Sinical Magazine Interview with DEAD P.A. - Decade of Dead P.A.
DJs have long been held as the primary foot soldiers in Electronic dance music (EDM) culture but there are those that perform the same pulsing club rhythms with synthesizers, samplers, live drums/drum machines, and live vocals. Since 2003, DEAD P.A. has set the pace for frenetic dancefloor music simultaneously delivering high energy stage performances across the country. This January marks the ten year anniversary of the band's kickoff. Sinical Magazine had the chance to sit with Jason of DEAD P.A. for a chat.
Sinical Magazine: After nearly a decade, what fuels the engine for DEAD P.A.?
Jason: For me, the thrill has always been in performing live. Feeling in the moment and interacting with the music and audience is pretty intoxicating but that motivation goes back long before DEAD P.A. even started.
Sinical Magazine: If that feeling persists after all this time, what, if anything has changed over the years? Is DEAD P.A. still the same act it was in 2003?
Jason: Lots of superficial things have changed or gone through cycles but I've always felt that the coolest thing about DEAD P.A. is that it can be what ever we want it to be. That core premise has never really changed and it's allowed us to mix genres and have fun in different roles live and in studio. I couldn't see myself stuck in just one role when I could otherwise play lead kazoo over any genre of music if I damn well wanted. On small timescales things can have a similar feel. Since we play our own music we may have a catalogue of 30 songs at any given show to pick from while a DJ will have limitless choices. It can make series of shows feel similar but I find that it isn't always necessarily a string of songs that makes a show stand out in my memory but the wacky unexpected things that happen - good or bad. Those unexpected moments may feel like a product of dream logic but they define and stick with you.
Sinical Magazine: They stick with you as inspiration?
Jason: Sure, they inspire and are both profound and humbling.
Sinical Magazine: Any crowning moments come to mind?
Jason: I guess it's the absurd that springs to mind first. After a set we played in Alabama, I was dancing onstage during the set of a DMC Champion turntablist and like an idiot I rattled the stage trying to do the Kid N'Play dance - which made the record skip in front of nearly a thousand people. I believe it was during that same show that we had a woman come up to us and tell us that "Burn the Fucker Down" was her 5 year old son's favorite song. On one ocassion while touring we somehow ended up as extras in the Dandy Warhols' video for the song Talk Radio. We spent half the day watching this older guy spank a younger scantily clad actress portraying his daughter in the video. The rest of the day was shot walking on the streets holding boom boxes. I ended up in about two seconds of the video in the final cut
Sinical Magazine: What about the profound moments?
Jason: In 2007 I was diagnosed with brain cancer and we had to cancel a number of shows. I was going to undergo brain surgery and there really wasn't any certainty as to how it was going to come out. There were two events that we didn't cancel purely out of wishful thinking. The first show was in Miami during the Winter Music conference and to date is the only DEAD P.A. show that I didn't perform in. The second was a rave in the Mojave desert that ended up coinciding with my first month of chemotherapy pills. It was a two and a half hour drive from LAX then I played my ass off for an hour and then puked my guts out. It was probably a dumb thing to do given the circumstances but I have no regrets.
Sinical Magazine: How do you feel about the recent surge of EDM into the mainstream and dubstep in particular?
Jason: I don't get wound up about ownership of EDM culture too much if that's what you're getting at. If you wait ten minutes it will change anyway. I suppose a lot of people like saying they heard a song first to the exclusion of other groups but if you follow that that thread of logic back to the person who actually heard it first, the producer, they're probably not complaining about lots of people liking it. The upside of any form of music going mainstream is that it usually ends up mutating or fostering new generations to fuse it with something else. Dubstep's popularity kind of surprised me in that I never thought it would be as accessible to mass audiences as it turned out to be, but what do I know? DEAD P.A. has it's share of dubstep tunes but we pledge loyalty to no single genre. Am I outraged Skrillex got a Grammy? No.
Sinical Magazine: What do you think about the new wave of multi-genre live electronica acts similar to yours that have entered the limelight in the past several years?
Jason: I'm all for it. It was really just a matter of time before EDM really began accepting live oriented performances of this nature given the flexibility of technology today but we all have pretty distinctive personalities just the same. Dead P.A. wasn't the first live p.a. to incorporate live percussion, vocals, guitar, and costumes into a show. Rabbit in the Moon had a full drum kit for some shows as did Uberzone.
Sinical Magazine: The upcoming shows DEAD P.A. will showcase a new member in the lineup?
Jason: Yes! Jordan Kolar is now on the frontlines. The guy is an amazing producer and has some dance moves to boot. He's done a lot of production and remixes under the name Soundami for a dance crew called IAmMe out of Los Angeles. He actually appeared in an IAmMe performance as an "astronaut DJ" on the TV show America's Best Dance Crew. I'm psyched for our upcoming shows.