Lee Paradise: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Driving basslines and spooky organs backing up a troubled man.
File next to: Freaky Circus, Speed Racer, Dusk Time
Playing: WL 619 – Saturday Sept. 27 @ Handlebar

Not being fans of boring journalistic objectivity, Wavelength asked April Aliermo to interview her Hooded Fang/Phèdre/Tonkapuma bandmate Dan Lee about his new solo-ish project, Lee Paradise. Take it away, April….

I’ve known Daniel for over 10 years. He works fast and hard, writing and recording most songs in one to three days. Last year he was having a tumultuous time, and he wrote and recorded Water Palace Kingdom in a week. I felt like a proud Mom when his project HUT came out, but was next-level proud when Lee Paradise came out. With this project, Daniel creates music that is stylistically different from his other projects. Lee Paradise is a bit darker and perhaps Krautrock influenced, but is somehow still catchy Daniel Lee.

Lee Paradise is a great name. What is your idea of Paradise?

Thank you. My paradise could look many different ways. It could be hanging out with my good friends and fam, eating lobster, eating pizza. It could be everybody in the world getting along and even enjoying themselves. It would definitely be more bike lanes in Toronto, and a safer environment for bikers to traverse the busy streets. It could also be me stuck on a desert island that is populated by only mangoes, myself, and a super hot woman, and we have sex all day long, listening to good tunes.

So Kristina from Planet Creature, Colin from Blonde Elvis and our Hooded Fang guitar player Lane backs you up in this band. Which one would you marry, which one would you fuck and which one would you kill?

What a great question, April! I would definitely marry and have sex with all of them. Lane and I have already tried to kill each other on past tours, so that’s out of the way. We are basically brother-lovers now. And Kristina and Colin I would only kill because they are too cute.

One of your songs talks about “pissing in the sink.” I’ve totally seen you do that before. Why do you piss in the sink and how often do you think you do that?

I have pissed in sinks on a few occasions, most likely because someone was on the toilet already and I really had to go. Probably I was intoxicated. I don’t remember the exact times or locations.

Ya I think I was on the toilet all the times I’ve seen you do that. Would you rather drink your own pee for $50 or drink a stranger’s pee for $500?

$500 please! Taking offers now!

You’re always reading books and comics on tour. Which ones are your favourites lately?

I took a little break from comics recently. But to name a few, Michael Deforge is a wonderful writer and artist. Patrick Kyle, as well. They are both Toronto-based, and also play in Creep Highway together, who I had the pleasure of recording. I pick up some old Love and Rockets sometimes from Beguiling, ‘cuz I like the colour covers and there are usually some stories that I haven’t read yet. Also, a lot of small-run or hand printed stuff. I also am into old Wolverine and X-Men comics, the ones written by Chris Claremont, they are fun to read. Buddy Bradley (Hate) was a big phase. I am by no means a comics expert, but I love the format and storytelling and artwork. The last book that I read was Cement, by Feodor Gladkov, about post-revolution Russia. It informed me a lot about Russian pride of country and certain aspects of the Communist revolution there.

It can be pretty tricky to find the private time and space to masturbate on tour. I am pretty good at it though. What is your secret to keeping up with me?

Honestly, I don’t masturbate as much on tour as I have in the past. Maybe I’m getting old. But I’ve done it pretty much everywhere you can think of! These days, I usually save it for when I am “taking a nap” when we have some downtime.

You started off playing drums as a kid, then got really into DJing and making hip-hop beats as a teenager and then started songwriting in your early 20’s. Now DJing is making a comeback in your life. Who are some artists you like to spin lately?

Yes, I am happy to be DJing again! I love ghetto stuff like DJ Hurricane, DJ Assault, DJ Nasty, DJ Deeeon, older stuff from Detroit, Chicago and Philly, Miami stuff, etc. really uptempo party jams. Also, there’s some newer artists like I’m into as well. Faster tech house etc, juke, whatnot. I really only want to DJ jams that people have to dance to. Not much of a bar DJ, TBH.

What is it about these crazy beats that you love so much?

I love how infectious they are to people’s bodies. The insane BPM and repetition force people bodies to take over from their minds. I feel the same about punk, reggae, Afrobeat, hip hop. They just take over and make you want to dance.

I’m sorry about that time we didn’t get to see DJ Rashad because we had some show and I was like, “Oh don’t worry, there will be other times,” and then two days later he died. WTF?! How was it DJing Henri Faberge’s Bath Salts party in Berlin, in the same basement that DJ Rashad once played?

It turned out that Rashad didn’t end up playing that Toronto show. But yes, the whole thing was unfortunate, and RIP Rashad. The Bath Salts party in Berlin at Normal Bar was hilarious and the best time ever. The owner there said that he took Spinn and Rashad to Berghain two days after they had headlined, but they got refused at the door because the three of them were too far gone. Which is kind of hilarious.

Lee Paradise is your one project that I have zero involvement in. When will you let me be your drummer?

You have to use fried chicken drumsticks from Jerk King — then, of course!

– Interview by April Aliermo