The title “local meteorologist” doesn't exactly conjure up images of sexy nightclubs, superstar DJs or ecstatic house beats. Pablo Pereira, however, is as well versed in DJ Mag terminology as he is at predicting SoCal's next heat wave.
Pereira, the meteorologist at L.A.'s Fox 11, has, of late, also become the station's de facto EDM expert via his coverage of Los Angeles' dance music world and the artists inhabiting it. It may seem like a strange venture for middle-aged meteorologist and family man, but fatherhood was actually Pereira's clubland point of entry. His three sons, ages 19, 22 and 28, were the ones who introduced him to the youth market phenomenon genre.
“Everyone in my house,” Pereira says, “listens to Daft Punk.”
One day at work, Pereira was called into the News Director's office at KTTV and asked if he would be interested in covering L.A.'s electronic music scene in a new ongoing series. Pereira, an L.A. native who is also a news reporter, web editor and music enthusiast, said yes. His goal was to present a positive view of a scene often maligned by the mainstream media. His ongoing segments, featuring everyone from Amon Tobin to Nervo and Armin van Buuren, have placed the once music underground genre on the local nightly news.
Gaining access to the scene, however, wasn't as easy as Pereira had anticipated. “I've worked at clubs and was a roadie for awhile,” he says, “so maybe I was a bit naïve thinking this was going to be Fox news calling and everyone was going to say 'okay.'”
Ultimately, it took six months before anyone agreed to do an interview. (That person was German dance music icon Paul van Dyk.) It was Matt Colon, Artist Manager and Partner at Deckstar Artist Management, who opened the local gates of clubland by getting Pereira an interview with his client Steve Aoki. “I grew up in L.A.,” says Colon, “and I remember that Fox was always covering the local scene from a unique perspective. Steve is from L.A. as well, so for him there was the excitement of being featured on his hometown station.”
See also: Our Steve Aoki cover story
As such, Pereira found himself at Aoki's mom's house in Newport Beach, chatting up the mega-DJ before driving to O.C. Club Sutra with Aoki and his family and hanging out onstage while Aoki played his set and sprayed the audience with champagne. Pereira had arrived.
“Steve does dozens of interview every week,” Colon says, “but that was one he was really interested in promoting.”
“That story,” Pereira says, “is the best of what we try to do each time we do this.” The goal with these special features –which typically air after shows like So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol— is to transcend the standard PC Q&A format and go in depth and behind the scenes with the artists, capturing the lifestyle, the music and the scene at large. “I don't look at myself as a reviewer,” Pereira says, “I'm just a fly on the wall going through the experience and recording that experience for people to see.”
It's been a year since Pereira began this project, and he now rattles off the L.A. clubs he frequents –Playhouse, Avalon, Greystone– with the same authority of most USC dude guys. What he finds at these places, he says, isn't so different from the Grateful Dead shows he frequented in his youth, what with their emphasis on music, visual effects and devoted bordering on fanatical audiences. Pereira is especially into Skrillex, Boys Noize and Claude von Stroke and aspires to cover more female DJs and artists of color. His newest segment on German DJ Markus Schulz airs on Fox 11 this evening at 10pm.
Pereira finds that party people are often shocked to learn that Fox is in the club. “There's a thought process that Fox news is very conservative,” he says. “That's more of a national issue; I think locally we're as conservative or liberal as any other station in town.”
In doing stories that represent the scene at large rather than just the hot button issues that have made EDM events lightning rods for controversy (see: drug use and the deaths of show attendees), Pereira also presents a more balanced if somewhat PG view of this world. Call it the continued mainstream-ization of electronic music, but Pereira's work is arguably reaching audiences who formerly thought that EDM was only about incomprehensible noise and poppin' molly.
“Hopefully [audiences] come away with a better understanding of this world,” Pereira says. “I'm a parent first and had concerns, just like anyone else who reads the mainstream articles. I find the best thing a parent can do is educate themselves. Go to a show with your kids. Bring earplugs.”
Pereira recently hit up Hard Summer with one of his sons and found the event to be “well run with more security than I've ever seen at any show I've ever been to.” What he wants now is access to film these large-scale gatherings. (Most festivals don't allow videography, making them logistically difficult to cover for TV news outlets.)
“There's still a little bit of paranoia there that prevents us, mainstream media, or anyone for that matter, from filming,” Pereira says. “I understand their reasons, but I'm saying 'why not?' The days of covering mainstream concerts are kind of over. Why don't we document these experiences and let people see them?”
Until that happens, Pereira says he's content with finishing his nightly weather report around 11pm and heading to Hollywood just in time to catch the headlining act of whatever show he's attending. His colleagues from the station have started tagging along.
“There's never a night I drag myself out of the station,” he says, “asking myself why I do this.”