Dorothea Paas: The WL Interview

Purveyor of: DIY bedroom pop
File next to: Beat Happening, The Weather Station
Playing: Wavelength Monthly: Tess Roby w/ Bernice and Dorothea Paas, Saturday April 21st at 918 Bathurst. Get your tickets here!
Dorothea Paas is one of Toronto’s best-loved creators of DIY bedroom pop, with a sound that reminds that spring is actually an inevitability. The singer/songwriter is now playing with an all-star four-piece band, including Paul Saulnier (PS I Love You), Mark Streeter, and Kritty Uranowski (Patti Cake). They’re performing as part of Tess Roby’s album release festivities this Saturday April 21 at 918 Bathurst, and for this show, we asked the three artists on the bill to interview each other for the Wavelog! Bernice’s Robin Dann tracked down Dorothea Paas to talk about lovingly growing a vegetable garden, fond city memories, and the joy of podcasts.

Do you have a green thumb? Explain.
Even though I’ve killed an embarrassing number of house plants, I have had a successful vegetable garden for three years now. I’m lucky to have a backyard where I can plant all kinds of things. When garden season comes, it’s all I think about. It gives deep meaning and joy to my life. I refer to the tomatoes and sunflowers as my children. I have not been one to want a pet or a baby but the sunflowers are my sons. Please talk to me and my sons again.

What did you do for your birthday in grade 6 (or any birthday around that age)?
Growing up in the east end, I used to do a stock thing every birthday: have people over to my house, make our own loot bags using brown paper bags and candy from bulk barn, go to Ashbridges Bay beach, wade into the water (or swim if you were brave), and play in the sand.

What’s your current comfort zone (interpret that however you like)?
My current comfort zone is… podcasts. I have never been an avid podcast listener, but I used to work in community radio, so maybe there’s some connection there. Lately my mind has felt heavy, the end of winter feels really hard, and podcasts play a certain role in keeping me functioning as I go place to place. They get me out of my house to work, they help me laugh and keep my brain thinking and processing when it wants to spiral out. I love The Read, Bodega Boys, and Where Should We Begin.

Do your feet get stinky? Explain.
I feel I am a moderately stinky person, I have a fairly average amount of Body Odour, but I believe it is not unpleasant… I don’t mind the smell of bodies. We are stuck with them forever and that’s the way it is.

What’s one thing you love and one thing you’d change about Toronto?
Having lived here forever, I feel a deep comfort here, but at the same time, the more I grow and learn about the limitations of my own experience and upbringing, I realize what a small fragment of the city my experience encompasses. I feel no matter how long I live here, there will always be things I don’t know and histories I haven’t heard. In this way I feel I’m in a deep and long-term relationship with the city, and I’m grateful to always be learning from my friends and people I meet here about what the city means to them. What would I change? One thing is that I would echo what many artists have talked about in terms of making it more possible to live as an artist in the city. I’m very sad seeing venues closing and people move away from the city because they can’t afford it. Specifically, I want to see more government arts funding and support for rap and R&B artists in Toronto who have been historically underfunded.

P.S. you can also read Bernice’s Wavelog interview here.