Los Angeles-bred rock duo Papa are pretty rad. Normally, it’s totally against the cursory rules of music journalism to start a seemingly objective interview with a complimentary blanket statement, but for as long as we’ve been digging Papa, it’s hard to not just gush.
Darren Weiss, the bearded drumming frontman of the duo, can vibrate an entire venue, swaying bodies included, with his baritone vocals that drip with good-natured libido and his body throbbing drum style. Danny Presant, friend since childhood, balances the musical equation perfectly with jangly, funky guitar licks and a sweetly quirky personality. Papa sort of reminds us of Talking Heads with a less androgynous David Byrne and without the post-punk paranoia etched in every melody. Papa is all that sonic eroticism put into action.
We met up with Papa for a video interview while they were soundchecking at the Bootleg Theater in East Los Angeles before their January Monday residency show. Since the dudes are locals, we mostly talked about their favorite spots to hit up in Los Angeles and some of the things they love about the city.
Darren said that one of the most unique aspects of Los Angeles is that it’s a bunch of “cities within a city” which creates such a unique sense of cultural diversity “that you can jump in and out of a couple different worlds.”
One of those worlds is in Papa’s car where according to Danny they do “hella vocal warm-ups” when they’re stuck in traffic, working on lots of ideas and developing demos. “We’re better singers because of it,” says Darren.
Below, Papa talk about their favorite places to get stuck in traffic (For Danny: Mulholland Drive. For Darren: Not there) and their preferred places to get food including the “official Papa office.” Also, Darren gets a little surprise from mother nature.
12851 Riverside Dr
Studio City, CA 91607
Danny: “Hugo’s is the “official Papa office, so to speak”
Danny: “Our headquarters. We refuse to take meetings [anywhere else], whether it’s booking agents, managers, labels; the only place we’ll have meetings is at Hugo’s. Fresh vegetables, healthy choices, great tea selection. Gwen Stefani’s there sometimes; she looks smoking hot.”
More than Waffles
17200 Ventura Blvd.
Encino, CA 91316
Darren: “At this point, we’ve traveled the world. Been to Asia, Europe, all over America a number of times, Israel; there is not better waffle than More Than Waffles in Encino, California. That’s another place I grew up with my Grandma taking me to all the time. John Michael Henderson is a one-man band, he performs with his dog at his side on Sunday mornings, maybe Saturday mornings too, for brunch and he’ll play all your favorite Elton John and Billy Joel songs while you have the most delicious waffle that is known to man.”
Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Darren: “Bay Cities Italian Deli–it’s the best sandwich. Like More Than Waffles is the best waffle in the world, Bay Cities is the best sandwich in the world…It’s like Pearl Jam versus Nirvana. What side are you on?”
Danny: “We’re on Nirvana, by the way, to clarify.”
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Darren: “Farmer’s Market is one of my favorite places in LA…When I was a kid, my Grandma used to always take me and we’d go get clam chowder in the sourdough bread bowl. My mom grew up around the corner from there, so she’d always go there after-school as a kid, so it just sort of has a great nostalgic vibe for me.”
Danny: “And it’s the best place to get a crepe in Los Angeles.”
From the 405 to the 101
Los Angeles, CA 90189
Danny: “Basically most of my time [as a teen] was spent driving between the Valley and the City on Mulholland going from Point A to Point B and back. I don’t know what it is, but when I started driving, [even] if I could take the freeway, I would take Mulholland. Just ‘cause I could go on it. And there’s nothing more beautiful than driving on Mulholland at night.
Darren: “I don’t like it.”
Danny: “He’s afraid of heights though.”
Darren: “Well, I got in a head on collision right after I got my license.”
Danny: “Why don’t you tell them who saved you though?”
Darren: “Well, he didn’t save me but Jay Leno was the only guy that stopped to help.”
Check back next Friday for one of Danny’s favorite places to get inebriated, the place in Los Angeles that reminds Darren of “the library scene from Ghostbusters, where Papa had lunch in high school, and Papa’s favorite places in Los Angeles to get their music fix.
–Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles