Hey DJ! Friday Q&A: Roger Más
DJ Roger Más goes for the Latin flavor whether you're talking records or restaurants. The KALX DJ turned Mission turntable master lists off his favorite taco trucks unprompted, and he keeps the vinyl bilingual on both sides of the Bay.
Every Saturday, you can ask for mucho Más at the Make-Out Room, where his ¡El Superritmo! evenings swing from cumbia to reggae to salsa and beyond. Later in June he'll be dragging the record trunk down to Skylark, schooling the 16th St. crowd on classic cumbia and the like. And for those in Berkeley, his Latin parties hit the Missouri Lounge on certain Fridays. Below, he gives a shout-out to local Latin music urbanite Santero and explains his passion for myriad genres en Español.
Name: DJ Roger Más
Club night(s): ¡Oyelo! Thursdays @ Skylark; Hellamundo -The Spanish Channel @ Missouri Lounge Every 4th Friday; ¡El Superritmo! -Saturdays @ Make-Out Room.
Style(s) of music you spin: Cumbia, reggae Español, 80s and 90s dancehall, salsa, rumba, guaguanco, rock en Español, electro, 80s en Español, 80s en Ingles, hip-hop en Ingles y Español y mucho mas.
Cumbia seems to have really taken hold in the San Francisco DJ world. What is it about the music that makes it so popular here do you think? Classic Cumbia has a comfortable 4/4 time signature and heavy bass which mix easily into any other 4/4 dance music. Monterrey's (Mexico) Sonidero Nacional really struck a perfect balance of heavy dancefloor production with classic flavor, creating the new modern sound of Cumbia with the Toy Hernandez production of Celso Piña's "Cumbia Sobre El Rio" back in 2001. New Cumbia has become a recent fad, but little of the neo sound is as danceable as the true sound of the classics.
After the fanfare of the Neo Cumbia movement fades, I will still be playing my classic 60-70s Cumbias, Porros, Paseitos, Gaitas y Vallenatos, as I simply find them more danceable than a lot of the newer infusions.
So what's your story, in 100 words or less? I've been loving music since I was big enough to scratch my dad's albums (It's a Beautiful Day) ...been DJing in bars since I was 19. Through collecting New York (Puerto Rican) salsa since the mid 90s, I discovered Cumbia and other Latin genres along the way. At KALX I began superimposing genres such as hip-hop and country to follow the format and found my sound consisting of remixed or re-fattened world music (beats in strange places). I continue to dig for Latin gems as well as African music of Africa and Latin America, India and Suriname ...where's that?
Name of a track you can't get out of your head: "Burrup" by Nardo Ranks.
Name of an artist you're currently championing in your DJ sets: Santero, particularly the song "Checherengoma" El DJ Kool Kyle Mix
What's been your best crate digging experience in another country? In a Mexico City bookstore I stumbled upon five piles of records stacked four feet high. It was messy on the sidewalk as I carefully dismantled the piles of records, but it was totally worth it! I found some Sonora Dinamita records as well as a Los Dinners album that I quickly scratched off my want list. There were also some decent Disco en Español records and they were all in good condition ...at about 30 cents each you won't find me complaining. I play the Dinners record almost every time I play.
What currents drive both African and Latin music do you think? The Humboldt Current, Atlantic North Equatorial Current, Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Current, Canary Current, South Atlantic Gyre, South Equatorial Current, Brazil Current, Antarctic Circumpolar Current,
Benguela Current...I think that just about covers it!
Musical mantra: ¡Sueltala pa' que se defienda!
Favorite DJ experience: The wedding of my friends Tito and Mara in Cuernavaca last year. It was at a beautiful Hacienda of a former sugar processing plant. It was very fancy all around and I played for over six hours for a mix of New Yorkers and Mexicanos ...and I am still standing!
Worst request: "Can you play something I can dance to?" (Damn near everyone else was dancing at the time of this request).
Worst club faux pas you've committed: I don't speak French but...okay, I recently forgot to reset my clock and called last call an hour early....oops!
Most treasured vinyl score: Alfredo Gutierrez Y Los Caporales Del Magdalena ¡Asi es... con Salsa! Not incredibly rare, but this album is excellent all the way through and has some really nice up-tempo salsa-cumbias that get people up on the dance floor in the first 30 seconds.
What other music-related projects are you currently working on? Upcoming releases on Club Unicornio Records include the "Esqueletos" 7" remix as well as a tribute to Anibal Velazquez coming out later this year.
* The forthcoming Los Pinche Malditos ep
* ...and we are going to finish The Thermal Idiots 12" this year dammit!
What elements would your fantasy club night entail? Basically ¡El Superrritmo! The only thing that would make it better is if they turned the Make-Out Room into a topless bar...I think you need a special license for that.
Question we didn't ask you but you often ask yourself: Is it taco time?
Favorite taco truck: Guadalajara Restaurant Truck, 1003 Fruitvale, Oakland, CA 94601. It's all about the Al Pastor Tacos with extra jalapeños. Sacrelicious!
Runner up: El Tonayense, SF
Next time we can see you spin: Saturday June 6, 13, 20, 27th Make-Out Room; Thursdays beginning June 18th at Skylark.