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Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: Jeffrey Paradise

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 6:58 AM

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Jeffrey Paradise is a DJ synonymous with San Francisco's young, hip, and ready to party scenes. If you ever crammed into the dancefloor when he hit the decks at Arrow Bar, or lost a weekend after Blow(ing) Up on a Friday at Rickshaw Stop,  Mr. Paradise is the man to blame. He's an intrepid promoter on the razor's edge of the newest electro and the craziest club nights, with a finger on what's hot long before it hits big (see his early band, the Calculators, which went on to become the Rapture).

Instead of moving forward, Paradise wants to spend one night a month moving back--to 1992, to be exact. Unlike the other '90s nights in town, though, there won't be any grunge or indie tunes here. Club 1992 is sticking to mainstream pop and hip-hop, and the team behind this new bash expects folks to show up and sing along. One thing to note: Paradise's background is in fashion design, and he says to leave those ragged flannels at home, kids.

Name: Jeffrey Paradise

Club night(s): Blow Up, Frisco Disco, Club 1992

Style(s) of music you spin: I'm known for electro, but I've been playing a lot of hip-hop lately and '90s Euro dance pop.

So what's your story, in 100 words or less?
I moved to San Francisco in 1998, to escape the suburbs of San Diego's east county and make a name for myself as a fashion designer. . . shortly after arriving I abandoned fashion to be the front man for new wave/hardcore band The Calculators. "Always a step ahead... they wore uniforms and modernized the sound of groups like Gary Numan and The Tubeway Army, long before anyone had heard of electroclash," to quote ID magazine. Two years, two records, and too many tours later, we split, allowing me to finish a degree in fashion at SFSU and the others to form The Rapture, the now acclaimed dance-punk originators.

After graduating, I was directionless and disenchanted with SF's rigid music scene and disappearing fashion industry. I found a job as a record store clerk (Open Mind Music) and soon after DJ Jefrodisiac was born. A few months later I created my first and now legendary Frisco Disco parties hosting some the first multi-genre dance parties ever thrown in San Francisco. Then I started Blow Up and changed my DJ name to Jeffrey Paradise . . . to be continued...

Name of a track you can't get out of your head: Back Street Boys - "I Want It That Way" (haha sad but true).

Name of an artist you're currently championing in your DJ sets: at Blow Up I tend to play a lot of Fake Blood remixes.

What's the idea behind your newest night, Club 1992? Fun, sing-a-long dance party at a nice venue for DJs, dancing, VIP crowd.

How will it differ from other '90s nights around town? Well, we are really going straight for the jugular. One room is going to be total 90s pop hits: Spice Girls, Back Street Boys, TLC, Britney Spears, Euro dance hits, basically the works. Room 2 will be a bit more discriminating, with tastefully fun '90s hip-hop.

What's the reasoning behind the "no grunge" clause? Two reasons. Debaser has had the market cornered on '90s rock for like 3 years, but really, to be honest I never liked grunge (besides Nirvana). The fashion, the music, Seattle, the overly emotional vocals really bum me out . . . I'm goin huuuuungry. . . Like who wants to hear that in a club? Not me. This is going to be like a dance and sing-a-long-a-thon a la Bel Biv Devo, Technotronic, Kris Kross - with a high fashion element. No flannel, please.

What were you like in the '90s? At the first part of the decade I was in junior high, so I listened to whatever was on the radio. Yo! MTV Raps was my favorite show. By the end of the '90s I was into punk and hardcore and touring in various bands like that.

Why are the '90s such a popular era now? Because the '80s have been a staple retro throw back era, it was kinda easy to categorize the '80s fashion and music and movies. Whereas the '90s were all over the map. Finally enough time has passed from the '90s that we've been able to connect the dots from the early '90s - mid '90s - late '90s and the fashions that go along with it. Now '90s fashion is all the rage.

Musical mantra: Don't underestimate the audience

Favorite DJ experience: Hmmm, too many to name - every Saturday night at the Arrow Bar 2002-2006; WMC with Felix the House Cat and Puff Daddy in 2005 ; this huge festival in Mexico last September--I DJed to 4,000 people and that was a huge rush.

Worst request: I don't really get requests, but I have a really weird, funny story. I was shopping at Green Apple in the 45 section--which I never really buy. I came across a Barry Manilow 45 of "Copacabana" and I thought I have to hear this. I put it on the record player and the intro was actually pretty good, so I bought it on a whim. That night I took it to Beauty Bar and was DJing a little with my friend and--I'm not joking--some random woman came up to me and asked if I had any Barry Manilow. I was like WTF? How did you know? I seriously was tripped out.

Worst club faux pas you've committed: Probably all of them by now.

Most treasured vinyl score: Too many to name. I got couple records from the Black Jazz label at a garage sale. I found tons of rare disco at The Record Rack on 18th St. and all kinds of stuff working at Open Mind Music. John John Friend would turn me on to a new amazing record like everyday.

What other music-related projects are you currently working on? I have a solo record I'm working on with a lot of other talented people. It's still top secret at the moment.

What's something happening in the local music scene that should be getting more attention? Good question, I wish I knew haha. I would say that from the world I've been existing in, there are some really cool party bands doing really cool stuff. Lazer Sword, Wallpaper., Hottub, Public, Tenderlions, etc. It is really cool that hip music shifted to something that is actually danceable, raw, and fun. Like it doesn't need to be intellectual or based on producer wizardry to be cool. I think that is what is cool about music.

What elements would your fantasy club night entail? It already happened. Andrew Burmister's 30th birthday party at his house on 6th St., 2005ish. . .  Not kidding, it was the perfect party. Packed, hot, sweaty, free, drunk, everyone making out with everyone. Like crazier than a movie party scene.

Question we didn't ask you but  you often ask yourself: How did I get here? Answer is usually: Fuck, I don't remember.

Next time we can see you spin: This Saturday July 11th at the Premiere of Club 1992 at 111 Minna - all 90s dance party.

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Ian S. Port

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