Mostly known in the San Francisco Latino music scene for being one of the resident DJ’s at the monthly Latin Fusion parties since the very beginnings, Colombian party animal Gota Fría is also currently making people dance at SubMission Art Gallery (formerly Balazo) and the recently inaugurated Pisco Lounge.
His sets are packed with high-energy up-tempo tropical party music and he’s not afraid of pleasing the masses with random classic pics.
Name: Eric Brewer-Garcia A.K.A. DJ Gota Fria
Roots: Half-Colombian, Half-American, Bay Area local, global citizen
Where do you live now?
Mission District, SF
Day job: Community organizer/urban planner
Movie that best represents your life:
Motorcycle Diaries (not because I think of myself like Che, but because I took a trip very similar to his when I was the same age as he was and it also really changed my life)
Last book you read:
If on a winter night a traveler, by Italo Calvino
When did you start doing DJ-ing Why?
I began DJ parties in 2005, but on some level I’ve been DJ’ing ever since I started listening to music. I’ve always tried to find just the right song/album/band to accompany the moment. At parties, I was always near the DJ listening to what music he was putting on. Finally, I just started doing it myself at friends’ parties.
How did you come up with your DJ name?
On one hand, I think it sounds cool, on the other, it’s a tribute to my Colombian roots. More specifically, when Carlos Vives came out with La Gota Fria back in 1992, that was one of the first songs that combined elements of rock and traditional music that became a megahit all over Latin America. It paved the way, not just for the rest of Carlos Vives’ career, but for the career of so many other Colombian and Latin American musicians.
What constitutes a bad or good listening audience?
A good listening audience is one where people actually like each other, and want to hang out and dance, and not just check each other out and look cool. If they’re really there to enjoy themselves, then the music you play can really contribute. If they’re just there to be poseurs, then the music you play is just background.
Where do you hang out when not DJing?
Café Revolution (22nd and Bartlett) is usually a safe bet for running into people that you know and having a great time, as is Radio Habana. Same with Afrolicious at the Elbo Room on Thursday nights.
Song that gets people dancing every time.
Vale la pena – Juan Luis Guerra
Where do you buy music?
When I pay for music, it’s either online (www.emusic.com, cdbaby.com) or at shows where the bands themselves are selling them.
How do you discover new music?
Podcasts (Ritmo Latino, Latin-roll), newspapers, magazines, surfing the web (see above), recommendations from websites of bands that I like, compilation cds, friends
Trying to get a DJ collective off the ground, my only regular weekly gig is Anjo Avesso (Brasil, beneath the skin) on Wednesday nights at Pisco Lounge (1817 Market St./Octavia, SF)
Who do you listen to when you’re not spinning?
I like the traditional stuff sometimes. Lately, I’ve been into a portuguese-speaking kick (fado, forro, morna), a flamenco kick (traditional, instrumental and neo-flamenco if it’s not too cheesy), and an afro-colombian kick (currulao, porro, puya, rumba, bullerengue).
Or to unwind, I put on something like Atahualpa Yupanqui, Lhasa, Paulinho Moska, Jorge Drexler.
Stuff in English, French, Italian, Arabic, too. I have music on pretty much at all times.
Do you have a favorite DJ?
I just discovered this Brazlian guy Marcelinho da Lua that I really like. I´m a big fan of Cut Chemist. Cheb I Sabah, Richard Blair, Senor Coconut… these are other famous guys that I like a lot.
What sets you apart from other DJ’s on the scene?
Like most DJs I think that the stuff I play is less commercial but just as danceable than the stuff other people play. But I do think that I am more willing to bring in dance music from other parts of the world. Also, for a non-Brazilian, I think that my Brazilian music collection is pretty extensive and I’m currently trying to expand it even more. Along those lines, the music I play at parties tends to have a little more in the way of Colombian music than other dj’s, for whatever that’s worth.
How has the CITY music scene changed over the years?
I feel like people are much more divided up into their subgenres now. I remember fondly the heyday of the International music scene back in 1999-2001. Then there was the time about 2-5 years ago when we had our little Latin Alternative music scene going pretty strong and vibrant. I’m sure something like that still exists, but my friends aren’t plugged into it as much anymore.
How do you deal with people’s song requests?
I listen to what they say… sometimes a request actually fits with the direction I wanted to go, so I play it. Usually, it doesn’t and I tell them that I’ll try to get to it later. If they’re way off base, I tell them there’s no way. But I don’t want to be one of those DJ’s that thinks of himself as better than everyone else.
What would be your dream venue to headline?
I don’t care about going big or slick. It’s honestly all about the crowd. If I’m in an environment where people are having fun, enjoying the music, then that’s the best. I suppose it would be really great to have my own place, where I could control the vibe and my friends could feel at home.
Music that you would like to play in your set but your audience doesn’t get it?
I would love to add more international music (rai, queto, zouk, bhangra, dancehall, etc.). I’d love to play more Brazilian music at Spanish-speaking Latin parties. I’d love to do some more hip hop.
If you could work with any artist/DJ/producer in the world, who would you choose to collaborate with?
I think that Ivan Benavides (formerly of Sidestepper and Bloque de Busqueda) is one of the greatest songwriters ever and I would love sit down and talk/play with him. Ramiro Musotto in Brasil is doing some amazing things with electronic music and acoustic instrumentation from around the world. I’d love to learn from him and see how he works.