord’s mobile phone ringtone – it’s ‘Infinity’. Billy points this out to Josh who doesn’t want Billy to tell the guy in case he puts the rent up. Billy admits that it’s too late, he already told him… but the landlord didn’t believe him!
Similarly, as part of the world tour, Josh recently took a call from a stadium promoter in Tokyo trying to book him for a gig. At the time he was hanging off the roof of the new five star ‘Aguas de Ibiza’ hotel repairing their rogue satellite dish.
All’s well with Ibiza and all’s well with Josh, which is good to see. He hasn’t changed at all despite his success. ‘Infinity’ just overtook Michael Jackson’s ‘Killer’ as the most watched Youtube music video of all time, so the team must be doing something right, even if there’ll be no chicken today. So far some 36 million people have viewed the video, but few have had the pleasure of watching Josh attempt to get his ‘parapent’ off the ground…
The follow up single is called ‘Crying in the rain’ and will soon be followed by a full album. We’ll keep you posted on that. In the meantime if he drops in to a beach near you by jet-ski, parapent or camouflaged winibago, wish him well…