Your Mix Fix: DJ Afro

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: Afro
MIXTAPE: Maletas Listas

Nowadays it’s quite common for singers, musicians, and all sorts of celebrities (rappers, models, porn stars, you name it) to claim they’re also DJs, simply because they have a laptop. They go out and announce their shows with a “DJ set” legend discretely hidden under their names on the flyer and they invariably disappoint their fans because they’re not doing what they’re known for and because, in most cases, they have no mixing skills and their “set” sucks.

In the case of Los Amigos Invisibles‘ guitarist José Pardo (a.k.a. Cheo, a.k.a. DJ Afro) it’s the other way around. He was already a DJ, mixing real sets with real vinyl records and turntables for many years before DJing became democratized, thanks to the advent of new technologies. And this is quite evident when listening to Los Amigos live: he structures the band’s set like a DJ mix, blending songs into one another or jamming some live mashups, stuff that can only come from the brain of an experienced DJ.

I don’t know why it took me so long to feature DJ Afro in this column, because he’s a true legend and he’s still super active as a mix master, constantly uploading mixtapes to his soundcloud (this one in fact is numbered #271!). Any true Amigos Invisibles fan will enjoy his eclectic taste, since it exposes many of the influences that he later employs in his compositions.