Several years ago I was out in Palm Springs at the White Party and decided that I was going to squeeze every last penny out of my $400 Platinum VIP Party Pass.
That meant late Sunday night/early Monday morning, after dancing nonstop at eight previous events since Friday afternoon, I would attend my ninth soiree - the Grand Finale party - at the Marquis Hotel.
It was there that I heard the most incredible afterhours set of progressive tribal house music EVER!
My friends and I were mesmerized and amazed at what we were dancing and listening to, astounded that at the end of such a long weekend we were being energized and propelled across the dance floor in a musical fashion we would never forget.
The DJ who forced us all that night to run out of adjectives and adverbs to describe the aural assault was
While this Los Angeles DJ at the time had a growing fan base on his home turf, he was largely unknown on the national scene.
At least until that night.
Since then he has traveled steadily to all parts of North America as well as to Brazil and Ibiza demonstrating his exceptional skills and abilities. In 2004, he has spun at the Black Party in New York City, the Blue Ball in Philly, and has been to Chicago twice, most recently to DJ the Leather Rites party during IML Weekend.
In addition to his DJing prowess, Paulo has also made a name for himself as a remixer with several chart-topping credits: Pepper MaShay’s “Dive In The Pool”, “I’ve Got My Pride” by Barry Harris, and
“Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” by Thunderpuss.
Amongst his fellow DJs, Paulo is held in high esteem and regard with his private mixes for songs such as Amuka’s “Appreciate Me” and Ceevox’s “Wurking” routinely be included in their sets.
In anticipation of his next appearance in Chicago at Sound-Bar, Sunday, August 22nd, (Event Details
) I set out to talk with Paulo in order to introduce the ChicagoPride.com readers to this unique DJing talent.CP:
You’re not a native Southern California guy; where are you from originally and how has LA become your home?Paulo:
I am from a diplomatic family and was born in Portugal.
I came over to the States when I was 10 years old and lived in the Washington, DC area growing up.
After high school I went back to Europe to attend college, studying to be a businessman.
Upon my return to the U.S. after a few years in Paris and London, I decided to settle in Los Angeles, rather than New York City, primarily because I knew more people out here.CP:
When did you first start DJing?Paulo:
When I was a teenager I would take my weekly allowance money and buy records and then when I was about 16 I bought my first mixer – a Realistic from Radio Shack.
However, DJing was always a bedroom hobby of mine until I went to Europe and friends of mine encouraged me to actually start spinning at parties and in clubs over there.
I was about 18 or 19 years old at the time.CP:
What were your early DJing influences?Paulo:
Actually when I started DJing, the advent of “DJ culture” was years away and thus my influences weren’t actual persons.
Instead it was just the style of music that was popular at the time - that I liked and had access to.
It was mostly the higher-energy dance stuff from groups like Dead or Alive.CP:
Do you have any DJ residencies in LA currently?Paulo:
Yes, I’ve actually got several.
LA is kind of strange in that the big dance clubs here don’t really provide their local DJs with weekly residency opportunities.
It’s not like there in Chicago at Hydrate where someone like Ralphi Rosario has a weekly gig.
Out here I spin the Ego party on Saturday nights, the Reload afterhours party, and then on Sundays at Here.
Like I said, I’m considered a resident at each but only spin at each about once a month or every three weeks or so.
Overall it works out well for me as I do a lot of traveling to various gigs around the country.CP:
You’re known best for a style that’s on the harder, darker, more tribal side of the dance music spectrum.
Listening to you I’d have guessed that you were based out of New York City or Miami.
How have you been able to flourish out there in Southern California with a style that many would ascribe to as more East Coast?Paulo:
I play for the event first and foremost.
While I am known for my progressive and tribal leanings, that reputation was developed spinning at mostly afterhours and underground events.
I very much like vocals – good vocals - and like to play them when appropriate.
I recently spun out on Fire Island during T-dance hours and probably surprised some folks who had only heard me spin the Black Party. In Los Angeles when I spin at Here, it’s on Sunday late in the day/early evening and I generally play lighter stuff, including a lot of what I call classic tracks.CP:
What kind of technical set-up do you like in the your DJ booth?Paulo:
Over the years I’ve gone more and more away from playing vinyl and have pretty much converted to being a CD jock.
Typically when I travel out of town for a gig I take no more than 30 pieces of vinyl and that’s only if I haven’t recorded the tracks to CD yet.
Preferably, I like to have 3 CD players and two turntables in the booth.
I like having the extra CD player available so I can cue up and have ready access to certain pre-recorded effects and acapellas. As for mixers, I do like the rotary ones such as the Rane and the new Allen & Heath.
Whatever the mixer though, it needs to have 3 band equalizer for each channel.CP:
Which record labels and producers over the past year or so seem to be producing the stuff that makes you smile the most?Paulo:
I find that Star 69 really works well for me and I buy just about everything that Stereo Records and Iberican put out.
With regard to particular producers, I’d say Chus & Ceballos, Ralphi Rosario, Angelo Kortez, and Victor Calderone.CP:
What would you consider your break-out moment as a DJ?Paulo:
Probably my performance at the Sunday night after-hours party at the White Party in Palm Springs in 2001.CP:
I was actually there that night and that was an amazing set you had.
It was where I first became aware of you.Paulo:
Yeah, it gave me exposure to quite few people from outside of Southern California.
I actually got five gigs from that one performance.CP:
OK, that was your break-out moment, but has been the highlight moment of your career?Paulo:
Well that night at the White Party was one of them and the other would have to be at the Black Party this past year in New York.
I wasn’t the opener this time around and had the prime time slot.
I got a chance to do some special stuff and it just went really well.CP:
You’ve also had success has a remixer/producer of dance tracks. What’s your philosophy toward a remix project?
Do you try to fit it into a progressive tribal template?Paulo:
I’ve just finished up a project with Inaya Day on a song called “Lifted Up” that will be out later in the fall.
That one, along with a Suzanne Palmer’s “Luv 2 Luv,” which is out now, are good examples of how I approach these things.
First there’s the mix that gets released.
That one I typically try to make with a wide appeal, probably with more of a peak hour sensibility.
Then I’ll usually do another remix for my own personal use that is darker and maybe a bit harder.
I’ll normally hold on to this mix for my afterhours sets and maybe share it with a few other DJ/producer friends of mine.CP:
What are the clubs and/or parties that you’ve never spun at, but are at the top of your wish list?Paulo:
Stereo in Montreal is definitely on my list currently, but I’ll be playing there next month for the first time.
I’m really excited about it because they have such an awesome sound system and because the folks up there are so knowledgeable and sophisticated about their dance music.
The other two on my wish list would be Space in Miami and Roxy in New York.CP:
Any plans to release a mixed compilation CD so more folks can hear what some of us already know about you?Paulo:
I’ve had some preliminary discussions with a few parties over the years and a couple of offers, but nothing has come about.
It’s really not a priority of mine at the moment.
I’m concentrating more on the production aspect of things.CP:
We’re only half way through 2004, and there have been some really big hit songs out so far:
“Lola’s Theme” by the Shapeshifters, “Make Your Move” by Dave Armstrong, and “Cha Cha Heels” by Rosabel.
What has been the song of the year so far in your opinion?Paulo:
None of those actually.
My favorite of the year so far has been a song that’s been on my personal Top 10 playlist for several months now: “Dreams” by Sandy Rivera and Kings of Tomorrow.
It has great male vocals and there’s a Reconstruction mix out that’s fantastic.
DJ Paulo will be making his debut at Sound-Bar in Chicago on Sunday, August 22, 2004. (Event Details