In 2009 a couple of DJs came together to accomplish a shared goal: to bring Latin indie pop music to US ears. Gabriel Rodriguez and Eddie Costas kicked off their Solo Dame Indie Pop party at a bar in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Three years later the duo, known as DJs Son and Post-Paint Boy, are still hosting the popular party and have introduced their fans to Latin artists like Los Punsetes, Balun, Banda de Turistas, Cholo, and Kordan. Recently Rodriguez and Costas have expanded their joint resume to include a new title: film producers. They’re currently in development of two short films. We caught up with Rodriguez prepping for a show at Matchless in Brooklyn. He told us how he and Post Paint Boy got the party started, what inspired their latest venture into film production, and of course, about the music.
nocheLatina: To start, tell us how Solo Dame Indie Pop! came about. How did the two of you meet and where did the idea for your party come from?
DJ Son: The Solo Dame Indie Pop! parties started in 2009 when Eddie (Post-Paint Boy) and I reconnected in NYC. We knew each other from college in Puerto Rico. We shared a lot of similar tastes in music. In particular, we were interested in what was happening in the indie rock scenes in Latin America and Spain. I had lived in Spain and spent some time in Argentina and found out about all these new music groups from this region. I decided to bring them back home. It was the same style of music we enjoyed, but it was happening in these countries as well. We were surprised to find that there was no one doing the types of events where you could go listen to this type of music. I had done a lot of DJing in Puerto Rico, so we thought, why not try it in New York?
nocheLatina: What was it like getting your first show off the ground?
DJ Son: Our first show was in February 2009, at this garage-punk bar in East Williamsburg called Don Pedro. The owner at the time, being Hispanic (he's from Ecuador) himself, thought it was a great idea to have a party with rock from Latin America. We barley knew bands from NYC with Latin American/Spanish members at the time, so it took us a bit of time to find one. We were a bit nervous about that. But then, we stumbled upon Cholo. With a Peruvian lead-singer, we thought they would be ideal to kick-off our first show. That night, it was the middle of winter, so we didn't know what to expect. Also, the bar is in the middle of nowhere, so we didn't know if people where going to come or not. We had a pretty good attendance for it being our first event. I was happy to see new faces that were into the same music we were. The band was great and the people were dancing all night.
nocheLatina: What were your musical influences growing up? Are those the same as what influences the music you play and listen to now?
DJ Son: I grew-up listening to a lot of pop-punk, but also, some pop from Spain and Latin America. My dad was really into salsa, but also heavy rock, like Led Zeppelin and Steppenwolf, so I listened to that as well. And being from Puerto Rico, at the time I was growing up, you couldn't escape from listening to a lot of Caribbean music, particularly the boom of what is now known as regaeaton. I think that a lot of those styles of music still influence me to this day. It made me appreciate music the way I do now.
nocheLatina: Did you always know you wanted to do something in the music industry, or did you have another plan for your life?
DJ Son: There was never a really set plan, haha! Working in music, for me, came at a very DIY-level. Being a part of the industry was never a plan. We've worked in organizing shows and parties all throughout college. It was definitely something we were interested in.
nocheLatina: Who are some of your favorite artists or groups now?
DJ Son: Some of my favorite groups from now, hmm. Could I get back to you on that? Seriously, I've been listening to a lot of different things. The Radio Dept. have been constant on my playlist. They're Scandinavian, though. As for groups from Latin America, I like Dani Shivers a lot. She's rising up super fast and on the radar of a lot of the Latin indie blogosphere.
nocheLatina: What is Latin indie pop?
DJ Son: Not sure it has a set sound. It basically came from the same place as college rock in the early ‘90s. It simple, melodic, and pop, but from bands in Latin America. The lyrics are a bit more distinguishable, as they're not only sung in Spanish. Some of the topics are more unique to the country where the band's from. That's what I really identify with, that bit of singularity in every song.
nocheLatina: Were you surprised by the popularity of Solo Dame Indie Pop?
DJ Son: I'm extremely surprised! Our last event at Matchless was very successful and got a lot of good attention. Also, our Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) showcases have become notorious in bringing-out some of the best acts in Latin indie-pop/rock. It's gratifying to have so much positive attention!
nocheLatina: If you had to sum up the philosophy of Solo Dame Indie Pop! into one sentence, what would that be?
DJ Son: I'm not sure about that either! I guess it would be: To showcase the new, up-and-coming artists and bands from the Latin American and Spanish indie-rock/pop scenes. Or something to that effect, haha!
nocheLatina: Would it be correct to say that Supercrush Studio is sort of the next level, or an extension of your party?
DJ Son: Supercrush Studio is our promoting/productions agency, so yes, it definitely goes beyond the Solo Dame Indie Pop! parties. With that, our intention is to promote new music and lifestyles in general. We want to put a face to what's going on in NYC and other parts of the world.
nocheLatina: What prompted you to want to get into film production?
DJ Son: Eddie (Post-Paint Boy) and some of our other partners had been working in the film industry for a while, at many different levels, but never in their own projects. We wanted to have the opportunity to make that possible for ourselves and our other partners.
nocheLatina: Is there a common theme amongst the films you’re involved in or a message you’re trying to send?
DJ Son: Our films are definitely very diverse and touch on a lot of different aspects. We've made short-films, as well as event documentations, and a lot of other things. I guess the most common thread would be to point out the relationships that people create and how they affect everyday life.
nocheLatina: Now that you have your music events and film production off the ground, is there any other area of the art/entertainment world that you’re thinking of getting involved in?
DJ Son: We're working on a lot of different areas all the time! We've worked with different art organizations, galleries, and museums to do different types of events and installations. For example, through our partnership with Kill Screen Magazine, we worked at the MoMA Poprally Arcade installation this year, which was an amazing success! We're also a part of an awesome charity group called The Project Collective, where we do art and music events to raise money for community programs near the location where the event takes place. Our goal is to bring those artists and musicians closer to the community they live in.
nocheLatina: What can your fans expect to see from you next? Any events or films we should be looking out for?
DJ Son: We have a LOT of things coming-up! Our next Solo Dame Indie Pop! For future events, be sure to check-out our site. You can also friend us on Facebook and Twitter. Hope to see everyone at our next event!