Tuesday, April 19, 2005

DJ Paul V

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First of all, how the devil are you & what are you up to these days?

I'm really happy, excited, & doing great! Still doing all my club events (DJ-ing & VJ-ing), & writing my bi-monthly music reviews. The biggest news has been getting my mash picks & my 30-minute "Smash Mix" on Indie 103.1 radio here in LA. That heaps on some extra pressure to come up with a "smashing" new mix every week, but I ain't complaining! It's a dream come true. Indie 103.1 is just an amazing radio station to be a part of.

So what are the tunes that have been ringing in your head lately?

I have to admit I'm a sucker for the new "new wave" bands. I was around for the original wave (Gang Of Four is one of my all-time fave bands) & I played all those bands in the clubs in the early '80s. I'm really digging Futureheads, Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs et al. (XTC deserves some royalties, baby) And man, the new LCD Soundsystem is mind-blowingly great.

Can you list out five of your all-time favourite albums?

Yikes...that's like asking me what was my favourite breath was. But ok, I'll go for it:

The The - Soul Mining
One of most tuneful, poignant, brilliant records ever made.

Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking
Pure adrenaline, & a real moment in time for me.

Prince - Dirty Mind
This helped me add funk & grooves to my rock fandom.

The Pretenders - Pretenders
A coming of age record for me. Chrissie = genius.

U2 - Boy
See Pretenders. These songs hold up completely. Another amazing debut.

When was the last time you bought a record that was groundbreaking? Where did you buy it?

I'll tell ya - these days that is SO rare. Just give me anything by Patti Smith, Public Enemy, Roxy Music, or LCD Soundsystem (which I just bought at my local mom & pop shop).

Which artiste, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be?

Pablo Picasso. Because he wasn't an asshole. And he was Italian too - and Italians rule, baby. Capiche? By the way, the "V." stands for a beautiful Italian last name that everyone butchers when trying to pronounce it. And no, I won't tell you what it is...But...it means "long life" in English.

Can you recall any embarrassing or bizarre moments during your entire DJ-ing career? Give us the juicy details!!!

This will always be etched in my mind: My first DJ gig, at an 18+ dance/rock club in Boston. These kids were i-n-s-a-n-e...& horny. I can't tell you how many girls I saw getting boned on the pinball machine in the dark corner outside the DJ booth! And of course, any time some drunk shithead slams into the booth & skips your tune - or drops his/her drink on your equipment. I've actually stopped the music & gone on the mic to say: "Well, there was another asshole skipping my record!"

It's a well-known fact that you DJ in drag. What do you think is the greatest convenience being in drag?

You're kidding, right? I only DJ in drag because it's attached to what we created with that one particular club (Dragstrip 66). Since our mantra for our patrons has always been "Come dressed in drag for the theme!" - me & my club partner do it EVERY month to participate & set the example. But if there was a convenience, it's being able to grab a guy's crotch or ass without any tension. Of course, they forget *I* have a dick at that moment too...

In your opinion, what is the most misunderstood fact about drag queens?

That they somehow ruin the "masculine gay man's" image or cruising experience. In reality, that freedom of expression only heightens any party, because it assures a sense of humor & camaraderie & makes it all less SERIOUS. Plus - lest ANYONE forget that it was drag queens who stood up to the homophobia & police harrassment in NYC in 1969, thus starting the modern gay rights movement. Rock on, sisters!

What is the most ridiculous rumour you've heard about you?

That I'm a Republican who doesn't believe George W. Bush is a murderer, a thief, & the most dangerous man alive on the planet right now. All I can say is: Where's Lee Harvey Oswald when you really need him?

The First of DJ Paul V:

First film that gave you the creeps = Jaws
First sexual encounter that involved a music album = Totally drawing a blank here
First book you read that set you tripping = And I Don't Want To Live This Life (The Nancy Spungeon Story)
First concert you went to that was life-changing = David Cassidy, then KISS
First mash-up you heard that turned you on to the whole bootleg bizzness = Like just about everyone else - Freelance Hellraiser's - "A Stroke Of Genie-Us"

Interestingly, you've mentioned that you used to work with Porno For Pyros. Care to share with us some of the wildest tales? Humour us please...

