Label Feature: Paramida - Love On The Rocks
Click here to listen to the Carhartt WIP Radio Show featuring Paramida.
Next up on Carhartt WIP Radio is DJ and label owner Paramida, known for her eclectic approach that offers a refreshing change of pace to Berlin’s techno-centric party scene. Since moving from Frankfurt to the German capital in 2010, she has garnered a reputation for heavy hitting DJ sets that combine elements of rough proto-house, energetic techno, trippy trance, kicking new beat and dreamy Italo house.
Paramida’s multifaceted approach to DJing is rooted in her love of crate-digging, a passion further fueled by working for the record store Oye, before going on to launch her own series of parties, and subsequently a record label, named Love On The Rocks, in 2014. The label is, in her words, an “experiment in musical exploration, embracing artists both known and unknown, music both old and new.”
So far, it has released music by renowned artists like the Italian DJ and producer Massimiliano Pagliara, Fantastic Man from Australia, and Italian edit specialist DJ Steve. The label’s Supergau compilation series, meanwhile, features work by nascent artists, such as Ivan Berko from New York City and Warehouse Preservation Society from Los Angeles, while it has also released several reissues, including obscure gems from 1980s German synth-pop trio Romie Singh and re-edited, psychedelic, 1993 proto-trance by Peyote Dreams.
It is this diversity of sound that has helped Paramida establish herself her own unique niche, playing to crowds throughout Europe, as well as Vietnam, South Korea and Brazil. Closer to home, and on the back of a residency at Offenbach’s mythic Robert Johnson club, she also began a new residency at Berlin’s infamous Panorama Bar shortly before the pandemic struck in early 2020. At a time when dancefloors lay empty and silent, Paramida has continued to keep herself busy through her monthly Rinse FM radio show, two new shows at Berlin’s Refuge Worldwide platform, and a show on Frankfurt’s EOS Radio.
For Carhartt WIP Radio Paramida found some time to create a well-balanced Love On The Rocks mix that features older classics from producers like Telephones from Norway, the Detroit electronic musician Sharif Laffrey, and Mexican duo Zombies In Miami, as well more recent material by Berlin-based producers like Longhair and Alex Kassian. As always, we talked to our host about her label’s philosophy and her first steps as a DJ, as well as a few quickfire questions.
What was it that initially informed your love of music?
Paramida: I started collecting CDs when I got my first CD player in first grade. Visiting CD shops was my highlight whenever I travelled. I would listen to anything in the charts as a kid, from DJ Bobo to the Spice Girls. Then, as an early teen, I started listening to indie and punk – still collecting CDs. It was during a visit to Toronto in 2002 that I discovered Laurent Garnier and Miss Kittin. This reshaped my image of electronic music, which until that point had been of “Karstadt ravers” – think German guys in the late 90s at Love Parade in Buffalo sneakers and baggy jeans. I didn't intend to have a career in music. It wasn’t until I went to university that I realized I wanted to do something that makes me happy, something that makes people have fun.
What do you consider to be the key moments in your work so far?
Paramida: Moving to Berlin in 2010, working at a record shop, the first parties I started, my residency at Renate, starting my label Love on The Rocks. After leaving Berlin and coming back, I signed with Ostgut and became a Panorama Bar resident, and a Robert Johnson resident shortly before that. Other recent highlights are my monthly Rinse FM radio show which started in 2019. And my Refuge Worldwide radio show and latest radio show EOS, both launched in 2021.
Since 2014 you’ve run the label Love On The Rocks. What’s the label’s philosophy?
Paramida: I’ve always seen Love On The Rocks as an experiment in musical exploration, embracing artists both known and unknown, music both old and new; through re- issues of lesser-known tracks discovered by me via my DJing, research, digging and exchange of knowledge with friends. It is also defined by irreverence and unpredictability, with a touch of spiritualism, psychedelia, humanity, humor, and an embrace of the unknown. “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it...” so goes our tagline, emblazoned somewhere on almost every release. Love On The Rocks is about believing in yourself, believing in your friends, believing in the future – even (or especially) when you don’t know what’s going to happen next. That, and having a shitload of fun while you’re doing it.
How do you find new artists for Love On The Rocks?
Paramida: LOTR is a personal project, characterized by collaboration with friends, the nurturing of relationships and new talent, and centered on the importance of personal connection.
Stylistically Love On The Rocks features a variety of sounds. How would you characterize the output in your own words?
Paramida: I have a very diverse taste in music, and the music I put out on LOTR reflects that. I put out stuff that moves me, and which I think will move others too. DJs who don't dance and only play one genre of music kind of suck.
What future projects is the label working on right now?
Paramida: The next LOTR release. I don't want to say more because I don't want to jinx it, but this one will be very special.
Music-streaming sites and blogs, as well as a flood of releases in general, are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today?
Paramida: This is something I think about with each new LOTR release. We currently do vinyl-only releases in small runs, and I firmly believe that a piece of musical art that’s pressed into a piece of vinyl in the 21st century and which is limited to 300, 500, or 1000 copies must be more valuable. It must be more expensive than a pair of shoes that’s being mass produced in a factory overseas.
Can you remember where you first started DJing and the kind of music you were playing?
Paramida: My first gig was at a bar in my hometown, and I was playing old-school house and disco, and failing miserably at mixing.
What are some of the first records you bought?
Paramida: I bought a box of records at a yard sale. There was a bit of everything: Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, SNAP!, even some Steve Silk Hurley. It was 50 or 60 records in total. I got the whole box for 30 Euros!
Where did you find music to play in those days?
Paramida: Back then I would only buy records. It would happen randomly, online or in local record shops.
Please recommend two newcomers to our readers, which you feel deserve their attention.
Paramida: Alex Kassian, friend and artist on my label and my homie Iggy P from Amsterdam, who’s an incredible digger and just opened an online webshop.
What do you find most challenging about the work you do?
Paramida: Dealing with stupid people.
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt WIP Love On The Rocks Radio show?
Paramida: I went through the LOTR catalogue and put some tracks together that work well. It was a really natural process.
What was the last vinyl record you bought?
Paramida: This is a very rare Marcus Mixx record and it’s incredible. There are not many copies for sale, and I found a white label promo in not the best condition. This record is everything. Thanks to Florian Kupfer for the heads up. The record is from 1990 and it samples an 1982 Italo disco classic: Dharma - Plastic Doll.
If you could spend a night partying with any of your icons, who would it be?
Paramida: I am my favorite party icon.
What's the best and the worst thing about the music scene in Berlin?
Paramida: Pretentious people and too much techno. Can’t remember anything good right now.
What was your favorite cartoon when you were a kid?
Paramida: The Simpsons.
If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be?
Paramida: Sven Väth.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Instagram?
Paramida: Cat accounts are my favorite.
Who would you want to play you in a film about your life?
Paramida: Sacha Baron Cohen.
What are your favorite places in Berlin that you visit on a day without music?
Paramida: My hairdresser and nail salon.
On the Supergau: 5 Years of Love On The Rocks compilation is a track by long standing electronic producer Dirk Leyers and you. Are you planning to release more original music in collaboration with others or by yourself in the future?
Paramida: Definitely. Stay tuned bitches!