This issue, 5 Mag visits the Bay Area to meet industry vet Arturo Garces. Born and raised in San Jose, California, the DJ and producer has been surrounded by dance music his entire life. He has releases on labels from Henry Street, Robsoul, Large, Moulton Music, Magnetic, Kolour, Jump Recordings and many more.
This 5 Mag Mix was recorded live at The Endup in San Francisco in March 2018.
What was it like growing up in San Jose unwittingly listening to the roots of house from your dad’s record collection?
San Jose is one big melting pot. Growing up out here I was around all kinds of music but my dad’s influence was everything. He’s not a DJ, he just collected records. Every weekend he would blast something from James Brown, Curtis Mayfield to Marvin Gaye and wake the whole house up. We would be a little mad and eventually we would all be grooving and laughing. That’s how I remember things back then. I just loved how the music would make everything alright.
Do any particular records stand out?
Kerri “Kaoz” Chandler Presents Arnold Jarvis – Inspiration; R-Tyme – Use Me (MK Mix); The Untouchables – Just Da Way You Want; Romanthony – The Wanderer (Journey Man Thump).
You got your first sampler in 1995. How old were you and what did the earliest Arturo tracks sound like?
I was 19 when I got my first sampler (Ensonic ASR 10). My early music was downtempo beats to techno and everything in between. My first few solo tracks came out around 2000 and I worked a lot with my high school friend Lucas Rodenbush aka E.B.E., where in our multimedia class we had a sampler and for lunch we’d be in class sampling records.
What are the key machines you’re using now?
I’m running on a Mac with Logic Pro along with a Akai MPC 2500, Roland TR-09, Softubes Console 1 for mixing, and using UAD plugins mostly.
When you’re in the process of making something, what do you find comes naturally for you and what do you find yourself having to be intentional about working on?
When writing music I try to go with the mood I’m feeling that day. Some days it just flows and others I’m writing 4 or 5 ideas until something sticks. Once an idea is locked in I’m all about the drums and bassline. As a lover of all house music I like to write different styles and experiment.
At what point did you start managing labels and also start your own? What’s happening with them today?
Working with Lucas I learned a lot from him. He was running Solid Trax out of Solid Grooves, a local record store that was in San Jose. They ran everything from the back of the shop and I met Chris Jackson who was starting up Jump Recordings and Resource Records. I would help out when needed and would just soak everything up. I eventually started working for Jump as their distribution manager. Once the vinyl game dried up the label stopped releasing music. In 2008 Chris and I got together and decided to get things back up and go digital. I been the label manager for Jump Recordings & Resource ever since. I started my own label Beat Bum Music officially releasing music in 2011 although the concept “Beat Bums” was born in 1994. For my label it was more music that got rejected when sending out demos, so I decided to release it myself. Now we’ve been focusing more on artist from the Bay Area. Currently we are getting ready to release 20 Years of Jump Recordings with four volumes from the back catalog.
Tell me about how DJing started and who are the DJs who have had the biggest influence on what and how you play?
Growing up I was always around soul, disco, & funk, my dad’s friend Ronnie would make these tapes and he would always draw some sort of disco scene on the covers. I would collect these things like they were baseball cards. I would bump these tapes till they didn’t play anymore. Between those tapes, and listening to the mix shows on the radio (KSOL & KMEL) with DJs like Cameron Paul & DJ EFX sparked my interest in DJing. Around 1988 I started helping my cousin with his mobile gigs doing weddings, quinceañeras, and high school dances. He would store his equipment at my house in the basement. As soon as the coast was clear I’d set everything up and start practicing. I played everything back then. It wasn’t until I went to my first rave (Funky Tekno Tribe) in the early ’90s that changed everything.
I’d have to say Mark Farina was the one DJ that always did it for me. I would always bump his Cooking in the Kitchen mix and knew every track by heart.
What’s up with this SoundCloud episode mix series man? It’s huge and great and I’m a big fan sooo is just like something to keep you busy? Obviously the SoundCloud gods have been kind with all that you have uploaded. Almost to 100!
About three years ago I was talking with one of my mentors, and asked him for some advice on getting more exposure. He told me to start a podcast and the archives were born. I had a bunch of mixes from over the years just sitting around so every 2 weeks I started posting them. I do a Tuesday night party in San Jose called Rhythm Ritual. A lot of the newer mixes are from there.
This mix you’ve got for us is a live recording at The Endup in San Francisco? How was the night? I saw a video of you playing there in 2010 on vinyl and a rotary mixer so you’re no stranger there then?
I’ve been playing there since the late ’90s. The mix was recorded for a Sunday night party called Boogie that my friends Monica and Michael put together. The night was great, not too packed but just enough people to vibe with. The Endup is legend and it’s always a goodtime playing tunes there.
What’s coming up next for you?
I just had a release come out on Robsoul Recordings called “Break Bread” and the track “Catch Me” is coming out on a vinyl sampler with tracks from Phil Weeks, Iban Montoro & Jazzman Wax , & Joss Moog. I have another release set with Robsoul later this year called “My Technique”. Also, I have a collaboration project with Paul Najera (Late Night Jackin) coming out on Demuir’s Purveyor Underground imprint.