One navy-blue office evening this year, as March gave hopelessly into April, an incoming email lit up Wonderland’s monitors, arriving like a snowflake on the tongue of a parched desert camel. It was a press trip offer, listing a week’s itinerary. Board boat it instructed, slot in some shades it said, charge up your bluetooth hands-free, get yourself dirty, drunk and sunburnt and enjoy a week-long cruise through the archipelago parties of westernmost Croatia. Soon, Wonderland had ditched deadline week for seven days of sea, serotonin and expertly seared shellfish. Just before his DJ slot — a set that swapped Golden Era Hip-Hip beats with blissed out “One Dance” refixes — The Yacht Week’s resident DJ Paul Lojszczyk sat down for a semi-sober chat. Hailing from Australia and one third of the DJ troupe #hashtag, Lojszczyk is a plane-hopping party-proliferator. All aboard? Let’s go.
So tell us a bit about how you first got involved with The Yacht Week?
I was overseas studying in Europe and had the summer off and DJd (at) Yacht Week. One of my friends back home in Australia was a photographer for it and he gave me the contact. I sent all the information from there and they thought I was appropriate. Later on in the summer a position came up for DJ Manager, so I applied online and got it. That was 2014. They were happy with the job I did and invited me again the next year. I’ve stayed on ever since.
Did you know what you were getting yourself into?
Well I had a good idea because Yacht Week had just taken off in Australia. I had quite a few friends who’d been on it so I knew quite a bit about it. I did have expectations that were relatively close, because it still doesn’t quite match it when you actually get there. Regardless of what people tell you, you kind of have to experience it.
Can you remember your first time DJing? Was it initially a smooth ride or did nerves get the better of you?
I won’t deny that I’m always incredibly nervous. I did DJ a lot back home so obviously I had all those sets that I played back in Australia, but I didn’t know whether that would be good over here in Europe. You’ve got people from everywhere around the world, different tastes, (and) luckily I’m into all types of music so that helped. It certainly was nerve wracking though, but it did go well, so happy days.
It sounds like you became accustomed pretty quickly. What kind of music did you start off playing? How has that evolved over the years?
Back when I started, EDM was much less mainstream and the EDM sound was kind of what we did. Also back in the day there was a different clientele. We were going for a specific kind of sound and that’s kind of morphed into (what it is) now over the years. It’s also very challenging for our DJs because I don’t know of any other event where you play to the same crowd almost 7 days a week. I need different sets because they don’t want to hear the same set every single night. It’s challenging (but) that’s why we pick DJs who can play a wide variety of genres.
Tell us a little bit about your background, how did you originally get involved in DJing?
So I started out probably six or seven years ago. I bought decks and started playing friends’ parties and word of mouth spread. I started getting better and better gigs at a flood of small festivals around Australia and also started producing with two friends who I DJ’d with a lot. Our name was ‘Hashtag.’ In hindsight, (it was a) terrible name for a group, absolutely terrible. Hashtag Hashtag. You can’t Google ‘hashtag’ obviously! We got a couple of HypeMachine number ones, a couple of tracks up on TheSoundYouNeed. I was studying engineering (at the time) and decided that I was ready for a break from Newcastle (Australia) so I went overseas to study. I did a few semesters abroad and continued DJing there in Sweden and the UK.
I guess the rest is history. You must have some pretty insane anecdotes from over the years.
Every single week is so mental it’s hard to find one that rides above the rest. One of my favourite parties was at an amazing 200-year-old fort, called Fort George. It was incredibly stormy, it was like a natural strobe light going off everywhere and it was mental. Then all of a sudden this Armageddon hit and it started bucketing down. 20/30% of the crowd were like this is too much and went into the castle in the fort to get under cover. The rest of the crowd just turned it up to the next level and we cranked it out for a whole other hour. It was absolutely insane!