My name is Wilson Alvarez, I have the honor & privilidge of interviewing many incredible DJ’s from the great days of the 80′s in Miami, thank you for stopping by.
I started off DJing by coincidence in the very early 80′s. I was always exposed to the music that my brother Tom would play, ranging from Alec Costandinos, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Space, etc. The DJ from Pete & Lenny’s Rique Alonso happened to be my next door neighbor. I asked him to teach me how to spin, on my Sony belt drive turntables and Marantz Superscope mixer. Rique taught me how music is created in 8 beats, and can go in increments of 16 or 32. I quickly learned how to beat match, & the rest was history. I partnered with several friend local DJ’s for short periods of time. My specialty was the Disco-Italo genre (from 81-85).
The 1st Disco song that I was exposed to was “The Hustle“, from Van McCoy. I remember that it was 1975, when I was 9 years old and did not speak any English. My translation to the song was “Duaso” a neighborhood friend of mine at the time. The other song that caught my attention from the Disco era was Casanova Brown from Gloria Gaynor. I am not sure if its that my brother Tom will play it one too many times, or if it was a great song. My favorite songs from my era (81-85) are:
My favorite clubs from the 80′s were Pete & Lenny’s, Backstreets & Club Z (and 1235). Casanovas was also a favorite, but also had a lot of fun in Infinity, Stefano’s, Zigfields, Mystique’s & Banana Boat in Kendall. I always loved listening to the mixes from the local DJ’s at the clubs and internally critiquing them (in a good way of course) . Pete & Lenny’s was the 1st club I ever visited at 15. I loved being in the Banana Boat side with Rick Alonso, I would always model his mixes. I would make tapes and drive around with my high school best friend Eddie Cruz late at night just listening to my mixes. I have many favorite tunes, but the top 5 are listed above. Anything from Patrick Cowley, Lime & Bobby Orlando always made my hit list.
My experience in the DJ business was very small. I was a local high school DJ in the 80′s where the money that I made in a party ($50-$75.00) was made to strictly purchase vinyl. Talk about investing in your business. My selling proposition was, if you want the latest music, I need to buy at least 10-15 new records. At the time, imports were $7-$8 and domestic where an average of $5.00 I remember starting off with 1 milk crate, then 2 milk crates, 3 milk crates, ultimately I purchased the wooden crates from Peaches. My vinyl came straight from ERE Records in 57th & 7 street in Miami, and after they closed from Carlitos @ Carjul (RIP Carlos). I played at high school parties mostly from the South Miami High School area.
I was privileged to mix a song or two at Pete & Lenny’s on a Thursday night, it was a very slow night, but for me, it was the pinnacle of my DJ career. Now, I mix in the comfort of my home, I have a Mac computer, a Pioneer DDJ-SX along with powered speakers, some 1200′s & I find any occasion to have a party in my home.
I also run the facebook group 80′s Clubbing in Miami, which ultimately feeds through twitter on this page. It’s a great place where we reminisce and post songs from that era. Speaking of facebook, I was deeply moved, in more ways than one when a bunch of DJ’s got together in a facebook page ran by DJ Alex Gutierrez. His facebook page is called South Florida DJ Association. If you are a local DJ in Miami, (or was like me) I encourage you to join it. These guys know their stuff and bounce ideas off each other, the perfect way to collaborate and sharpen skills in the mobile DJ business.
I hope that this venue will be a positive one to all the DJ’s in Miami that embrace Disco, Italo, Freestyle and the like. It will be interesting what it will turn into. I foresee listing active DJ’s as well as veterans, the current club scene, a calendar of events, etc. Let’s watch it grow together! I will leave you with another one of my favorite tunes from my era, Do you wanna funk from Sylvester.
Wilson Alvarez – DJWil.com