Remezcla checked in with Chicago native, Charlie Glitch (Carlos Rodriquez) and his record label, Ghetto Division. He invited us to his studio to see him in his prime. He is currently working on getting a spot in the 2011 Lollapalooza line-up, and a digital war is at hand with constant digital updating for his fans to vote on the latest mix. Ghetto Division dates back to 2007, and started as a collaboration with Hot Jams Records of Chicago. “It was just a group of us. We didn’t have a name or anything like that. A group of us from the Southside [of Chicago] that threw after-hour parties,“ says Glitch. Glitch clicks away on his laptop as he describes the origins, and talks about the moniker that grew out of the prevalent stereotype about the hood.
“We’re from the Southside. We’re all from the ghetto, but there was this division of us from the hood who were not gang affiliated, you know, street politics of that sort”
The crew of friends set out to create a new wave of original music, good times, and a long night of party. “We have all types of people go to our parties, and the party got the movement started.” Ghetto Division was born.
It doesn’t stop there; The way he sees it, Glitch is only laying the foundation for bigger success. “The origins are in Pilsen, and it is family based. We created it, but we represent all Chicago” says Glitch. As founder of a new record label, he isn’t afraid of showing his vision for the future and business morals. Throughout the whole conversation, he refers to his company as a crew, underscoring the collaborative environment. “We” becomes “us,” and all of the sudden even I feel like part of Ghetto Division. A song interrupts our conversation and silence ensues for a couple of seconds of listening. He breaks the silence:
“We do a little meditation before the party. You have to make sure you can read the crowd. ”
Small venues get packed with dancers, wallflowers, and strong supporters in Ghetto Division uniforms. They are all ready to have a good night full of memories, become Monday morning talk. Glitch says, “Usually, when we do play in Chicago we play at SmartBar, Congress, we really don’t try to have a residency.”
But if it’s not about the venues, not about Lollapalooza, and not about the money, then what is it all about? “It’s all about the party. It’s all about the music,” says Glitch. “I’m just Charlie Glitch here to send off positive energy for the future generations of music listeners and entrepreneurs.”
So in a way he’s a Robin Hood for the Chicago music scene, there’s nothing in it for him right? “I would like to believe that I give back to the community, but to me I’m just living life. I gotta keep doing what I do.” All in all, it’s a win-win situation then, the fans love what he does, and he too enjoys producing his music. He looks at ease and comments, “When it started four years ago we were just local DJ’s. Ever since then we’ve been on Europe tours, Mexico, across the US. We’re not famous. We’re not making millions of dollars, but the name is definitely getting across and our music is getting across. We’re international now.”
When I ask him about any advice for future entrepreneurs, he can’t help but chuckle, “This is not our job. It is what we love to do. If we can survive off of what we love, then why not? Put in one hundred percent you know?” With or without Glitch, the party keeps on going in Chicago, and Glitch does not plan on staying back. While in the studio he started brainstorming for new initiatives like a Ghetto Division magazine and even a community center for the arts. Once again Charlie Glitch succeeds to make “us” feel part of the party, and if you’re lucky enough on a summery Chicago night, you just might.