I wish there was more humour in the story! While I love Perry with all my heart, at the time, he (& every person involved with PFP) were completely gacked on drugs - hard, harsh drugs. Only Steve Perkins (drummer) basically just got stoned - he was always easy to deal with. Worst story is Perry missing his LA-to-NYC flight to play Woodstock '94. He somehow ended up in San Francisco with his insane girlfriend (crackhead), & had to charter his own flight to NYC, arriving within hours of us having to leave for the gig. We were all freaking out over it.

What is the greatest pain as well as the biggest joy running a radio show that champions mash-ups?

The biggest joy is the joy we all share - that moment when someone hears that brilliant vision of putting music together so creatively. There really isn't a pain - except when you try to explain what a mashup is to someone who hasn't heard one yet. It's sort of like trying to explain what an orgasm feels like to a virgin?

In your opinion, what are the factors that make a good mash-up?

Obviously, they gotta be technically smooth (timing/tuning etc.), but I think the best ones are where the mixer heard how similar chords matched, or structure, & I always gravitate towards the mashes that f**k with each genre's audience (without resorting to a damn rap vocal). GHP's "Ray Of Gob" is one of the zeniths on that level.

Describe your ultimate bootleg fantasy involving RuPaul, Dsico, David Hasselhoff & Cartel Mike. C'mon, give it your best shot...

Cartel Mike samples Dsico's groans from his date with RuPaul & her strap-on, & makes a jazz-fusion techno loop out of the sounds of David Hasselhoff burning his pubic hairs.

Let's play word association. We mention a name & you give us your thoughts...

Frenchbloke = Extremely broad & diverse tastes in the left of center stuff. Love it!
Carmen Electra = Very sweet, actually. And went from being a joke to a star.
Divine = Fearless. A legend. An original. An inspiration.
BitTorrent = I haven't a clue...
Billy Corgan = Some great songs & melodies - usually drowning in that whiny voice.
The Arcade Fire = Completely warranted hype.
Soundhog = See Divine. He's someone I'd love to meet.
Flip The Switch = Um...& the light goes on?
Jesus = The most exploited fictional character ever used to rationalize killing & oppression.
Madonna = Unstoppable...even when she kinda sucks.

Which genre of music do you consider the most "under-used" in bootlegs? Why?

Probably Nuggets-era garage rock, or 60's/70's rock in general, 'cuz those live drummers were most likely high & their timing can be a bitch.

What do you remember about the following years:

1983 = Meeting Stevie Nicks & Robert Plant - she's tiny, he's a giant!
1987 = My DJ career hitting amazing heights in Boston, thus being hired by Warner Records.
1994 = Quitting Warner, managing bands, buying my house, a big earthquake, & the OJ trial
1999 = Thrilled that the rightwing zealots couldn't take down Clinton.
2002 = Discovering 2 things: Mashups (great!), the Bush administration Jihad (very bad!)...

What's your favourite Saturday night record?

Dandy Warhols - "Bohemian Like You". The only people not dancing to this are either on the toilet taking a dump, passed out, or 6-feet-under.

And your Sunday morning one?

Groove Armada - Vertigo

Complete the following sentences:

I describe myself as...honest, hard-working, polite to a fault, yet 100% bullheaded Taurus.

Music changed me by...keeping me young with the joy of daily discovery. And making me realize that everyone is touched by music, with no labels attached.

When it comes to vices...mine is smoking. I never hit the booze or drugs hard. I'm in the middle of quitting cigs as we speak, actually.

The last time I cried was...the end of a recent relationship. And when my mom passed [away].

My most treasured possession is...my imagination, & my dog Lulu.

If I have any regrets...it's not doing remixes or putting my ear/talents to even better use at a much younger age. And not making my OWN mashes yet! They're on the way tho...

When we die...our souls leave a beautiful impact, but that's it. End of the ride, folks.

Lastly, I'd like to be remembered as...a huge fan of music who was lucky enough to stumble into a career where I can give joy to people with the POWER of all kinds of music. And being a gay guy who refused to accept the dreck & shit music that most gay clubs play, so I created my own places to entertain people - gay & straight - who felt the same way. And I will brag a little: my club Dragstrip 66 is the longest running underground event in LA (maybe anyplace?). All word of mouth & no advertising for 12+ years now. And next year is my 25th anniversary of DJ-ing. I'll be the first to admit I'm blessed by all this.

You can download DJ Paul V's Smash Mix series here (the mixes are also available via Culture Deluxe here), or visit his site here. Meanwhile, you can also check out Indie 103.1FM here.