CHRIS DOURIDAS: CORNERED

Where do we begin with Chris’s exceptional accomplishments over the years? 90’s host of Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW veteran and DJ, Film music supervisor bringing him in two Grammy nominations, A&R executive for DreamWorks Records, working with Steve Jobs as a creative consultant for the launch of the iTunes music store, creating and producing the iTunes Originals series and iTunes Essentials, the gift he has to “see” musicians out there and then share them with the world. The list goes on and on. 

Normally with our CORNERED features, we give each person all the same questions and pick the best answers. Chris gave us more than we could have expected or hoped for. Therefore, we have chosen to use all of his answers. Usually it’s a very quick, personal glimpse into the individuals life, but on this special CORNERED, it’s a bit more in depth. Thank you Chris for opening up to us so much. I know you have touched and affected me just by your KCRW sets, but now you’ve done it in a whole new way.

NAME: Chris Douridas
OCCUPATION: KCRW DJ & Musical Guru
WEBSITE: KCRW.com

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WHAT’S THE BEST KEPT SECRET IN LOS ANGELES?
I know the best kept secret in Los Angeles, it’s not much of a secret – but a secret to a lot of people. Loading Zones! Most people don’t know you can park in loading zones before 8, after 6 and on Sundays. When people first move to LA, I tell them two things – “I have the best two secrets for you”. 1) loading zones and the other one is KCRW, but it’s cheese-ball for me to be saying that (laughs). 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SANCTUARY IN LOS ANGELES?
Matador Beach. The most beautiful beach in Southern California. Here’s why people don’t really realize it: When you pull in it’s just like a parking lot and people think, “Oh it’s just picnic tables and a parking lot, big deal”. But then when you walk down the path to get to the beach… and it’s this glorious beach with cliffs and tunnels. The cliffs are out in the water. There’s one point where you have to go through a cave (about ankle deep in the water) to get to the other side of the cove. Huge cave, it’s gorgeous. The most photogenic beach in Southern California. 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TASTE?
I can’t say that… (laughs)! Hmmm, what was her name (laughs)?

BEST GIFT YOU EVER RECEIVED?
Hmmm, brother. A couple come to mind. My kids were a gift. They weren’t planned, so they were gifts. And then I lost a kid. One of our extended family members made a quilt out of my daughters clothes. Definitely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been given, although it’s kind of wrapped in tragedy but such an incredibly thoughtful gift. It’s just… who thinks of that? It’s so beautiful. I treasure that. 

FAVORITE PART OF A SONG?
I might have to skip this one because it changes everyday. I listen to stuff all day, every day. That’s what fuels what I do, why I love what I do. Every day it’s a quest for the next “one of those” – those HOLY SHIT songs, I cant wait to share that with people. 

SOUL MATE OR LIFE IS A SEQUENCE OF PARTNERS?
I think that’s a really serious question. When you’re younger you think there’s a soul mate out there for you. Then you realize that there’s soul mates all around you. Otherwise wouldn’t it be kinda ridiculous – people are born and raised, live and die in these small towns. What are the chances that the one soul mate in the world is in that town? That was me in high school thinking, “what would be the chances my soul mate is in this city!?”. So yea, I think the world is populated with soul mates. 

WHAT RECORD SAVED YOUR LIFE?
I don’t know that any of them saved my life (laughs). I think it’s more of an artists career maybe that did that more than anything else, but I can think of one that blew my mind lately. I was just in Estonia, I got invited to do a music conference there and usually when you go to these far-flung places – like I’ve been to Lapia before for a music conference – while the country was amazing I didn’t bring back anything of value, music wise. So I was kind of not expecting much on this trip to Estonia for that reason. I was there for almost two weeks and I had the most incredible experience that I wasn’t expecting. I met some incredible musicians, but I wanted to find something of the culture that was not like the latest pop band there – you know? I wanted to find something that was a land mark, that we didn’t know about. So I went to a few record stores and one in particular I literally sat in for about 4 hours at a cd player with piles of things that I pulled from the shelves (all music from Estonia). I listened to at least 50 albums. I bought one and it was this crazy, 1971 recording of an a capella, jazz ensemble with this jazz combo. It sounded like something you’d hear from the US from 1963 – so it’s about 8 years off in terms of the production value. It was 1971, but it didn’t sound like a 1971 recording. To hear something that’s this incredible jazz ensemble, that’s world class, that has this line up on the album that you don’t find anywhere else in the world.(referencing the music group Collage). 

