Paul Lai (Upsilon Acrux)
SPB: What is your favorite venue to play?
Lai: Without a doubt it's our home away from home, Los Angeles' infamous DIY venue The Smell. It's run by Jim Smith and some volunteers.
We have a long history with Jim and The Smell. It was our first LA show back in the late ‘90s at its original location and, honestly, I think we've played there at least once every year that we've been a band. The Smell is honestly where all the real, good and interesting bands start. It's booked primarily by the bands that have been there and so it's never really been taken over by a bunch of Hollywood shit or whatever. When The Smell got pretty famous from Abe Vigoda, Health, and No Age, whenever we had a show there I would get tons of emails from Hollywood managers and bands that swore if we let them play they could bring in 500 people...
Because Jim has always looked out for bands like us and other outsider musicians I think in return we have done the same and made a real effort to keep the shows real, with real bands and real music not just filling the place up with lame tourists. So in that vein, this place is about a lot more than attendance and what you get paid. There's always a Smell scene and it's always different and at the same time everyone that has played it and made an impact always comes back. On top of all that, Jim is unbelievably fair with the door. The shows are always $5 and he takes a very small percentage and despite working a 9-5 is still at well over 50% of all the shows, working from 8:30 pm to about 12:30 am each one of those nights. Jim has and will continue to be the most important person running a venue in all of Los Angeles and The Smell will always be keeping it real. Which makes us proud to be one of the bands that continue to play there year after year.