An interview with Oscar G

With a new album and live mix CD on the way, Disconnected caught up with the man from Miami, Oscar G about starting out, creating a label and the importance of residencies…

So, tell us a little bit about yourself – where did you grow up and where do you live now?


I was born and raised in Miami by Cuban parents and still live in the same neighborhood I grew up in.

How did you get into music?


I always enjoyed music ever since i can remember… I took piano lessons when I was a kid and also played the drums. I first heard a DJ mixing 
records on a mix tape when I was around 10… I was totally intrigued by how it was done.



What made you decide to make a career out of DJing?


I never decided to make it a career, it kind of just happened. I started DJing at a very young age (12) and began playing at house parties, school dances and pretty much anywhere they’d let me. Eventually I landed a gig at a club when I was 16. I’ve basically never stopped since.
!

Who or what were your biggest influences when starting out?


My biggest influences were legendary local Miami DJs like Ciro Llerena who had radio mix shows I would listen to religiously, along with music from Kraftwerk, New Order, Depeche Mode, Arthur Baker, Eric B & Rakim, Afrikka Bambatta… It was a great era of music and you would hear a diverse range of music on any given night. I was/am also very into traditional Cuban music like GuaGuanco..


Are these the same artists that influence your music today?


I think those influences are the foundation of what I do musically but I am constantly inspired and influenced by all different types of music and new artists. 


What is it that inspired you to make house music?


I started becoming interested when I would pick up records at the store that had ‘house mixes’. There wasn’t much of a house music scene in Miami at the time, so I would have to stay tuned in through the records I could find. A few years later I started traveling to New York and experienced DJs like Tony Humphries, David Morales, Junior Vasquez, Louie Vega and Timmy Regisford. I also got to hear a little known DJ at the time in Miami named Danny Tenaglia. These guys taught me what playing house music was all about and changed my path as a DJ/Producer.



As well as flying solo, you’re part of a few collectives i.e. Murk, Deep South, Liberty City and Funky Green Dogs – can you tell us a little about these projects?


These are all basically different guises I went under with my long-time production partner and friend Ralph Falcon. We had different sounds and concepts we were experimenting with over the years and would give them these aliases.



Since DJing as ‘Murk’ you guys then created Murk Records. How did this come about, what influenced the decision to start a label?


We started the Murk label as a platform for our music. We had been sending out demos to labels for some time without any feedback or interest. At the time nobody was taking Miami seriously as a breeding ground for house music. We felt there was a place for our records in the world of house music so we decided to put it out ourselves independently. We saved up some cash from DJ gigs and pressed up a batch of records. The demand was greater than the supply almost immediately and from there everything changed for us.



You’ve won a lot of awards within the music industry, how important is this to you and do you think it is something young, aspiring producers should still strive to achieve today?


Awards are great for the ego I guess but they aren’t something I necessarily strive for. I appreciate the recognition but I am always more concerned with evolving as an artist and pushing myself to get better and stay relevant. I look at awards as the products of hard work… So I would tell aspiring producers to focus on developing their own sound rather than the awards.



You’ve played venues all over the globe, which is your favourite place to visit and why?


I love New York! It has a long, rich history of dance music and you feel it when you play there. I always feel like I have to be at my best when I play there.



Which has been your most enjoyable gig and why?


The whole experience of having a 10 year residency in my hometown at an amazing club like Space was a dream come true. There is nothing like playing at home.



Which has been your worst show?


When you have been DJing as long as I have you get to experience a good amount of crappy gigs… Let’s just say I prefer to focus on the positive!



You’re well known in Miami for your residency at Club Space, what is it that you enjoy about playing your infamous 10 hour sets?


I think playing an entire night to a regular audience is becoming a lost art. There are many DJs flying around currently doing 2 hour sets in a different city every night. There are very few established residents holding down clubs on a weekly basis. This breeds the inconsistency and reliance on guests to fill clubs. It has also made most clubs event/promoter driven rather than music driven. It creates a scene where DJs are booked based on their ability to draw heads rather than their ability to carry a night. I think it is a healthy exercise for a DJ to learn to carry a weekly night, beginning to end on their own, a true resident. Too many “DJ”s these days create a track on their laptop, put it up on beatport, get a website, logo, hair-do and then finally, they start playing gigs without much experience or knowledge on how to properly carry a set/night. Any city on the planet that has a strong house music scene, I guarantee you, had a strong crop of residents who created it.



What advice would you give to a young hopeful trying to make it as a producer today?


Be original! Develop your own sound and style. Study the greats, allow yourself to learn and be inspired. Do your homework.

Oscar G’s ‘Live From NYC’ will be available November 29th. The release houses 2 CDs, a superb house mix recorded live from Pacha in New York, which is accompanied by 10 fresh tracks infused with Afro-Cuban flavour.

For more info check out www.djoscarg.net or to buy the new album click here.

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