Paul is DJ Spooky all the time,” said music engineer Dan Yashiv, who collaborated with Spooky on his 2010 mixer app, which has racked up over 15 million downloads. Well, maybe not all the time. He ran into Mr. Miller in Rio a few years ago, and the two spent a day knocking back caipirinhas on the beach. “I’m just remembering that as the moment he was totally just a person. It’s rare to find him relaxed, guard is down, he’s not working, he’s not networking, he’s not planning the next thing.”
A fiendishly cold evening in mid-February found Spooky at home, being a person, or doing a pretty good approximation of one. Home is a Duane Street loft bursting with books, records, CDs and DVDs, some forming dozens of knee-high piles on the bamboo floor. Dust bunnies huddled between towering stacks sporting things like an oversize tome on the history of the Afro and Richard Dawkins’s A Devil’s Chaplain. Rolled-up maps, posters and flags sprouted from boxes shoved up against giant speakers. A tower of CDs leaned in the direction of shelves stocked with 80 bottles of cologne; his favorite is Comme des Garçons 2, a spicy scent in an asymmetrical silver flask. Dangling from garment racks and piled in rumpled pyramids were his many jackets, the chicly utilitarian kind with lots of pockets.