"My sound and the music that I produce all comes from my roots and history."
Born and bred in Los Angeles, DJ/producer David Alvarado has been carefullydeveloping his smooth, soulful house signature that's deeper than theAtlantic Ocean since he was a teenager. Solidly entrenched in America'shouse underground and boasting a growing global following, he's played apivotal role in shaping the dozen disparate cuts on his critically-acclaimedBomb Records indie, while cutting glistening tracks and remixes for labelslike Definitive, Stickmen, Yoshi Toshie, Strictly Rhythm, X-Rated and GrooveOn.
Embracing a musical, less-is-more ethos in all of his vinyl work, David'smotivation behind the decks or in the studio has been to always add a newwrinkle to dance music's vibrant fabric.
"It all started for me way back when I was a kid in 1981," David recalls."My friends and I were the only ten Latins in an all-white school, so wewere kind of outsiders and kept to ourselves. My cousin was a DJ and byaccident, we got coerced into playing music at a party, because we all hadaccess to such huge record collections and it all took off from there. Asidefrom sports, DJing was something that I was naturally good at and I keptpursuing it."
Spinning everything from underground Latin disco to British New Romantictracks in the late '80s, David cut his mixing teeth by playing at hugeparties and raves on the burgeoning East Side scene. All the while, hestudied a variety of legends like Giorgio Moroder and Masters At Work - allproducers whose body of work continues to evolve and influence. Some ofthese parties drew 3,000 clubbers and David and his sound system crew -which was comprised of fellow DJs and dancers - regularly battled forbragging rights.
When the East Side scene fizzled out and rave culture infiltrated L.A. inthe early '90s, David set his sights beyond his immediate surroundings andstarted producing. His desire was to "develop a family just like the guys inNew York and Chicago did." Since there were no L.A. gurus to look up to,David drew upon his many musical influences and threw caution to the wind."Something had to be done and I couldn't just sit around," David remembers,"so I got together with a friend of mine in the studio and cut the LasAmericas project."
A chance meeting at the record shop he worked at with Plus 8's JohnAcquaviva and Richie Hawtin, who were on a tour with Moby at the time,eventually proved fruitful: "I gave them a copy of the white label, then wetalked a bit, and two months later they called me and told me about a newlabel they were starting, Definitive. It was housier than Plus 8's tracksand they wanted to release my record. I liked their philosophy aboutdeveloping artists and they were down to earth."
Several remix/productions later, David's Plus 8 association led him toToronto's Stickmen camp, where he ended up working with them in the studioand doing several releases. (In fact, he recently dropped an additionaltrack on the Stickmen's label in the fall of '97, and continues hisassociation.) With his production career in full motion, David got to workon his goal of putting L.A. on the house music map. "What John and Richiemade available to me is what I've always planned on using as a springboardto people here in L.A., which is to create a family. That led me to startBomb Records, which was intended to become a breeding ground for localtalent.
After a dozen releases wholly realized by David's driving passion, Bomb hasearned a solid reputation in clubland. "Bomb is a practice field and we'relearning as we go along. We're trying to develop a style while using it as aplatform to show that there's good music out here. We're chugging along,trying to find our niche. But in the process, I've finally found people tobuild a team around."
As David lays the groundwork to help Bomb blow up, DJing all over the worldremains a steady muse. "It's changed me immensely," acknowledges David,whose DJ sets run the gamut from deep and minimal to funky, phat and jazzy."I've been traveling heavily for four years and it's shown me how universalhouse music is and that it's beyond any one trend or scene. I've realizedhow fortunate I am that I can go to play at a club in Prague, Germany orSpain and have people know my work. It pushes me a little harder each time Ispin or go into the studio."
Possessing a firm knowledge of the past and a desire to make an impact ofthe future, it's an exciting time for David Alvarado. And he's only justbegun.