Q&A: Paul Devro

Carbon Festival is set to return this weekend from March 29-30 at RMIT’s Storey Hall. The festival celebrates contemporary design, culture and style, via a series of forums hosted by talented individuals. Paul Devro is the creative director of Mad Decent, the label started by Devro’s good friend Diplo, and home to artists like Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, Baauer (of ‘Harlem Shake’ fame) and many other trap and Jersey Club overlords.

When Paul isn’t hanging with his homie Diplo, he runs Jeffree’s, Mad Decent’s offshoot imprint. Devro is a DJ and producer by trade, having worked for the likes of Zebra Katz, LIZ and RiFF RaFF (the guy with the uncanny resemblance to James Franco’s character in Spring Breakers). Rushani Epa spoke to Paul about his favourite artists, his bromance with Diplo and quirky Japanese purchases.

Did you end up buying that $5 Usher top that you found in Japan? The one on your Instagram?

Yes! I thought it would be a dumb gift to give someone. It actually is a dope shirt, so I’m keeping it.


Who are you closest to in the Mad Decent family?

Diplo and I have been friends the longest and are emailing each other constantly, so I guess him. But Jasper and I are in the office the most together, and we’re old, so we relate on a lot of old person things, he’s like a cool older cousin to me.


What’s been one, or some, of your greatest accomplishments since teaming up with Diplo on Mad Decent?

I think Jeffree’s, it’s an ongoing ever-building accomplishment, we made up all new rules for releasing music and I’m really proud of that.


Why did you name Jeffree’s, ‘Jeffree’s’?

It was a stream of consciousness. We were brainstorming and Jasper said ‘Saturday’s’. My brain went Saturday -> Weekend -> Lookout Weekend’s -> Tony Butler -> Butler from Fresh Prince -> Geoffrey -> Geoffrey’s, and the logo would be a Manatee Butler. I tried to have it spelled with a ‘GEO’ but everyone out-voted me and said ‘JEFF’ is way better.


What drew you to working with Zebra Katz?

One of the reasons Diplo and I started Jeffree’s was because we loved ‘Ima Read’, and everyone else at Mad Decent didn’t. So, we needed to find a way to put out music that we loved without it going through the normal Mad Decent protocol.


Who are some of your favourite Jersey Club artists?

There are so many dudes killing it out there: Sliink, DJ Irresistible, K Millz and Big O for local heads.


Who are some of your favourite artists that no-one would guess? Or guilty pleasures?

I listen to so much music that I don’t think people would relate me to. I live for rare lo-fi doo-wop, I listen to that more than anything else. I get this weekly newsletter where these OG’s compile their 45’s from back in the day. I listen to a ton of speedcore, like Section Grabuge and m1dy. I have Dabke music on all the time in my car, and I’m also a huge fan of Cocteau Twins.


Which track (any track in the world) are you addicted to at the moment?

A bunch of tunes that we are releasing soon. I feel so lucky that people send me tunes all day and that I get to be in charge of making sure they get heard.


Do you know of any notable Australian talent, or emerging artists, that we should keep an eye out for?

I grab all of Strictface’s tunes off Bandcamp and I’m really feeling Swisher, Tomderson and Kutaap’s tunes.


Paul Devro will be at Carbon Festival, and performing at the New Era Cap & Mad Decent Presents: FLY YOUR OWN FLAG at Boney, on Saturday March 29.

Rushani Epa is an RMIT Journalism student and interns for Acclaim Magazine. She tweets @theoriginalEPA, check out more of her work, here.



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