What started as an online radio show has evolved into a full-blown party every Thursday night at the Rec Room in Miami Beach. Half/Full is an affair to experience, curated by producer/DJ-duo Paperwater that's atypical of South Beach's stuffy reputation. The "come-as-you-are" environment mixes good music, chill vibes and free pizza within what appears to be a 1970s basement.
The Paperwater pair is comprised of two Miami Sunset Senior High School alumni, Eddy Samy and Daygee Kwia, who reconnected after college thanks to their shared love for music. The duo originally started Half/Full two years ago as a way to showcase diverse artists from around the globe on their SoundCloud channel, an online streaming service for music. The radio show gained momentum and popularity on social media outlets like Tumblr before SoundCloud started cracking down on copyright infringement and shut them down in December.
"We needed an outlet to pick Half/Full back up, so we decided to look at venues and do it live," said Samy, 27, before a Half/Full party at Rec Room on November 3.
Paperwater took the Half/Full idea to spaces, such as Libertine and rooftops in Miami Beach. That's how Stephen Lezama, director of nightlife for LDV hospitality at the Gale Hotel, found them.
"I was looking for something additional or something a little bit different," Lezama says, "and I heard them play at the 1 Hotel [South Beach] on the rooftop. What's great about [Paperwater] is they're very skilled in music, so their repertoire is very diverse. ... They bring a lot of their own remixes and beats to music that you wouldn't necessarily think would mesh."
Paperwater's Half/Full party plays mostly hip-hop while mixing in dance music. They curate the feels from the music to the atmosphere, the guests' experience at the crux of commitment.
Kwia, 27, says Paperwater decided to go above and beyond with customer service after DJing at high-end hotels: "You can go to an underground party and people can feel like they're being catered to and it doesn't necessarily have that 'Miami VIP feel.'"
From dad hats, crewneck sweaters and Vans to sparkly heels and little black dresses or knee socks with jean shorts, Half/Full patrons sing along to Kaytranada and Drake while an unspoken fellowship of camaraderie bounces off the walls' wooden panels and swirls around the spinning half-disco balls.
Oversized Pucci's Pizza boxes dance from one set of hands to the next as smiles between strangers are exchanged.
"It's like breaking bread and having drinks. It always gets people a little bit more connected," Lezama says.
Half/Full is always full of surprises, though some things – such as free entry, an open bar for ladies from 11 p.m. to midnight and free pizza – remain constant.
"You feed people and they come back," Samy laughs. "[And] it's variations of free, so like free pizza, free cupcakes, free champagne, it will be anything we feel like giving back for coming to our party. ... Whatever we find cool and creative, we make it part of the party."
One night, there were "swag bags" with free gifts like eyewear from Eleven Miami, athletic wear from Alaso Active and socks by Bread & Butter. Some of the brands included an additional discount code for Half/Full partiers to shop at another time. Another night, they had blow-up heads of the DJs. In the future, they hope to incorporate live art or pop-up shops within the club's space.
Half/Full has a homey, familiar feel with an unmatched upbeat energy, a crowd that grooves well past 3 a.m., and a passionate pair of people who want to lead the masses to amusement.
It's the kind of gathering one could go alone and leave with friends.
The Half/Full party starts at 11 p.m. on Thursdays, at Rec Room, 1690 Collins Ave #2, Miami Beach. The party is free. Go to RecRoomies.com.
Paperwater's radio show is now streamed every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Traklife Radio.