BY HALEY WISE
Jeffrey Paradise (pictured left) from Poolside may have pushed back our interview a bit because he “got lost in music”, but hey, this guy claims he could teach his mom to DJ in two hours, so we understand. We got to chat with him about fashion, skateboarding, travel, and his upcoming 3 hour DJ set at the Mezzanine
Did you always know you wanted to be a DJ or musician?
I think so, I started playing trumpet when I was about 7 and before that I always sought out opportunities to do music so it’s always been a strong interest.
What are some of your other interests?
I do a lot of cooking, and I’m into a lot of things – coffee, wine, mezcal. Traveling is always fun, which we get to do a lot with the band. I enjoy getting out in nature as much as I can. I spent New Years Day in San Francisco hiking up in Marin with a bunch of friends, I swam in the Pacific Ocean, which was freezing but those are the kinds of things I gravitate towards.
Any favorite or most unique places you’ve traveled with the band?
We played in the Dominican Republic, which was pretty beautiful, I never thought I would go there. We played in Singapore, that was really awesome, the food there is really remarkable and there are a lot of fun things to do. I’ve been to Bogata, Columbia where all the people were really awesome, the food is great and its beautiful. We played a private event there outside the city through these jungle looking mountains.
What happened to your fashion career?
I used to work for a skateboard company and I did some fashion design and artwork for them. Then I decided I wanted to take it more seriously, so I went to San Francisco State University and obtained a degree in fashion design and textiles. I haven’t really done anything with that besides a few little things here and there. I went right into DJing straight out of college and that kept growing and changing so I just stayed in the music industry.
Is this where the inspiration came from for the Poolside skateboard?
Filip and I both have a background in skateboarding. He skates more than I do, I still get on a board now and then. He was really passionate about it and it was my life for about a decade, so it made logical sense to make a skateboard. Its really a passion project.
Where did the Japan theme design on the board come from?
We asked Adam Villacin, the guy who painted the cover of Pacific Standard Time, our first record, to do the artwork for the skateboard. At first he was kind of doing some poolside images and we just told him to do whatever he wanted – whatever he thought would be a cool skateboard – no limitations, and he came up with that.
When you’re not on stage at electro/club events, are you in the audience?
At festivals yes – we’ve been playing a lot of small-size festivals and the lineups are really awesome to me, so I’ve been in the audience there. When I’m at home and have the night off though, its hard to get up the willpower to go out because I’m out so much that its not a big motivation to go out again. I like to, and I’d like to do it more, but the best times for me is at festivals.
Any favorites you’ve seen recently?
Darkside I’ve seen a few times and it’s really cool, kinda different, it’s not trying to please the crowd so it’s pretty special. Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich + Fussible, we just played with them in Acapulco, it’s sort of like kumbia, so they have a kind of mariachi band on stage and it’s kind of like dance and Mexican pride as well. Jagwar Ma, they were pretty cool. We also played with Washed Out a lot and they’re always pretty awesome to watch.
Has Neil Young responded to your cover of Harvest Moon?
We sent it to his management and they said they really liked it. So the collective “we” of Neil Young likes it.
I’ve found a few mentions online that suggests you felt “alienated by MDMA-laced electro” as DJs – Have you always steered cleared of such activities?
I think we did participate quite a bit in those activities. To put that into context, we were both pretty involved in the indie electro dance music scenes, I was throwing Blow Up SF that booked a lot of those artists. I DJed that music and Filip did a few things in the electro scene. Once it moved into harder and harder and less and less musical and chaotic aggressive music, that was a little unappealing for us.
We’ve been doing it for a long time and felt it was going too far. How Poolside began is we would go to parties in LA together and it would be 90 degrees and they would be playing dubstep. We were like that’s not cool man. Our music is a backlash to pounding dubstep sounds that we couldn’t escape. We’re not haters, but we love this music and it has gone to a place that was disassociated from how it began. Our music is basically the opposite, mellow, slow, and pretty.
Do you have any surprises for us at Mezzanine on February 8th?
We are doing a 3-hour DJ set. We’ve done 8-hour DJ sets before in Mexico and other places where its more acceptable. For the US its a pretty big deal. A lot of time when you’re playing in the US you get an hour and it doesn’t feel like DJing the way that both Filip and I like – you set the mood, you get people into it. We have both been DJing for 10 years or more so we have different ideas of what DJing even means.
I could probably teach my mom to DJ in two hours and she would be able to DJ at a club without messing up. We’re both really hyped on being able to perform a DJ set that really shows what were about – spread out, stretch out and not be confined to play our 10 best songs and hope people like them. We’ll be able to play a broad spectrum of music and move the crowd on our schedule and not on a really fast schedule.
Whats the preparation like for a show this long?
We have no idea what were going to play. We’ve never planned a set ever, we have folders for beginning of the night stuff and especially laid back stuff for a pool party. We know whats in the folders, we’re not just going in with a catalogue of all the songs we’ve ever heard. But its based off what we’re feeling when we get there and what the DJs did before us and what the room sounds like. Thats what DJing is really about, you’re not performing doing backflips on stage or having a crazy light show, it’s all about the music.
If you want to pretend for a minute that you know more than we do about music, go ahead, send us your thoughts. Hit us with your best shot, we dare you.