What happens when you take Madonna’s “Vogue” and unite it with some throwback merengue beats? Just ask Puerto Rico’s own Hector Arce-Espasas and Glorimarta “Glori” Linares of D’Marquesina, the DJ duo responsible for creating some of the most infectious, wildly addicting, and oh so unusual mashups. What started it out as a collaboration inspired by underground garage parties in Puerto Rico has quickly taken over New York City’s nightlife. Thanks to D’Marquesina leading the growing Latin mashups trend, nightlife owls can get their M.I.A. and Menudo fix all in one. Fortunately, New Yorkers aren’t the only ones getting a taste of D’Marquesina’s classic salsa or cumbia injected with reggaeton and hip-hop. D’Marquesina, along with fellow Latin DJ superstars Nacotheque and Mexican Institute of Sound, were selected for this year’s Heineken MezclaSonic tour where they performed throughout the country in the name of two nightlife favorites: Latin music and cerveza. As they prep for “El Showcase Secreto” in New York City, we caught up with D’Marquesina to discuss how they met, the challenges of being unique, and Hector’s encounter with a famous look-alike.
nocheLatina: How did you guys meet and who inspired the both of you to become DJ’s? Also, why DJ together?
Hector: We met at the Art Basel Miami fair in 2007. This whole thing was very organic. We didn’t plan anything. After hanging out in Glori’s house, at my studio, and at restaurant basements, we began playing music in places we never expected. The great thing about DJing together is that we’re also good friends. It’s like hanging out.
nocheLatina: What were some of the challenges that you faced as a Latin DJ duo in New York City?
Glori: The only challenge I can think of is the fact that we are not the only Latin DJ’s in New York. Also, we find ourselves searching for rhythms that other DJs don’t use.
nocheLatina: What is it about ‘80s and ‘90s songs that has made D’Marquesina determined to give them a Latin twist?
Hector: It’s not just about playing ‘80s and ‘90s beats. I think it has to do with our concept of mixing different genres from those years with new songs in one set. We play music for everyone. You might want to hear a Madonna song from the ‘80s, but another person is more interested in merengue. Well, why not have both songs in one?
nocheLatina: Latin electronica is a major trend throughout the country. Why, in your opinion, do you believe partygoers, especially those who’re not Latino, are demanding more Latin beats in clubs?
Hector: We’re interested in including many songs for different types of people from all backgrounds wanting to dance. From back in the day until now, Latin beats has always been made for dancing. Folkloric music from the Caribbean and South America has very strong rhythms. When you include those beats it makes any song danceable. That’s why merengue rap songs from the early ‘90s are so catchy. We are doing the same, but with today’s music.
nocheLatina: As a female DJ, Glori seems to be one of the few in an all-boys club. Why aren’t there enough Latina DJs?
Glori: Maybe we Latinas like to dance more than play music. But it’s true, there aren’t as many. However, some of the ones I’ve seen are really good, like Raquel Berrios aka DJ Rock-L.
nocheLatina: How has the Latin alternative music scene changed since you first made your debut as a group?
Hector: One thing we want to make clear is that we don’t just play for the Latin alternative music scene. D’Marquesina is a garage party, like those in Puerto Rico where you can dance to all different types of music. Latin is a big selection of what we spin, but we also play other things. It all depends on the crowd. We started D’Marquesina because we wanted to go to a party where we could listen to all the songs we enjoyed dancing to. Now we can. In terms of the music scene itself, New York has great bands and some of them may not even be from here. That’s the great thing about New York. Bands, whether famous or not, come here to perform.
nocheLatina: When we first spoke with Nacotheque, they told us that they decided to do one-off special events, as opposed to a weekly residency, because it allowed them to have both personal time and space to be creative. Do you agree or disagree?
Hector: Having two parties a month is more than enough. You spend a lot of time promoting the parties and it also takes a lot of energy from you. It’s better that way. I need time to be in the studio making art.
nocheLatina: Speaking of parties, talk about some of your upcoming projects.
Hector: These past four months have been crazy, especially during the summer when we were traveling around the US. We were originally playing once a week, but now that summer is over we’re trying to do two parties a month. However, it hasn’t been the case. Officially, we have a party every month at Home Sweet Home, as well as Deity. We offer a variety of music for each event. We’re also going to be playing at the Latin Grammys in November, so that should be fun. Besides doing mashups, remixes, and producing music, I’m also collaborating with another artist. As soon as we have a good amount of songs we’ll release an EP.
nocheLatina: Hector, what’s your response to being confused with Ryan Gosling by girls?
Hector: It’s been a few years since I’ve been mistaken for Ryan Gosling. At first I didn’t know who he was. It’s funny because whenever I would say ‘No, I’m not him’ at bars, people would respond, ‘Its cool man, I understand you want to keep it low, I won’t tell anyone.’
nocheLatina: Have you ever bumped into Ryan Gosling?
Hector: I’ve met Ryan twice. The first time was on the street. I didn’t want to stop him, but people started stopping me on the street, so I did. He’s a really cool guy. We just talked about what we both do. I told him that I haven’t seen any of his films, which was pretty stupid of me to say. So far, I’ve seen three of his movies. The second time was a Wednesday night at a bar. I was hanging out with some friends. When I look to my side, he’s at the next table. He looks back at me, jumps off the couch, and runs out of the bar. Then he comes back with a Polaroid camera and asks me if I can take a picture with him. We pose and act like we’re good friends. He’s a really humble guy.
nocheLatina: What should we expect from ‘El Show Secreto’ that’s happening at Fontana’s in New York City?
Hector: You can’t miss it! Some members from Los Fabulosos Cadillacs will be performing, as well as some artists from Puerto Rico. We’re going to be spinning a different set this time, so expect a lot of classic ragamuffin and a few other surprises.
nocheLatina: Could you give us a clue on who the secret guest could be?
Hector: The only hint I can give you is that the other surprise guests are from the best bands in ska and reggae. If we both agree on who are the best, then you know who they are.
nocheLatina: What advice can you give to Latinos who want to get creative and become DJs?
Glori: Listen to all the music you can. Learn the lyrics to every song you spin. When you play and sing the track at the same time to the crowd, it helps to get them super pompiao.
Hector: The other day I went to a Chinese restaurant and my fortune cookie said ‘The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.’ That’s my advice.
All photos are courtesy of D'Marquesina's official Facebook page.