Wax’o Paradiso are no stranger to lengthy stints in the booth. The Naarm (Melbourne) based party, helmed by DJs Edd Fisher and Simon TK, has long established itself as a destination for all night long sets. A nomadic venture, the parties — which are always open-air — take place in different spaces across the city, from amphitheatres and train yards to rooftop gardens and shipping container bars. Opting for quality over quantity, the pair only throw a handful of events a year during Australia’s warmer months, putting the focus on sound and the relationship with their loyal following — it’s no wonder they describe it as their ‘happy place and favourite place to play in the world’.
Earlier this year they branched out beyond events with the launch of their eponymous record label. Starting life with an EP from fellow Aussies OK EG (we nabbed a premiere of ‘Golden Hour‘), the imprint serves as a space for hi-fidelity, cerebral sounds that are inspired and shaped by landscapes and natural surroundings.
With Melbourne being one of the worst places hit in terms of lockdowns, Edd and Simon hadn’t seen each other in a while, but as restrictions eased the pair were able to reunite to record their (Extended Mix). After an initial jam to establish the pace and feel, they hit record and got stuck in, resulting in four hours of sun-kissed boogie, disco and soul.
(Extended Mix) is a new charitable series that celebrates all-night specialists and more simple, carbon-friendly lineups. Instead of paying on the door for this extended experience, we invite listeners to donate to the DJ directly while their gigs are cancelled, or to a chosen charity. Wax’o Paradiso have chosen to pair their mix with the Jilya Institute, an organisation supporting Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention, as well as directly funding the education of the next generation of Aboriginal psychologists in so-called Australia.
First off, how have you been finding lockdown? What has been the biggest challenge and more positive outcome you’ve experienced through extended time at home?
Melbournians have been through 262 days of lockdown so within that there’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, the full spectrum. Sometimes it was super wholesome and nice to slow down and get in touch with the things that actually matter in life, and at other times it was beyond difficult, as anyone working in music knows all too well. One big positive was launching Wax’o Paradiso Recordings and having the time and space to do a redesign on our website. We’ve also recently had some really good news about live music events, festivals and nightclubs opening up to full capacity, so it’s very exciting to get back into a musical headspace and have some shows booked.
Thanks for recording an extended mix for us. How did you find the recording process?
We were in a hard lockdown and unable to see each other in person when we were asked to contribute to the series. Initially we were just having discussions about the musical direction over the phone and sending each other music. Then thankfully restrictions eased and we were able to get together in our friend’s beautiful recording studio (shouts to MOTOM!) and settle in for a marathon recording session! It was the first time in months that we’d played together so we had a ball.
How did you approach the mix? Did you have an idea in mind beforehand? Was there much pre-planning or did you just trust your instincts?
We actually never pre-plan our sets, we generally play for so long that it’s not really feasible. Pre-COVID we played together so often that we would generally know what the other person had been digging, but this mix was fun because we had no idea what was in the other person’s bag. We had an initial jam which gave us an idea of the pace and feel, then we cracked a cold beer and hit record!
Could you talk us through a couple standouts from set?
We have a couple of forthcoming Wax’o Paradiso Recordings bits tucked in the set which we’ll have some more news on soon, as well as these from some friends locally and abroad:
Jaye Williams – Let Me Be The One (MTMU Edit) a private unreleased edit of a UK boogie masterpiece from our dear friend San Soda
Caravan – Searchin’ (Extended Mix) – a new track from Caravan on the ridiculously good Sydney label Planet Trip.
Gateway Shuffle – Snapping: Another label we adore, Open Space from Miami, this track snaps.
Blekbala Mujik – One More Story: A Wax’o staple,
Where’s been your favourite place to play an all-night set, and why?
At a Wax’o Paradiso party! Although we regularly invite guests, we also like to play all night too, and over the past eight years have developed such an amazing relationship to the Wax’o dancers both returning and new. It’s incredible to be with the same group of people over a period of eight hours and experience every gorgeous little moment together. Our parties are always open-air, attention to sound quality is paramount, and because they are only in the warmer months we only do a few each year. It’s our happy place and favourite place to play in the world.
Who are some of your favourite all-night specialists, and why?
Intergalactic Gary, Optimo, Lauren Hansom, Pjenne & Millu, San Soda, DJ Harvey, Horse Meat Disco, JNETT & Otologic. All of these DJs know how to stretch out and think of the whole journey, at some point they have all been a huge inspiration to us.
Tell us a bit more about your chosen charity – what work do they do and why is it so important to you?
We have chosen the Jilya Institute as our charity, this organisation is run by Dr Tracey Westerman and administers the Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychologist Scholarship Programme. Indigineous mental health and suicide prevention are key concerns of the organisation, and it directly funds the education of the next generation of Aboriginal psychologists in so-called Australia. This organisation is particularly important to us as we host an annual charity ball, The Met Galah that donates all proceeds to this cause. It’s an event that holds a special place in our hearts.
Wax’o Paradiso would like to acknowledge that they live, work and perform on the stolen lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, and respect their elders, past, present and emerging.