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Poolside: Bringing warm sunny vibes to Portland

By ANTHONY PIDGEON // Poolside is bringing their beachy indie soul to the Wonder Ballroom on February 1st, and officially giving you permission to have FUN! Jeff Paradise says, “One of the things I’ve always taken a lot of pleasure in is bringing joy
I spoke with Poolside’s co-founder, producer, frontman, and spiritual advisor Jeff Paradise earlier this month about the origins of Daytime Disco, the creative process behind their new album Blame It All On Love, and his fondness for Portland.
The Poolside sound has its roots in Jeff’s upbringing in sunny San Diego, absorbing the sounds of low-riders cruising the beach pumping out old school jams, and DJs spinning Freestyle at Aquarius roller rink. 
Jeff Paradise: One of the main early influences of Poolside was South Mission Beach in the 90s. Low Riders cruising through, bumping oldies, beachy soul, and Latin music. And not just Latin music, but also the music that Latin people in San Diego were into; straight up oldies and soul classics. It’s the original blueprint of the Poolside sound
Exploring various music scenes, he played in indie and hardcore bands for a time, all the while secretly indulging in his “guilty pleasures” of hip hop, dance, and disco music.
Moving to San Francisco for college, he began DJ-ing, and within a year was hosting popular residencies and parties including Blow Up and Frisco Disco, winning SF weekly’s DJ of the Year award in 2005, just 3 years after learning the ropes. 
Jeff Paradise: I was this Indie kid who could mix records. There was this little moment where everything I was doing kind of just worked. It happened really quick once I started DJ-ing.
Poolside came together as a band as a result of intuitively combining his love of live music and DJ-ing, without necessarily concerning himself with whether it would hit big or not.
Jeff Paradise: I’ve always been into live music, and incorporating live elements into my DJ sets. I would create side project bands with friends to play my own parties, like 25-30 minute sets between DJ sets. Starting little side projects has always been there. With Poolside it was like ‘Im just going to do what Ive always loved’. I just gave myself the freedom to do what I love without thinking.”
The first Poolside albums, with co-founder Filip Nikolic (Junior Senior) were largely inspired by the idea to take the essence of dance music and slow it down to a more laid back groove.
Jeff Paradise: The idea with Poolside in a way was taking house and dIsco and slowing it down. Even Chillout still felt kind of fast to me. It was a unique thing. It wasn’t like downtempo necessarily, it was like 'lets approach dance music and disco and slow it way down and see how that is’. It’s basically slowed down dance music, and then we added that kind of soulful oldies vibe to it.
Though it felt “too slow to dance to” it contained the essence of something that resonated with them, and with many others, much to his surprise.
Jeff Paradise: I was never expecting, 'ok this is gonna take off'. It was gonna be a bedroom project that I loved doing. And of course that’s the one that works, the one I love. And 11 years later, people are still loving it.
Along the way, he coined the term “Daytime Disco”, which has since become a genre of its own. When asked about how how came up with the term, how he defines it, and how it continues to evolve, he explained:
Jeff Paradise: The idea was like ok, disco song titles and lyrics are so much about nightlife, night time, the club, and its kind of the same spirit but its daytime, so I was just like ‘shit, daytime disco has a really nice ring to it’, so that was how it happened. It’s just a love of dance music, and the blueprint of dance music is disco in a lot of ways. When we came up with the idea I never really anticipated ever talking about it. It was just like a random idea, and in some ways it’s kind of like its own genre now that exists in the world outside of Poolside. It felt like this perfect title, especially for the first 2 records. Now it’s really just been the process of expanding what Daytime Disco could be, so it doesn’t completely upend the concept of the genre, but it also doesn’t sound stale. It’s growing the sound. It used to be a little more narrow, but 4 records in, we’re just making cool vibes. If it’s got the right vibe, its Daytime Disco.
Poolside’s latest release, Blame It All On Love, combines the much-loved elements of their laid back, groove oriented flow with more indie, soul, and freestyle roots, a result of his urge to return to a more organic songwriting process. 
Jeff Paradise: I’d stay its a little more of an indie record in the sense in that it’s kind of like that indie sound, indie dancey kind of music I’ve always been writing. Poolside in certain ways was a deviation away from that, and this new album sort of encapsulates more of my music stylings over the years into one. It’s more integrated in the way that this is more what I sound like than what Poolside sounds like. Up until this record it was like I was making a Poolside record, and this time I’m making a record that’s just “this is a Jeff record”
The process itself was an exercise in returning to what he loved about making music as a kid; the process of simply playing some chords and seeing what happens, rather than programming an elaborate track. 
Jeff Paradise: Songwriting feels more organic than tracking, getting back to the edginess and nuance of just going into a room with a guitar and seeing what happens”. This time I went back to the mindset of ‘let me pick up an instrument and start playing’, the same way I did when I first started wring music in my bedroom at my parents house in San Diego. And I was not thinking, ‘oh this’ll probably work’. It was almost like an exercise in ‘what happens?', because I’d gotten so into electronic music, where you’re programming beats, arpeggiators, synths. It’s a little more methodical in a way to make electronic music. It’s not just ‘let’s strum a chord here’. I was just like 'what would happen if I just went back to my parents bedroom and started writing?’, and I wrote all the songs on the album, So it was a return to just writing songs in a very unthoughtful way, with no ambition. It isn’t obviously Poolside, there’s a lot more going on, a lot more nuance, a lot more edginess, a lot of things Poolside hasn’t done up until this record.
Despite the potential pitfalls of coining a term that spawned a genre of its own, he remains inspired by the creative process of examining the redefining the concept of what Daytime Disco is, and what it could be.
Jeff Paradise: It could be limiting, but I haven’t allowed it to be. That’s part of my creative endeavor: to expand what that can mean, without expanding it so much that it means nothing. It used to be a little more narrow, but 4 records In, we’re just making cool vibes. If it’s got the right vibe, its Daytime Disco. One of the things I’ve always taken a lot of pleasure in is bringing joy and giving permission to have fun.
This show will be Poolside’s first in Portland since opening for Tycho at The Schnitzer in September of 2019, and they’ve been looking forward to returning.
Jeff Paradise: I love Portland. It’s always been a city I’d consider moving to, which in the US is a pretty small list. And I love biking cities. When I get a chance I always like to rent a city bike, or when there’s space I try to bring one on tour. I like how Portland feels. I feel like I’m in the cool neighborhood in a bigger city, but it’s like all of Portland is that to me. It has more personality. Im a big fan of Portland.”
The current Poolside lineup also includes longtime members Vitto Roccoforte and Matty Safer (who also comprise the rhythm section of The Rapture), and rounded out by Brijean Murphy (Toro y Moi) and Casey Butler (Pharaohs).
Poolside on the turntable, stage, or dance floor is a great way to shrug off the winter blues & blahs, and shake some booty. Take their new record for a spin, then check them out live at the Wonder Ballroom Feb 1st
Interview, story, and photos © Anthony PIdgeon / www.AnthonyPidgeon.com
Photos from Poolside’s performance at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, September 7, 2019


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