Meet Vancouver's Adam Petipas: Barber, DJ

Meet Vancouver's Adam Petipas: Barber, DJ

When Wallace Hamilton arrives to chat with Adam Petipas, we’re early.

Petipas is earlier.

He has an easy, friendly smile. Maybe it’s the Newfoundlander in him, or maybe it’s just him, but Petipas has a relaxed, courteous vibe. He’s the kind of guy who’s immediately easy to talk to.

It’s lunchtime, and Petipas has some time off from work to chat with us. Most days, you won’t find him in a quiet coffee shop—you’ll find him cutting hair at local favourite Victory Barber & Brand. By night, you might see him as DJ EVO, spinning vinyl (and only vinyl) for crowds around Vancouver. In-between both, he’s running Adventures in Paradise, a successful boutique record label he started with business partner Iain Hendry back in 2016.

“I’m still trying to find a balance,” he laughs. We believe him. If he didn’t sound so down to earth, we’d think he was insane to tackle it all. But for Petipas, cutting hair and being immersed in music have always been a part of him. Giving one of them up is out of the question.

Petipas was born the son of a barber in a small town in Newfoundland. Nowadays, he takes a lot of pride in being a second-generation barber, but back then, the profession wasn’t on his radar. “I’d cut my friends’ hair in high school,” Petipas says. His father taught him the basics. But that was the extent of it—music was his first obsession.

Music was what pushed him to travel. As a DJ, he’s bounced all over the continent, playing gigs in cities like New York, San Francisco, Toronto and LA. It’s through city-hopping that he got to work with and befriend guys like J Boogie and Jeremy Sole, DJ greats based in California. Traveling also helped Petipas develop his taste in music. “[It] inspired me to take chances on stuff,” Petipas says. “It helped me focus more on what I’m into.”

But traveling didn’t just open up musical opportunities. It helped shape his sense of style. If you’re not too immersed in DJ culture, that might come as a shock. “Some of my DJ buddies are quite fashionable,” he says. “Maybe that reflects on the gigs we’re playing or the music we gravitate towards, but there’s style. With EDM blowing up, there are these preconceived ideas about DJ culture and the way the culture has changed, because everyone now thinks it’s a guy pushing buttons on a pad, sweating through a big, oversized t-shirt,” he laughs. But Petipas? He’s on the other end of the spectrum, along with a host of other well-dressed DJs across North America.

As we continue to talk style, Petipas mentions jazz greats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Even as a kid he took note of their well-cut suits. As an adult, though? “I like the full gambit,” Petipas admits with a smile. “And I like to mix and match [low and high style]. Maybe that’s a pair of $400 dress shoes paired with a vintage tee I got for $10,” he suggests. For him, it’s about knowing how to mix and match pieces together to create the right look.

Petipas also knows where to find great menswear. He’ll tell you New York and LA are the places to go for vintage finds, and that Austin, Texas is a mecca for stylish menswear. With shops like Wallace Hamilton, Vancouver is no exception.

“It’s newer, well-curated clothing,” Petipas says of Wallace Hamilton. “It’s a more sophisticated style, which I’m super into. It’s a nice bridge between high-end fashion and streetwear.” His favourite piece at the moment is the Corridor Short Sleeve White Oxford he’s wearing in our photoshoot, which he’s drawn to because of its versatility. “Put a certain blazer over it and you can style it in a 60s-era jazz kind of way,” he says. The styling potential is vast.

So seems the potential of Petipas himself. With his track record, he comes across as one of Vancouver’s more interesting polymaths. But it comes at a price. “I know how to hustle,” he says. “Anything I tackle, I want to be really good at.” Whether it’s hair, music, sports, or style, we’ve got to hand it to him. Pepitas has drive.

Before we say goodbye, we ask Petipas: what’s next? He grins. He needs to navigate the phenomenal success of his record label. He needs to sort out his hours at Victory. He needs to get back to DJ friends asking when he’s flying out to play next. Oh, and he needs decide what he wants to indulge in this month—menswear, or vinyl records?

Petipas is wearing another smile, and his eyes are fixed on the future. “Next year is going to be quite busy. I’m excited.” It’s Petipas, and by the end of our time with him, we wouldn’t expect any other response.