What do all these ultra-talented turntablists have in common? Answer: They all got the phuck outta Phoenix and headed for sunnier SoCal pastures of Los Angeles.
You can include Joe DiPadova in this category, as the laidback house DJ packed up his decks and finally made the big move to El Lay a few weeks back. If you don't know Joe and his contributions to the Valley dance music scene, here's the skinny: Back in 2005, he launched his StraightNoChaser nights at various clubs and establishments in Phoenix and Tempe, melding together art and global house music into an intoxicating mix.
Somewhat inspired by London's Jazz Café and swanky house nights he attended in Boston and other cities, the groovy get-togethers eventually morphed into an event known as ONE. DiPadova became one of the PHX's more popular DJs, equally renowned for his tempestuous mixes of Afrobeat and Global Soul as well as a penchant for wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with the phrase "I ♥ PHOENIX."
His love affair with the Valley apparently wasn't strong enough to keep him from straying, as DiPadova made extended to visits to Montreal (to hang with legendary DJ JoJo Flores) or New Mexico before finally deciding to crossover to Cali.
He's still down with P-Town in a major way, and plans on passing through occasionally for special events. Hence tonight's edition of ONE at Cream Stereo Lounge in Scottsdale, which also features an appearance by San Francisco mixmaster Halo.
DiPadova told us all about what's gonna happen at the event, as well as his reasons for his big move to El Lay, how green the, uh...grass is there, mountaintop visions, why he still loves Phoenix, and a few others topics.
New Times: So what's in store for tonight's edition of ONE?
Joe DiPadova: This is going to be different because it's the first party we've done since November of 2008 where we've had a huge guest DJ coming in. I'm bringing in my buddy HALO who lives here in California and he has gone by the name of...like he has one of the top 100 songs of last decade as per Resident Advisor under the name Halo Varga.
NT: He's partnered with Hipp-E from the H-Foundation, right?
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JD: Yeah. They were releasing music in kind of the late '90s and early 2000s and were just huge, they were absolutely massive. It appealed to some of the deep house heads, the tribal house heads and the progressive house heads. They had a wide range of fans. HALO is not much older than me and he's been touring nonstop since he was in his teens and has played all over the world. He's constantly on the other side of the planet, hugely respected, one of the most well known deep house DJs in the world by far. It's really an honor to have him out.
NT: Who else will be spinning at ONE?
JD: Halo and I are co-headlining and then a local cat Kyle Showers -- who hasn't really played out that much but has phenomenal taste and knowledge in music -- will be opening up. I hope that he's around for a long time and that people end up getting to know his style and tastes.
NT: So why did you decide to move to L.A.?
Joe DiPadova: In December, I went up to the mountains in Taos, New Mexico to find some peace and reflect on life and decide where I wanted to live. I ended up strangely enough settling on L.A. It went from the bottom of my list to the top of my list in those 5 months. So now I'm here, I moved here about a week and a half ago and I've just been hustling. This is a place I have a lot of really cool options to express my creativity.
NT: So did you have any shaman-like visions on a mountaintop or something?
JD: Put it this way, after a lot of reflection it seemed very apparent to me that L.A. was where I needed to be right now. Some really cool crazy things have been happening that have backed that up. I actually lived through my first earthquake, a tiny one the other day and it was fucking awesome! I want more.
NT: Let's cut the bullshit, the real reason you went to L.A. was because of the availability of medical-grade marijuana, right?
JD: I will admit that I have smoked more weed since I've been here than I've smoked in the last 10 years probably. It's not the reason I'm here, but [it's] a definite benefit. I stopped smoking weed for a long time after high school and I'd smoke it about once a year. More recently while in New Mexico, I just decided it's something I wanted to do more often because it's relaxing and there's nothing wrong with it.
NT: Does it help with DJing or making mixes?
JD: In reality, I really can't function when I'm on it. I can't go anywhere, I can't talk to people really, and it makes me completely non-functional. But when I'm not making music, if I have the part created and I'm just arranging it, it's phenomenal because it really does immerse you in the music in a way that you simply can't achieve sober. It's really interesting the effect that it has and how it changes how you lay out music, how you arrange it.
NT: Guess that explains the visions you had.
JD: Yeah (laughs).
NT: So what will you miss about Phoenix?
The people. That's one of the blessings of holding ONE events here is that I'm gonna be able to come back and hang out with everybody, but won't have to wear oven mitts in the summertime. The way I look at it, home is wherever I am. Except for the short time in Montreal, Phoenix has been home for seven or eight years. Phoenix has been hugely influential on who I am and what I do, I still love this city and the food is fucking awesome here.
NT: Still have own that "I ♥ Phoenix" shirt you were known for wearing?
JD: Yeah, I do, I still have all of them.
NT: And you'll wear it with pride in L.A.?
JD: Of course, I've worn that shirt with pride all over the country.
NT: Even if everyone's hating on Arizona these days?
JD: Yeah, I think I'm gonna wear it especially right now because people are really hating on Arizona. Just being outside of the state when all of this happened both when in New Mexico and in California, people fucking hate this state, and rightfully so. I don't agree with the law at all, but think there's still a lot of good things about Arizona.
NT: ONE has been somewhat different from most other DJ nights in the Valley: It's more inclusive, there ain't a dress code, and it's bereft of scenesters. Was that the intent?
JD: Yeah, which is specifically why we're in Old Town right now because the party started in Tempe, moved to downtown Phoenix now in Scottsdale. There's a lot of negative energy focused toward Scottsdale and the reality is there's a lot of good people in that town. A lot of douchebags too, yes, but there's also a lot of good people who actually appreciate good music and are caught up in a culture that they don't know anything else exists. The purpose of ONE has always been to set a stage where we can be inclusive of everyone and show people what else is out there.
NT: Have you gotten a different reaction to ONE events you've held in Scottsdale?
JD: Everytime we've been at Cream it's been pretty crazy. People by the end of the night, the douchebags who were standing there posing at first were fucking dancing right next to the house heads by the end of the night. Straight up dancing, not fist pumping, but dancing. It's wild what happens.
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NT: Are you going to be holding any ONE events out in L.A.?
JD: Eventually, but I didn't come out here to get in the scene like I've done everywhere else. I'm doing everything differently this time. My guess is eventually something will happen. We already did a party out here four or five years ago at Avalon in Hollywood, which did really well.
NT: Do you it will have the same affect on L.A. stuckups as it did with Scottsdale douchebags?
JD: There are all these crowds in L.A. that are totally different and super cool. You have the whole hipster scene, you have the house music scene, you have the urban alternative scene. All these groups that are massive collections of young people from all over the country that love these different cultures and different styles of music. So if I decide to do events in L.A., the hope is I would be able to bring people together. Just like what I'm trying to do at Cream. The hope is to start bringing out DJs that not only appeal to house heads, but also that appeal to people in the indie music scene, as well as to some of the douchebag crowd. DJs that can draw from many different facets of society [and] bring people together.