DJ Alex Gutierrez/SFDJA/ Yacht Rock Miami / Rewind 1039/Miami Beat 305
When the Pandemic hit and everything shut down, alot of us were left wondering how this would affect our business , since ” Our Business” is all about the one thing they told everyone to stay away from…..CROWDS . DJs all over South Florida at first tried going ” Live” on Facebook many asking for donations , when Facebook kept taking down Livestreams for Copyright issues, most had no choice but to find ” Real” jobs. It was hard for many of my friends. Drive by Birthday parties became popular but the DJ was taken out of the equation. Clubs and Bars began to close permanantly. By January, February of 2021 some establishments began calling DJs offering 30-40% less than pre-pandemic fees. Some turned down these offers but most took whatever came their way often for markedly reduced fees.
Attendance at these establishments were weak, most people still feared exposure. Gallons of Hand Sanitizer on the bars and tables did not convince many. Slowly as vaccines rolled out and cabin fever was at a peak weddings and events began to resume. Parties began to look like parties again , except of course everyone was wearing a mask and there were little hand sanatizers with the couple’s name next to buuter and rolls on the tables. But why did it feel weird? Something had changed. People had changed. The way we played began to change , our delievery had to be modified. I called it ” Musical Distancing” the customers at the clubs I performed at were more concerned with ” CONTENT” than they were with my DJ abilities on the decks , back to back mixes tired them out quickly. Microphone interaction were now more important than ever. The key to keeping crowds engaged was becoming part of the entertainment. It worked for me. So I started thinking, how many of my fellow DJ friends have noticed this change and how have they adapted since Covid kicked our businesses ass.
Believe it or not a lot of people I know have turned to music as a coping mechanism during this difficult time. People of all ages, tired of Netflix have decided to just hangout and listen to their favorite songs as therapy. Now i can only represent the 50 and over crowd, so I’ve decide to put together my favorite Spotify playlists I’ve created with a nice sampling of tracks our age group would appreciate. Music is therapeutic and on a Miami rainy day such as today, these playlists have some great music for all of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s.
It started as a small idea, that has quickly become a major and influential festival for the LGBTQ community. a huge block party-style festival featuring live music, DJs, food trucks, fashion shows, a doggie village, in Little Havana from 17ave to 14ave. This year’s performers were Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Albita, along with Lucy Grau, Pepper Mashay, Son Lokos, Nic N Taya, Robbie Elias, DJ Alex Gutierrez and internationally acclaimed DJ Abel of the Rosabel duo. Gay 8 also features free movies at the historic Tower theater , cultural programming, dance parties, the Best Miami Sandwich Competition, fashion shows,and much more. Founder of the South Florida DJ Association and Veteran Miami DJ , Alex Gutierrez was on the Main Stage and recounts his experience with the Festival.
DJ Alex Gutierrez : ” The LGBTQ community has always been an influential presence and inspiration for Djs such as myself that grew up during the Disco years. Many of the first clubs I went to were predominantly Gay clubs here in South Florida , The Warehouse on 8 street, The Windward at the beach, The Copa in Ft. Lauderdale. Uncle Charlies here in Miami. It is here that I secretly went to DJ school as a young 15 year old aspiring DJ ,listening to Master DJs such as Bill Kelly, Bobby Viteritti and Bob Lombardi who’s mixing style and floor control would forever shape the way I would play music to crowds.”
The Live performers and dancers were a cross section of our city from the ” Timba” sounds of of Nic N’Taya and Sonlokos ( with their very special guest Leslie Cartaya) to our very own Lucy Grau who has magically transformed many Disco Classics into Salsa Classics and a favorite artist of all the DJs in the South Florida DJ Association. and of course superstar Albita who closed out the event with a Bang !!
DJ Alex Gutierrez : “This is my 3rd year here at the festival. There is a palpable sense of unity and peace with people from all walks of life , that would be difficult to find anywhere else. Open arms and smiles are around every corner, to me it’s the Miami I grew up with, and music has always been a part of our daily life here in South Florida. I try to incorporate a variety of styles in my programming , it’s an extremely diverse group . You can tell they love and feel the music as I do. It’s a very satisfying experience as a DJ to see these crowds react. I hope to be a part of this Family for a very long time. I thank Damian Pardo and Jonathan Casanas for the opportunity to be a part of this ground breaking festival. If you missed it this year, Be there in 2021!! “
“Gay 8 is an invitation to all South Floridians and International Visitors to come to Little Havana for the “Fiesta” of a lifetime.”
