PAUS3: Breaking Down Music’s White Picket Fence


Paus3Paus3 takes issue with boundaries, regularly trashing the memes of today’s music like a kid on mischief night, in an effort to create an experience that listeners had never before considered. Painting with sonic deconstruction, chopped samples, and distorted noise, Paus3 may be NJ’s most fearless DJ.

What does Paus3 mean?
I talk really fast, and quite honestly, I stick my foot in my mouth all the time, and it kind of stuck with me. Just pause, take a breath. Wish I had a better story behind it, it’s kinda boring.

When you DJ, what’s your personal style? Do you usually stick to a specific genre or do you pull from a lot of different influences?
You could probably say I’m a schizophrenic. I’ll never do the same set twice. I’m not necessarily a very traditional DJ, and sometimes the crowds turn on me. You know, not everyone’s a fan of Apex. But it’s fun to watch people dance, and there’s nothing more rewarding than at the end of the night having people come up having written down what was song 4, 9? You get to turn people onto music they don’t really hear in the mainstream.

I spin Bjork whenever I DJ and it probably pisses people off. I just don’t get it – people get so pissed whenever I spin her. I’ll put on Pagan Poetry or Hyper-ballad, and nobody seems to like that. That’s what I want when I go out; I would like to hear a DJ put on Pagan Poetry. You still need a little drum beat to keep a rhythm, but don’t crank it, and just let Bjork go. I enjoy that. That’s my style. For example, I will go from Portishead to Nine Inch Nails to Bjork to a Britney Spears remix.

What I love to do is do a lot of DJ dates unannounced. I don’t go on fliers or advertise, anything like that. I need the ability to win people over and introduce artists like Bjork to people who’ve never heard anything like that.

What drew you to DJing as a profession? What appeals to you about it?
I like it because I don’t have to work with other people. It’s really hard to find reliable, stable musicians. I play a lot of instruments, and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a band that’s completed a tour without self-destructing. DJing is a good way to be creative and get the music out there without that self-destruction. There’s a lot of great musicians, but there’s also a lot of unstable ones. You don’t find out who you’re playing with until you’re halfway across the country and somebody’s overdosing or missing his girlfriend. DJing is just a great way to play music and have fun. I mean, I know that’s not cool and everyone wants to be depressed and talk about how terrible the world is, but I like music; it makes me happy. The DJ thing just really pays well and it’s a lot of fun. I have a good time.

One thing I’ve noticed everywhere in the world, regardless of culture or language, is that people care way too much about what other people think, especially when it comes to expressing a talent. I’ll be honest with you, I’m probably the exception to the rule, because while I’m DJing, I will play a lot of songs that I like. But I understand people are there to hear the music they want to hear.

What’s your setup look like? Do you do anything unusual when you’re spinning?
I work with vinyl along with a digital setup, and I’ve actually created a very interesting way to play with cassettes, too. I use cassettes in my set – I’ve got a great 1970s sixteen-track cassette board, which has a pitch pile so you can change the pitch. So I’ll record myself playing bass or piano onto a cassette tape, and when the time is right, pop it in, hit play, and create another melody along with two vinyls playing and the standard digital track.

You have a lot of remixes to your name. How do you approach creating those?
I probably spend a majority of time doing remixes on a commission basis. You’ve seen vinyl before, right? Usually you have a Side A and a Side B. A is the album cut and B is a reinterpretation of it. I get paid to reinterpret. I just did a remix for Dead Prez. I took one of their big hits and took it in a whole new direction. I took the a cappella and rebuilt the song from scratch. Thankfully, my agent has understood that when I’m doing a remix, I want no rules.

Have you worked on anything of your own recently?
I have some original stuff out there; it’s not dance music, it’s electronica focused, but there’s also organic instruments like a violin and a grand piano. But there’s no reason you can’t put a drum machine behind them as well. Think Nine Inch Nails. It’s about mixing machines with real instruments. The last band I was in was Take Remedy, playing bass. It was me and a female singer with a phenomenal voice, and hired guns, a drummer and a guitarist. Unfortunately, before we were supposed to play CMJ and tour, it imploded. I still think the music is great. I personally love the EP. A lot of people don’t like the female singer’s voice, but if you can get behind the style of the lead singer of Portishead, you may like it.

I also just did a remix for Projecting Nothing, and he put together a house track, something you could dance to if you had a couple drinks. I’m more like a creative director for Projecting Nothing. It’s owned by a larger label.

On the Projecting Nothing website, the tag line is ‘Distort My Life With Noise.’ What exactly does that mean? How does it represent what you do?
I beg for music to change my perception. Like ‘Dear God, I just wanna hear something that’ll distort my life with noise.’ We should both just go sit in the car and put on Z100. And after twenty minutes, we’re gonna be screaming ‘just distort my life with noise.’ It’s begging for something different. Distort it, distort my view, distort my perception. I couldn’t stand Britney Spears until that guy remixed [Womanizer] and distorted it. He distorted my view of it, and one man’s noise is another man’s opera.

Tell me a little bit about Image Optional.
Image Optional is me and a group of other DJs that are trying extremely hard to get something going here in Jersey, and just keep running into roadblocks with club owners. They just don’t want to let us spin what we want. They want to have theme nights. So if you’ve got four DJs who want to spin what they want, how are you going to do a Dubstep Night? We’ve done a few of them, and we’ve had some success, but they never made the club owners money. For some reason, they’re convinced theme nights work, that all DJs listen to the same music. In theory, they think they’ll capitalize on a market. But I bump into people all the time who haven’t been exposed to a variety of music, but they have a variety in other aspects of their lives. Unfortunately, that isn’t carried over into music.

It sounds like you’re going in a lot of different directions in terms of what you do and how you’re involved in music. Putting all those pieces together, how would you describe yourself?
I’m a thirty-year-old boy. You know how we’re all supposed to grow up and be president? And everything is going be perfect and white picket fence and all that other bullshit they teach you? At some point around thirty, you realize it’s all bullshit. Basically, life is good, but it’s not the gigantic wet dream they sell you. So I decided I’m just not going to accept the fact that I’m thirty, and I’m just going continue to do whatever makes me happy.

You can find more information on Paus3 and his music at

About the Author

MeganMegan Dermody is Lamplighter's Managing Editor. She compulsively corrects grammar and likes it (a little bit too much) and occasionally writes articles. You can give her a shout if you need editing advice or think you have a cool band you can recommend. Just make sure she's had coffee first.View all posts by Megan →