Do you know the Swingle Singers? It’s this 6 member jazz, a capella group that does these Bach interpretations, anyway it’s all a capella, there’s no instruments with them, its just voices. And it sounds mostly like that, but there’s a jazz combo like – a Dave Brubeck kind of combo backing them up. They’re all stellar. Can I play you 30 seconds of one song? (We at WORK proceed to listen to a clip of the band Collage from his phone. We were hit with a wave off magic as we started to sway back and forth. The music was beautiful, dreamy and has never left Estonia). I want to release this in the US! I’m kind of crazy for this shit, but I want you to hear it. It’s genius,  I’m just blown away. When you listen to everything that comes out in the world and something comes along like this – you kinda go – “OH MY GOD!”. This is rare.  

This was the reason why I was in Estonia… to hear this. I’m definitely going to use this in film stuff. Turned out, as I was screaming about it to everyone else in Estonia, there was one guy at a radio station there I was talking to about them and he says “ahhh, you found Collage. Yeah, very good! You know, nobody knows here who these people are”. Even in Estonia, people aren’t familiar with this album. But this guy was so excited that I came across it. I mentioned it to another guy that I had met there. Young kid, 22. He said “Oh my boss, she used to be in this group! She’s running the Jazz Festival now.” He connected me with her so and we’ve been exchanging information. She said “Oh, it was such a great time and nobody knows this record really”. So I’m asking her how we can get it released.

WHAT TYPE MUSIC DO YOU LIKE TO HAVE SEX TO?
Oh, cripes (laughs)! That changes every day too. 

WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE ALONE?
Aha! I’d love to see what kind of answers you get for this one. Oh the choices. I don’t know. I don’t think I’m very weird, but…walk around in my underwear?


WHAT’S THE WORST MISTAKE YOU’VE EVER MADE IN YOUR LIFE?
There’s so many (laughs). Listening to my daughters doctor. He gave bad advice that I think ultimately impacted… well… I hate saying this, because I don’t blame anyone for what happened with my daughter. She died 6 years ago. I’m really grateful that I don’t have any hate or anger in my heart about this, it was an accident, but when I think about regrets, that’s what comes to mind. Very briefly, she had a mild case of epilepsy so she has seizures every couple of years that were very controlled with the medicine. Beautiful kid. The doctor told us that if she didn’t have seizures for two years straight, she could stop taking her medicine. She was coming on two years with no seizures and she was taking her medicine, but she had it in her head what the doctor said. A couple weeks before she died she said, “It’s almost two years, I can stop taking my medicine” and we said “Nooo, Marieke, you need to take your medicine”. Every morning and every night. She said “Come on, what? It’s not like I’m going to die”. The day that this happened, she was in a school play, she was acting in Grease. She went home after the cast party and took a bath. Her Mom noticed the water had been on a little too long and broke the door down and found her. She drowned. In the autopsy, they found no medication in her system. So she stopped taking her medicine. She just wanted to be a normal kid. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF FIVE YEARS AGO?
I would make it 7 years ago, see above. 

WHAT’S THE MOST EMBARRASSING THING IN YOUR BEDROOM?
Oh my god. I’m kind of ashamed to admit this but um.. (laughs)… it’s kind of funny actually. It’s one of those things where if I were to have you at my house right now and I were to go walk into the closet and pull this out –  you’d be like – what the F***!?!. It’s a chastity belt. A medieval chastity belt. It’s amazing!


(Photography by: Maggie Davis)

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