In 1976 I bought two BSR Belt driven Turntables with no pitch control and a Radio Shack microphone mixer mixer with no CUE, with money I had saved working as a busboy at a restaurant. I was the “man “!! Well at least I thought I was . I had been
to a party where instead of everyone bringing their own records (with their name written all over those 45 rpm records in bold black ink) There was an actual guy with his own stuff in a corner playing the records for you. Of course you didn’t know what he was playing because he covered the label with black tape. Oh,and he was getting paid $15.00. I wanted to do what that guy
did. I became his friend ,George Valdes,never saw him after Jr.high School,but he started me out by giving me the Trammp’s ”
That’s where the Happy people Go ” on Atlantic Records. Showed me what ” mixing ” was,showed me where to cut my hair
( Hair Fantasy ) showed me that Pierre Cardin cologne was better than Jovan musk oil. But most important he showed me that
a DJ can’t be taught ,it has to come from within,you have to feel the music.
” It’s been 30+ years since all of that and music has always been a part of my life starting with Disco in the 70s,Freestyle in the 80s,Techno in the 90s and so on. ”
I’ve been fortunate to work at numerous nightclubs in Miami and California , as well as concerts ( Opening for such artists as Oscar de Leon,Gilberto Santa Rosa , Tavares, Carol Douglas , Elvis Crespo And many More ) as well as special events throughout the years. I’ve worked in radio since the mid 90s when the BREEZE a local light Jazz station became EL ZOL. I had always included Latin Music in my programming but had never focused primarily on it until I met Jesus Salas Program Director for EL ZOL, he invited me to join DJ Crazy J in a show he was creating called ” El Mix en Vivo” ( The first Latin Mixshow } with MC/ DJ Julio Jr. and Carlos Lanzas.
During that time a couple of friends and myself had already been playing around with the idea of BEAT MIXING Latin music. The ” Chief ” Raymond Hernandez from Rhythym 98, Gil Rodriguez , DJ at La Covacha and myself who had been playing at Club
Mystique at the Airport Hilton and Alcazaba at the Hyatt. El Mix en Vivo was a hit,and opened the door to just about every latin
club in Florida. Latin music became my primary focus and I began to perfect my ” Latin Beat mixing” technique that was not well recieved because people wanted the song to end. After a few months I trained my crowds into accepting the ” mix ” it also allowed them to dance a little longer since most latin songs are only about 3:00 min long. I helped pioneer the use of dry beats ,that I would edit into a song before and after allowing me mixing points.
I later went on to accept a position at Salsa98.3 FM thanks to Leo Vela a long time friend who started as a DJ at Cherry’s as
an on-air mixer. I enjoyed 3 years there until the station went 100% Reggeaton, and name changed to LA Kalle 98. I stayed a few months with La Kalle and then accepted a DIsco Mix Show on Clasica 92.3 FM ” Disco Fiesta” with Susy Lehman ,after that thanks to the late Julio Jr. I was back on el ZOL 95 doing remote broadcasts with the station.
I recieved the New Times Best Club DJ Reader’s Choice Award multiple years and appeared in the PBS Documentary ” El Open House The Soundtrack of our Lives ” . I have remixed tracks for Willy Chirino, Orq.Palenke, Miami’s Band, Mantrap , Tito Nieves and others.
Today The preservation of traditional Salsa and Disco is a battle,the clubs are getting younger and the desire to learn Salsa and appreciate Disco is diminishing,but I keep doing my thing and so far it works. With Open House Radio along with Mike in the Night I have returned to my Disco roots and created a program that is now heard around the world ,playing 70s and 80s dance music. It keeps you alive……Mike passed away December 6, 2012 a devastating blow to all of us here in Miami, the torch was passed to my Friend and producer Lewis Martinee who together continue Mike’s dream as well as producing an additional dance music show RHTYTHM MIX 24/7 . Early in 2013 I founded the South Florida DJ Association and the response has been overwhelming. Fulfilling a lifelong goal of bringing the DJ Community together.
Past and Present
Alcazaba,Club Mystique ( Airport Hilton ), Gabriel’s, ,The Forge, Club 41,Poodle Lounge ( Fountainbleu ), Casis, Mezzanote, Valentinos,Bar 609 ( south Beach ) , Club 609 ( Coconut Grove ), Coco loco, Kaffe Krystal, Cafe Iguana ( Kendall ), Cafe Iguana ( Pembroke Pines ), Cafe Iguana ( beach Place ) , Maars Bar ( Kendall) 94th Aerosquadron ( Miami }
Club Z ,Baja Beach Place,St.Croix, Paladium, Bungalow 9, Gemini,Congas,Radius,Monkey Bar,Club Boca,Suzanne’s in the Grove,Azucar,Casino Miami Club Bailo,La Covacha
Zol 95.7 FM , Salsa 98.3 FM , La Kalle 98.3 FM, Zeta 92.3 FM