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13 Apr 2023

Porsche hits all the right notes

Professional DJ Paul Sawyer talks about his Journey through Porsche ownership 

Paul Sawyer’s in a busy patch. Having a new album out in just a couple of weeks’ time, a record label to run and everyday family life in Winchester as well would be plenty to keep anyone occupied, but he’s also on the mend after a mountain biking accident resulted in a broken collarbone. “The silver lining is that I’m able to catch up on loads of back-end admin stuff,” he jokes. 

That may have put something of a crimp in the ease with which he drives his Lava Orange 992 Turbo, but it seems like that’s what it takes to get him to stay still and he’s clearly no stranger to busy patches. His new album is titled 30 Years a DJ for good reason and he’s spent the past three decades behind one turntable or another, bringing the Progressive House music he’s long specialised in to audiences all over the world. If Porsche made work ethics instead of cars, they’d make one like his.

Speaking of Porsches, he’s been a petrolhead even longer than he’s been a DJ and cars have been just as big a part of his life as music all along. More to the point, Porsches in particular have come to have a very special place in it indeed.
“I blame my dad,” he explains, tongue firmly in cheek. “He’s always loved cars, which meant I got to ride in some iconic ones including a Lotus Esprit Turbo, an Escort Cosworth, a Jaguar XJS, a Sierra XR4i… the list is endless when I sit and think about it! He even bought me a Capri 2.8i for my first car, which was crazy for a 17-year-old. That thing scared the living daylights out of me when I first drove it.” 
Around the same time, he was also taking his initial steps as a DJ. “I was at uni, studying architecture, but then music just took over and I thought I’d give it a go – to my dad’s horror. He thought I was making a massive mistake, but it wasn’t long before I was actually earning more money than he was just DJing at weekends.”
But Paul’s career quickly grew far beyond that level. Shortly after starting out as a DJ in Southampton in 1993, a spell in Ibiza followed (“which was quite a big surprise, because obviously that’s where it was all kicking off”) and that meant his name came to the very valuable attention of record companies too. On returning home, he began a steady programme of UK tours – including innovative boat parties – that saw him become one of the rare few who can make being a DJ a full-time career. More to the point, it was a great personal fit too. “I must say I am a very social person,” he muses. “It is really important to me to have lots of friends and I’m constantly in contact with so many people.”
And he certainly arrived at gigs in style throughout these journeyman years. That intimidating Capri 2.8i was quickly swapped for an XR3i (“Still quite a car for a new driver, but more manageable”), which was followed by an XR2i (“I managed to roll it one night coming home from a friend’s house, so that was written off. I was so annoyed with myself because I absolutely loved that car”), a Ford Orion Ghia in gold (“It was quite usual to be playing in Liverpool, jump in the Orion and shoot to London for another gig on the same night”), a Vauxhall Monaro (“Being the age I was, I added a race exhaust which made that thing ridiculously loud!”), a Ford Mustang Shelby GT (“Very basic and ridiculously easy to drift”) and plenty of others. 
Paul sees a strong connection between his professional interest in the Progressive House genre and his more personal affinity for cars. “When people talk about music therapy, that particular sound is that for me,” he explains. “I just love the way sound builds and builds and just creates this atmosphere on the dancefloor. You can start off really slow and you really start to get people into it and the journey that it creates is amazing. It’s a bit like when you’re driving; you start off slow, perhaps getting a bit faster and faster, you’re getting to know the roads, getting to know the cars…”
His comparison is an apt one and, as a musician works their way up to a crescendo to give it all the more meaning, Paul consciously worked his way up to Porsches. “Owning a 911 was always the dream for me,” he says. “Dad bought me a supercar day at Snetterton when I was 30 and one of the cars was a 911. I drove a Ferrari 355, a Dodge Viper and a Lotus Esprit as well but, out of all of them, the 911 was my favourite. Ever since that day, I had it in my mind that I would own one.”
“The first 911 I bought was a black 997 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, back in 2008. I will never forget the feeling of driving that car after five years of hankering after one. Later, I bought a Cayenne from Porsche Centre Portsmouth in 2017, then swapped it for a new 2018 Cayman. I kept that until July 2019 and part-exchanged it for a Miami Blue 991 C2S from Porsche Centre Bournemouth. I actually wanted to buy a Lava Orange 991 GTS but, when I called the next day, it had already sold! The Miami Blue 991 was my second choice, but it was such a lovely car to drive.”

Buying the 991 was also when he joined the Club (“It’s been so worth joining. I’ve really enjoyed attending the meetings and getting the opportunity to chat with like-minded people”) but there’s nothing like the one that got away, is there? Ever since he drove the Lava Orange GTS, Paul thought that he’d like a Lava Orange 992 with the impressive performance of a Turbo. After placing an order and waiting a year, he finally took delivery in March 2022. “I was very lucky – the Porsche Factory closed the following week due to the shortage of wiring looms.”
It’s been a perfect fit, and Paul and his 992 Turbo have had a magnificent time. “It’s by far the best car I’ve ever driven and owned. It gives you so much confidence on corners. I drove it to Le Mans with some friends, which was such a great way to enjoy the car. One was driving a new Lamborghini Huracán STO and we also had a classic Mercedes following us so, as you can imagine, we were having to stop quite a few times for the Merc to catch up.”

“I’d love to drive it through the south of France and down to Monaco one day. I’ve also been looking at taking it over to Ireland and driving around the island with my wife. A friend of mine owns a GT3, and we have spoken about driving to the Alps one day and spending a week on a tour. It’s definitely on my bucket list.”
Finding the time might be tricky, though. Paul joined forces with a small team of fellow DJs to launch Krafted Music as their own record label back in 2013, he’s enjoyed two residencies (so far) at Radio 1 and he’s even putting together a 30-hour radio show complete with 30 DJs, but he’s also the first to note that he’s not a one-man band. “I’d like to say a massive thank you to my family because of the huge support they’ve given me over the years and to all the people that have come to see me,” Paul says. “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I was just lucky to be there at the right time.” 

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