Moving away from the typical “sexy” aesthetic of most day festivals, Sebastian Guy Bosman, Tomas Kranenburg and Devon Neill are taking things back to basics for a change.
Since 2014, their monthly club nights and more recent outdoor event series, Paradise City Pool Party, have built a reputation as a light-hearted experience, complete with tropical decor and top notch talent from Cape Town’s electronic music scene. Starting from noon, their day-time razzles have become a popular boutique festival, and after just two years they are now one of the favourite parties in the city.
Bringing a fresh approach to nightlife, playing the odd pop and rock classic and striving for more than just sexual appeal, they have created a niche hub for party goers, and by maintaining their integrity and learning from their mistakes, the future of Paradise City looks very bright.
But at the base of it all, their sole purpose is to create a fun environment for punters. “Dance music is about having fun, it’s about going out and having a good time. That’s why we play music, that’s why we throw parties, to have fun.” says Sebastian
As they gear up for their final pool party and begin plan to move indoors at the end of an amazing summer season, we chat with Seb and Tom to find out more about their fun-loving pool party.
What inspired you to start Paradise City?
Tom: We started Paradise City with the aim of hosting outdoor parties in the city, because we felt that quality outdoor / daytime parties were lacking in close proximity to the CBD. So, we had the idea to do a party in the ‘burbs in 2014.
Seb: We wanted to take the attention to detail of an outdoor event and do it in the city. We wanted to create events that are all about the vibe. Yes as a music fan, you come for the DJs, but your everyday punter may go to parties for different reasons. We wanted to sell the vibe first and foremost, and what better word than “Paradise” to convey that message. When you say “paradise” many people will think of many different things, but they will all have a similar feeling attached to it.
What is at the core of a Paradise City event?
S: For us at Paradise City, no ego.
T: Yeah, we are not into hosting glamorous events with scantly glad dancers. In a recent [promo] video I saw, I wanted to comment saying: “By the looks of things, the only people in the crowd are females and the only guys there are DJs”. I found that offensive, and I don’t know if anyone else does. That’s kind of where our slogan “Less serious, more fun” comes in. We are quoting Skream—he did an interview for elrow, which is one of the parties we absolutely love—he said: “dance music’s too serious”.
S: Dance music is about having fun, it’s about going out and having a good time. That’s why we play music, that’s why we started Paradise City, to have fun.
What are your thoughts on the current dance scene in Cape Town?
T: Cape Town is small, but this is something we should celebrate. I’ve been to large festivals in Europe and partied with 30,000 people and it was not nearly as special or intimate as what we have on our doorstep. We are massively lucky that we can have festivals with such a high caliber of artists with only 2,000 - 3,000 people attending.
S: We’re still very fresh on the scene but have quickly learned that simply booking acts wasn’t the way we wanted to contribute to the Cape Town scene. Promoting for us is about engineering an experience for each person attending your event and that takes extra time and effort. We want to see more promoters taking the time to put more effort into their night / day events. Curating a line up is in itself a craft, which takes time to develop and understand, which is currently where we find ourselves learning thick and fast, but this is only one part of the whole event experience. If more promoters are able to put more consideration into each event, it just means that more people are having better party experiences.
T: There are more and more events popping up every season, there will be one weekend where there’ll be nothing that caters to your taste and then the next weekend there’ll be three events. Hosting similar events catering to the same crowd in such a small city as Cape Town doesn’t make sense. Why don’t we, as promoters, just say: “okay, you doing a techno party, I’m going to do a house night”. Especially within the club spaces. There needs to be a dialogue with other promoters to discuss what dates they are using and who they would like to book, in order to not step on each others toes. Otherwise, it’s just a lose/lose.
S: Yeah, I think that there should be a way of promoters communicating with each other like; “why don’t we all plan our parties on a calendar together”, so that we don’t have two parties bringing internationals on the same day. I’m sure clubs would also like to have a representative at that table.
What does a Paradise City party sound like?
T: Having a “sound” was never a thing for us. It was never like “we are this sound”, because sounds change and fads come and go. We don’t want to be a fad. We don’t wanna call ourselves dark, deep techno, because when techno goes out of fashion we’ll probably go with it or try to chase the change. We’ve been to outdoor day parties that by 2PM, the DJ was playing songs by Maceo Plex, and the vibe just stayed there all day. We feel that there is a time and context for this. Progression is key for our events and that reflects in our tastes as well.
S: We’ve actually found that techno is the least popular sound at our party and that was a huge learning curve. But it’s because of the context we create. I remember at our first pool party, one of the highlights of my promoting career, Stone-Age Citizens played “Stuck In The Middle With You” at sunset to a full dancefloor—and the crowd loved it! We want DJs to have the balls to play something that wasn’t released two or three years ago. We want the DJs to be comfortable enough to play what they want, whether it be a Kylie Minogue track, a disco classic or a techno banger. We pride ourselves on selecting songs that are not currently charting or have ever charted. We play the music that we believe fits the context and makes a night fun and unique.
Paradise City takes place on April 8th at the Train Lodge in Cape Town. Tickets available from Quicket.
All images by Tauriq Dolley