Toronto
2 min

Grace under pressure

After hits for other people, Paul gets his due.

GAINING A REPUTATION. Paul Grace keeps the hits coming. Credit: Xtra files

In the last three years, Paul Grace has had outstanding success – a gold album, a single that debuted at number one, his own record label, consulting on Queer As Folk and gaining a reputation as top remixer in the country.



But one thing remains clear, Grace has never forgotten his community as he continues to work on many gay projects. On Sat, Feb 23, he will spin for the fourth year in a row at the highly successful Fantasy Ball. (The event is produced by Spearhead, the oldest leather group in Canada, its members put a lot of effort into making sure everyone has a great time – without charging them an arm and a leg.)



Grace began spinning way back in 1971, before 12″ singles or pitch-controlled turntables. Ten years later, he was spinning at the legendary T-dances at Cornelius. From there he played Stages, Avalon, Changes, Showbiz, Chaps, Aztec, The Bellair Café and The Barn, as well as events like Mr Leatherman and Unity.



“It was while I was at The Bellair Café that I began to get involved in production,” says Grace. “Then, my brother Tony and I formed our own production team in 1989. And in 1992, Rob DeBoer joined us and we formed Boomtang Records and The Boomtang Boys. After a few years of doing our own productions, we started doing remixes for other people.



“With several hits for other people, Virgin approached us about doing an album for them. And in 1998, we signed with them.”



Boomtang have remixed almost every major label artist in Canada: Amanda Marshall, Holly Cole, David Usher, Sky, Corey Hart, Kim Stockwood and Ashley MacIsaac (his only hit, “Sleepy Maggie”).



Even though The Boomtang Boys had a huge number one, sugary-pop smash called “Squeeze Toy,” Grace has been so busy that he’s not involved with the band as much as he’d like. The Boys have just released a gorgeous new Indian-themed dance song called “Habibi,” which will be on their new album, due Apr 2.



Last year Grace was hired by Queer As Folk to consult on the music for the various club scenes. “Basically, I submit tracks that I think should be used in the show and then they decide which works best,” says Grace. “Now in its second season, the record labels have been great about sending us their up-coming releases and the next compilation looks great.”



Grace is currently juggling many jobs including Eye On The Circuit, a weekly internet radio show on www.1groove.com, and scoring the gay travel show Bump, which airs on PrideVision (and is co-produced by Pink Triangle Press, which publishes Xtra).



“From the comfort of my own studio, I get to visit all the gay hot-spots. Trying to write music while watching gay men and lesbians frolicking on the beach can be a bit of a challenge, believe me,” he says, laughing. “I’m working with a fun bunch of people and with growing international interest, this locally produced show could go on to have a world-wide audience.”



For Spearhead’s Fantasy Ball, Grace says to expect no attitude and lots of smiling faces. “The music’s heavy on the vocals with a few classics thrown in, just the way I like to play.



“As long as they want me, I’ll always be available for the men of Spearhead. Does that make me sound like a slut?”





* Fantasy Ball.

$25 adv; $30 door. 10pm-4am.

Sat, Feb 23.

Opera House.

735 Queen St W.

(416) 925-XTRA xt 2054.