Q&A: STRFKR & Jeffrey Paradise Ready for Summertime Radness

This Sunday, STRFKR and Jeffrey Paradise will take to the decks at the Phoenix Hotel for an epic pool party dubbed “Summertime Radness.” We sat down with Jeffrey Paradise, half of Poolside, and Josh Hodges of STRFKR to talk about their music, their favorite drinks and their expectations for Sunday’s vibes.

This is the 3rd edition of Summertime Radness. How did this pool party come about and how did you guys get involved?

JP: Noah, AKA DJ Dials, is the point person/organizer for this event. A year ago someone asked me to do this event and I couldn’t, so Noah took it over and did a few of them. He brought me on board for this summer’s edition. DJ dials and I worked on a lot of stuff together. I used to throw these Blow Up parties, a weekly event up in SF and we had a lot of back and forth working in the same scene/area. I have a lot of respect for what he does.

JH: I’m not sure, (laughs) it could be through Keil our drummer or through our agent Avery who has a lot of relationships up in SF. Either way SF is one of our best cities. There are only a handful of cities like Portland, SF, NYC and Chicago that feel like a home away from home. But SF and Portland are two of the best for us. We’ve played so many different venues and festivals there; it’s just a great city where we all have lots of friends.

Both Poolside and STRFKR play as a live band some of the time and just do DJ sets sometimes. Which is more fun?

JP: You know I get asked this question frequently. The honest truth is that when we’ve been playing in the band a lot, it’s really refreshing to have a DJ gig, and vice versa. It’s a lot more rewarding to play live with a group of friends, create music together and get feedback from the audience. But it’s also a lot of work and a lot more of a challenge to coordinate. It gets pretty tiring to tour with the band, but with DJing you just have to show up with your headphones and your USB. That’s not to downplay DJing; it’s an art and really great, but each performance style has its pros and cons. I usually miss one when I’m doing the other.

JH: They’re totally different. Playing live is definitely more fun and more interesting, but DJing is fun in a totally different way. It’s great to get to relax and not have to think of all the little things that could go wrong with playing all the parts. It’s also a different experience in that you’re there enjoying the music with the crowd instead of creating it for them. I love doing DJ sets. I usually get to drink a little bit more which is always a plus.

Josh, STRFKR often straddles the line between dance music and alternative, beach rock. Can you talk about the beginnings of that creative tension?

JH: When I first started the project a long ass time ago, it was sort of all based on this one Blonde Redhead song that I really liked. It had a disco beat. I liked the idea of that song where it was a really fun song but it still had a stronger kick drum on the beat.

A little background: I don’t really like to go dancing at a club, but a lot of my friends do. I would rather just listen to music. But I like songs with dance beats. I was thinking about friends coming to shows in Portland back in the day, and I thought the music needed a solid beat so my friends could dance at the shows but I could still play music I liked. For people like me, it can feel like an actual song without the structure of a dance song. So I tried to capture the best of both worlds.

Jeffrey, got anything awesome coming up on the horizon here in SF?

JP: Poolside has been tirelessly working on our second album. We’ve decided we want to slow down with that a bit and take some time off. So I put the word out that I was available for some SF stuff. I’m playing with Cut Copy at Mezzanine soon, and DJ Dials and I are gonna do another pool party in August. I live in LA now but still have a presence in SF and am usually up there at least once a month.

What do you hope the vibe will be like on Sunday?

JP: I think it’s a really special to be able to do parties at the Phoenix Hotel. No matter what the weather is, it’s always a fun vibe out there. It’s also really cool to bring talent that you wouldn’t normally see at a pool party. There’s no stage, no nothing. Just people having fun with really good DJs in the Tenderloin, so I just think it’s gonna be awesome.

JH: Well it’s gonna be a poolside event which sounds pretty great to me. I hope it’s really chill. I’ve never done a poolside DJ set before. I think both Keil and I are pretty excited about that.

If people this Sunday want to buy you guys a drink, what should it be?

JP: Definitely tequila blanco.

JH: I like beer – local craft beer is the best. I’d say an Anchor Steam. But Keil likes whiskey.