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Poolside’s ‘Daytime Disco’ was Born in LA, but its Heart is in San Francisco

Updated: Aug 15, 2022 10:15
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By Phillip Smith

Poolside 2021 by David Wynn

Poolside 2021 by David Wynn

Need some help fighting off the SF “Fogust” blues? One-time San Francisco resident, Jeffrey Paradise, is bringing the sun-drenched, slow disco sounds of Poolside back to the city this weekend. Poolside is playing two shows, both celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the band’s first album, Pacific Standard Time, this Friday, August 12th, 1015 Folsom in San Francisco, and Saturday, August 13th, Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley.

Whether you’re a long-time Poolside fan, or a newcomer to their sound, it’s likely you’ve already caught wind of the band’s fabled backstory. Two musical collaborators Jeffrey Paradise and Filip Nikolic recorded the first Poolside album in 2012 in a converted pool house in Los Angeles. What you might not know, however, is that much of the band’s unique chillwave and nu disco sound comes from Jeffrey Paradise’s time in San Francisco. 

Paradise joined me by Zoom earlier this week to talk about the upcoming shows, his favorite Bay Area memories and haunts, and the mark that San Francisco left on the Poolside sound. 

A recent Broke-Ass Stuart article asked, “Is Los Angeles Better Than San Francisco?” As someone who moved from San Francisco to LA, what’s your perspective? 

I feel like I love San Francisco more than I love LA. If you find a little niche that works for you in San Francisco, it’s magical. If your rent’s not crazy, you can really have an experience that is like what you might do on vacation in Europe almost every day.

When I lived in San Francisco, I would just wander around the city, go into cafes, chill in parks (like Mr. Hella Chill in Dolores Park). Now, living in LA, I drive an hour to something like it’s no big deal – it’s just normal. If someone was an hour’s ride from me in San Francisco, I’d say ‘we’re not in the same city!’ It would not even be a question if I would go out to Walnut Creek to hang out with someone, ‘no way!’


I had to move to LA because of the music industry, I didn’t want to. I have mixed feelings about LA. It’s been so good to me, I love the people here. And yet, I feel that – at least culturally – San Francisco is so much more exciting. 

Moving to LA, you also forget how fucking weird SF is, and how how much you get used to hearing people talk about stuff like “funding rounds,” “series A,” and so on. The city became a bit of a tech campus, especially The Mission. A lot of my friends work in tech – nothing against that – but it would be like if you went to a neighborhood and it was just all musicians talking about their next album – that would be weird.

Open Mind Music, SF.

San Francisco still has my heart. I was there a year ago and I rode a bike through Golden Gate Park, went to Trouble Coffee, walked out on the beach – and I thought ‘oh my god, this city is so magical.’ It has that special European feel where the quality of life – moment to moment life – is quite good in a pretty unmatchable way.

I read that you worked at a record store called Open Mind Music and that’s where you met different DJs in San Francisco and discovered house music. Is there a version of that reality that exists for young musicians today?

It might not. That was what was so cool about it and I think it really did influence my sound. You’re in the record shop and it was like ‘oh, this hip hop DJ is here,’ or this mainstream top 40 DJ, or this person that only likes DJ Premier, and then the deep house people are here, and then the jazz heads are coming in. And they’re all saying ‘hey, have you heard this record?’ and so you listen to it because you’re talking to people you respect who are really into their stuff. It was a melting pot of creativity.

In a way, I think Spotify could be something like that now. If you wanted to discover music back then, there was nothing like that, and there was no YouTube at that time either. People would tell you about a record – the verbal description would sound amazing! – but you had no idea what it sounded like until you actually found the record. 

I don’t think I would have discovered the depth of knowledge of music that I was exposed to if I wasn’t living in that world. I got paid literally $6 an hour and just liked to hang out there. You got half price on records, so you had some benefits, but it was actually literally six bucks an hour. And I could make it work because this was early to mid-2000s and El Farolito was where I ate lunch, and then Cafe La Boheme right next to El Farlito had a special – $2 for a bagel and a coffee – and that was breakfast, and then El Farolito again for dinner.

Can you share with us a memorable moment from the Frisco Disco hay day? 

This is a bit of an illicit story, but for Broke-Ass Stuart I’ll tell it.

Frisco Disco drew a very mixed crowd, but still it was kind of your typical [straight] hipster thing. For Gay Pride, I’d ask Bus Station John, a San Francisco fixture, to DJ the party. Bus Station John decided to bring his usual visuals to the show. So people walked in to see this huge projection of 1970s gay porn up on the walls and it was a great way to force people out of their comfort zones.

We also did a lot of dancing on the bar back then. Things that probably should never have happened for safety reasons. (Dancing on the bar this Friday night at 1015 Fulsom is unlikely, Paradise confirmed.)

I could talk about that era forever, but it was a really cool time where it felt like dance music was kind of taboo in the U.S., especially if you were an indie rocker. So we were really part of this early movement – we had no idea that it would be something worth talking about – we were these indie kids playing dance music and it felt very fresh and novel at the time. It was a very exciting time musically – a lot of discovery and breaking new ground. 

What music are you excited about right now, outside of Poolside? 

I’ve been a little obsessed with Mike Posner lately. He’s not typical of stuff I like, but I’ve been listening to the album that Posner put out during the pandemic album, Operation: Wake Up.  It’s a narrative album and all the songs tell a story from start to finish, and it’s so well done. It’s great storytelling and great songwriting.

Pearl Charles is an artist that I’ve been listening to lately. Lloyd Banks’ new album – it’s hard hitting the way that hip hop used to feel. Immasoul – I like her a lot, she’s really dope. Roosevelt, who did a Poolside remix recently, I’ve been exploring his full catalog. Channel Tres – his vibe, like Nate Dogg, just works on any song.

How does 2022 feel compared to 2020? How does it feel to be playing in San Francisco again? 

It feels worlds away. It’s so complicated because, in some sense, the world was on pause. So it seems like a continuation, but on the other side. I went through periods of thinking Poolside might be over because the economics of not doing music and being a musician was not easy. For about 12 months, it was frightening, and my business manager was saying ‘you can’t spend money.’

May 2021 until now it’s been great, however. It’s night and day and it feels like, somehow, the Poolside project even grew in scope over the pandemic.

What can fans expect at this weekend’s shows? 

We’re doing a hybrid set, so it will be me deejaying, but we’re bringing a saxophonist, a vocalist, a guitarist – I’m also going to play guitar and sing – and the rest will be a DJ set.

It’s easier to fly in with this arrangement knowing that if somebody’s sick, or can’t make it, it doesn’t cancel the whole show, it just shifts it slightly, so that’s what we’re doing both 1015 Folsom and Charles Krug in Napa.

It’ll be a little more ‘live’ in Napa, simply because 1015 Folsom is such a classic DJ environment.

What’s next for Poolside?

Musically, there are more Harvest Moon remixes coming before the end of the year. We’ll have four in total. There are also a couple of original songs, I don’t know when they’re going to come out, if not this fall then early 2023.

Then I’m working on a new album. It’s going to be pretty long – a proper LP like Pacific Standard Time – at least 16 new tracks or more. That will come out at some point in 2023. I have a ton of songs that are all in the almost done phase, but sometimes almost done is really only halfway done in terms of the overall work.

You can celebrate 10 years of Pacific Standard Time with Poolside this Friday, August 12th at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco or Saturday, August 13th at Charles Krug Winery in Napa Valley. Tickets available here.


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Phillip Smith

Phillip Smith

A Canadian transplant to the Bay Area, Phillip is obsessed with music — capturing it on film, writing about it, and experiencing it.

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