Introducing…DJ Nando

Read more

A usual suspect of the Chicago alternative scene, DJ Nando has been perfecting the art for over two decades. It’s hard to miss him if you’re out any happening venue. After a great run of INDIEcent parties last year, look out for Nando’s new Latin alternative parties this year. As a firm believer of the existence of the “Latino Hipster” , this DJ’s touch has continued to stay current and relevant in the scene. Visit his site, or his page for a full-line up of  upcoming shows.

Name: Fernando Garza
Age: fighting to hold on to my 30’s
Roots: Mexico
Where do you live? Southwest side of Chicago

Current obsessions/addictions: Facebook, surfing blogs for music, and Ableton Live.

Movie that best represents your life: High Fidelity – I can totally relate to John Cusack’s character.

Last book you read: Mmm, probably a software manual if that counts.

When did you start doing DJ-ing Why? 1983, one of my friend’s older brothers had technics 1200 turntables and we used to sneak into his room when he wasn’t home to mess around with his equipment.

How do you define your sound? Bilingual electro rock that makes you shake your ass

How did you come up with your DJ name? It has changed so many times that I decided to just keep it simple, my real name is Fernando.

What constitutes a bad or good listening audience? A good listening audience is easy to describe, they are open minded, and don’t request whatever they just heard on the radio on their way to the party.  They dance to anything you play and make you feed off of their energy, nothing can beat that feeling. I wouldn’t necessarily call any audience bad, there’s always someone in a crowd who might like at least one song they haven’t heard before, and when that happens, you’re set hasn’t been a total waste.

Have you spinned in in other cities? I played a few places when I lived in L.A., NYC last year, and Acapulco for a DJ Dance Expo in 2000, but Chicago has always been “home”.

Whats your favorite phrase/saying you use to hype up an audience? I try not to talk on the mic, it’s really not my thing.  I prefer that people remember the music they heard.  I’ll leave the talking to all the MC’s and Sonideros out there.

Where do you hang out when not DJing? I like to check out local rock bands, concerts, or chilling at a small lounge with close friends. I’m a big fan of the Dark Wave Disco parties, it’s an indie electro party held at Sonotheque, which happens to be one of my favorite lounges.  Whenever I feel the need to cleanse the musical palette, I’ll go check out a house music night at Darkroom or BBR, depending on the DJ.

2009 music predictions: I’m hoping that the small number of people I’ve met at the INDIEcent parties at Spot 6 last year continues to grow and spreads the word about what I and others are trying to do here.  I would like to think that people are sick of reggaeton and this is the year it dies.  As for a prediction, I predict it will be revealed that Ivy Queen is (or was) really a man.

Song that gets people dancing every time: In 2008, Kinky – “A Donde Van Los Muertos,” it sort of became my trademark first track for many of my sets. ha ha

Guilty pleasure: Menudo, Timbiriche…I’m an 80s kid, what can I say?

Laptop DJs vs. vinyl? I think all DJs should at least know how to manipulate their MP3s and beat match with vinyl control records as a way to respect the art.  Anybody can push buttons and have the software autosync the beats for you, I just think that’s cheating.  Having said that, technology and DJing go hand-in-hand, I converted to Serato 3 years ago and haven’t looked back.

Where do you buy music? I often buy digital tracks on iTunes and Beatport.  I’ll also buy an actual CD when there’s a new release or something is not available in the US and have to order over seas.

How do you discover new music? Myspace, music blogs, and fellow music aficionados.

Current projects? Developing and launching my website and planning the next series of Latin Alternative dance parties in Chicago.

Biggest challenges? Finding a cool venue that is willing to open it’s doors to a Latin Alternative event.  Most club owners hear the word “Latin” and immediately stereotype the type of crowd it attracts as urban.  There is such a thing as a Latino Hipster, or is it Jipster? ja ja

Plans for the future? Take my music production more seriously and get some remixes under my belt.  I just need to find the time and focus on it.

What makes someone a “cosmopolatino”? The need to expand their knowledge of Latino art, music, culture, and continuously searching for not just what everyone is doing, but what else can they do.