DJ PAULA FROST WORLD TOUR
Across 2018, DJ Paula Frost embarked on a 14 country world tour with her UK based, FM radio show Way Out Radio. Read her story...
I’ve been music obsessed from the age of 6 and over the past few years I have been lucky enough to carve out my own DJ career. In 2017, I decided it was time to take my passion for DJing on the road and visit 14 countries, playing shows and broadcasting my weekly FM radio show back to the UK. It was an incredible journey and I got to hang out with some amazing people; skinheads in Ukraine, rockabillies in Japan, rastas in Jamaica. I even met a ton of musicians and celebrities including Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman, Mike from Breaking Bad, Fu Manchu, The 18.104.22.168's, Gaz Combes (Supergrass) and interviewed legendary ska pioneer Eric Monty Morris (The Skatalites).
I am in the process of writing a book about my experience on the world tour but I wanted to give you an insight into a few of the shows I played and tours I was a part of during this year. I recorded a radio show each week from every location on the world tour which you can listen back to here:
St Petersburg, Russia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Auckland, New Zealand
Raglan, New Zealand
Los Angeles, USA
Las Vegas, USA
New York, USA
I arrived in Russia and was greeted by Sasha, lead singer of the mod band The Riots who spoke great English and knew people in the music scene. He arranged a DJ set for us to play the opening of a new DIY punk club called Night School, in Moscow. It was packed full of young tattooed punks, everyone was in their 20s and early 30s and had crazy hair and punk clothes and tattoos. I even saw one kid with a Crass tattoo which stunned me. When the local bands played, everyone was losing their minds and loving every second. I DJed later on and played a bunch of old school punk and ska records from the UK, people seemed to love the vibe and surprisingly they knew a lot of old school British records. A few people came up to me asking for song titles “What is this music? I love it!”
After that night, I must have gone back to Night School three times within a week just to hang out and watch bands. I got on so well with the guys running the place that they gave me a key and made me resident DJ for the month. I played almost every night from then on and even got to go on tour with three punk bands to St Petersburg and Smolensk. The bands were called The Cretin Boys, Beerwheels and Mighty Birds and all played simple, short Ramones type punk songs and were influenced by The Descendants. I would see them sing in English and go to talk to them after but they couldn’t actually speak English fluently, it was just part of the show. At least there’s no language barriers in the mosh pit. My experience with the punks in Russia was absolutely beautiful and it taught me so much about how music can bring unity to people across cultures. They live the DIY ethos of punk and have created a tight community of incredible, driven people.
Soon I was off again. Flying into Tokyo was an incredible buzz. I had a few connections there with bands and DJs but really it was all new, fresh and exciting. I’d dreamt of visiting Japan since I was a kid and wanted to see their robots, anime stores, record shops and visit their music scene. Nothing could prepare me! I got straight on my laptop and booked 3 shows across a weekend. I played Club Bubbles on Friday, Club Doctor on Saturday and Club Heavy Sick on Sunday (you have to love their nonsense English names).
In Japan there are a lot of people who seem to discover a music genre and become totally obsessed with it and consumed by it. They don’t just get into rock ‘n’ roll, they zone in on a niche tribe like mods, rockabillies or northern soul and they live and breathe it! They buy all the classic records, all the right clothes, decorate their house accordingly and become the complete embodiment of it. I went to a mod scooter rally in a Fred Perry Shirt and felt underdressed. Everyone had all the accessories of Quadrophenia from the mirrored Vespa’s to the red socks and perfect haircuts. The Japanese way of doing things is second to none! I saw tons of Tokyo garage bands and met a punk DJ called Daddy-O-Nov who had interviewed Joe Strummer. He linked me up with the lead singer of the 22.214.171.124’s and we met up for an interview at a little café in Tokyo. She told me all about the band’s global success after being in Quentin Tarantino’s movie Kill Bill. She’d also met the UK Subs when touring in England and had hung out with Jack White at his mansion in Nashville. My highlight bands for Japan were Jail Guitar Doors (Japan’s answer to The Clash), Seeek Me Darling and Kelly Muff.
SOUTH EAST ASIA
Asia was up next on the tour and I’d planned to travel across Thailand and Vietnam over the next two months. I arrived in Bangkok and the first day was a nightmare. I’d lost my bank card in a cash machine straight away and when I arrived at my hostel it was so filthy that someone had genuinely left a review saying they found a dead cat in their bed. It was also really dodgy and the police kept showing up which did nothing for my nerves (Thai prison? No thanks!) Tired and frustrated, I resolved that the only thing to do in this situation was to go to the nearest bar and get absolutely wasted, then deal with everything in the morning. I pulled up a chair and ordered a beer. As I sat drowning my sorrows I noticed an enthusiastic French guy with dreadlocks sat next to me telling the barman he’s a reggae DJ and was travelling back to Cambodia after playing a festival. What a coincidence. I piped up “Hey I’m a DJ too. I play punk, ska and reggae on the radio and do shows in England.” He and I got on like a house on fire after that and he took me with him on a two-week tour across Cambodia and Vietnam. We played nine shows in clubs, bars and at a beach festival. When I returned back to Thailand from the tour, Canadian hardcore punk legends D.O.A. were playing in Bangkok and I got to meet the whole band as well as all of the kids in the Bangkok punk scene. The mosh pits are like Thai boxing matches with arms and legs flying everywhere. It kicks off like a bar fight every few minutes but it’s all fun and games to them.