Jeffrey Paradise is still surprised that of all his many musical projects, going back to his nights performing and DJing in The City in the 2000s, it was his daytime disco outfit Poolside that really blew up.
“Poolside was just a project for making the music that I loved that didn’t have a place in the existing musical environment,” says the 40-year-old producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, set to appear for six DJ gigs at St. Helena’s Charles Krug Winery this weekend. “It was DJ music — kind of indie but not totally — that you couldn’t dance to in a club. But that’s the one that really connected with people.”
Paradise says his nostalgic electro-pop is heavily influenced by the disco and classic-rock records his parents played and the Mexican lowrider jams he heard booming from car stereos when he was growing up in San Diego.
After moving to The City in 1999 and playing with electro-rock bands like The Calculators and Paradise Boys, his time spent working at Open Mind Music on Divisadero Street (where he unearthed rare disco and electro albums which fueled his DJ sets at club nights like Frisco Disco and Blow Up) also had an effect on Poolside’s sound.
“I was the only guy in the disco bins in San Francisco, Oakland and Mill Valley in the mid-2000s other than DJ Bus Station John,” says Paradise.
But as club goers began demanding more and more dubstep, a genre Paradise was not a fan of, and The Rickshaw Stop, the home base for Blow Up, was temporarily closed in 2010, the musician and DJ was forced to make the tough decision to leave the scene that supported him as he plotted his next creative step.
That’s when Filip Nikolic, who toured with him as part of Paradise Boys half a dozen years earlier, invited him to Los Angeles to form what would become Poolside.
While the project took root in a recording studio out of a converted L.A. backyard pool house in early 2011, hardworking Paradise says his band name has little to do with lounging by the pool.
“I’ve never talked about this publicly, but it’s not a physical space or necessarily water,” he says. “It’s an aspirational concept: if you can imagine being a kid and thinking about being rich, it was having a pool. It’s about the nuanced desires we may have that a pool or poolside can represent.”
Paradise managed to achieve his initial goals for the band—making music his peers would enjoy and touring the world’s biggest stages—following the releases of 2012’s “Pacific Standard Time” and 2017’s “Heat.”
After Nikolic’s departure later that year, Paradise began writing the more personal and introspective “Low Season” album, which came out in 2020, just before shelter-in-place orders took effect.
The ongoing artistic struggle though, he says, is to maintain his creative vision and continue to make music—like Poolside’s 2020 remix of Billy Idol’s classic “Eyes Without A Face” and collaboration with Foster The People, “Lamb’s Wool,” and new album, the more up-tempo and euphoric “High Season,” due out May 28 — sound equally at home in a club, Chevy Impala lowrider and even a Napa winery after quarantine.
“It feels great to do this thing that was such a core feature of my job that’s been gone for 14 or 15 months,” says Paradise about his upcoming DJ dates. “I’m excited to play music for people in a beautiful setting.”
IF YOU GO: Poolside DJ Set
Where: Charles Krug Winery, 2800 Main St., St. Helena
When: May 21-23
Tickets: $45 to $75