Growing up as a child of Catholic Mexican immigrants, the soundtrack of many of my earliest memories is Mexican regional music (think: mariachi and norteña). It wasn’t until my older siblings began listening to 90’s rap and R&B that I knew of anything else, so you can imagine what an awakening it must’ve been for me when I was 16 and stumbled across the music video for Eric Prydz’ “Call On Me” on YouTube. Although it’s not a sound that’s particularly exciting to me now, it’s what led me down the rabbit hole of electronic music.
For a couple of years, I was stuck listening to the big room, 1-2-3-4 jump drivel, but that got old, fast. While studying at university, a good friend introduced me to various electronic music artists who sounded completely different than anything I knew. Bicep, Maya Jane Coles, and Kerri Chandler were on the listening menu that night, and when I woke up the next day, I kept looking for any and all YouTube videos I could find of these artists, or anyone who sounded similar to them.
When something captivates my attention, I want to learn as much about it as I possibly can. I studied history, so my first instinct was to learn as much as I could about the roots of electronic music. I discovered how house music was born in Chicago, and techno in Detroit. I learned about how clubs and warehouses were not just the nesting grounds for DJs to play disco and nascent forms of electronic music, but also safe havens for marginalized groups of people otherwise shunned by society to be, free, unfettered versions of themselves. Because I grew up in such a conservative household, this really resonated with me. I wanted to share this knowledge with people, and the music that was an offshoot of that historical trajectory so that they too might experience a respite from personal and societal constraints.
I went on to host social gatherings where I was the aux cord master, and against the behests of some friends (“Please, no more deep house, Rosy!”), I continued to share music with groups of friends I thought would convert them to the underground. And slowly but surely, they beckoned the calling. My hope was to build community around music that would lead to the formation of meaningful relationships. And that’s fortunately what I’ve managed to do.
After more than a decade of being the over-enthusiastic music aficionado who mentally (sometimes verbally) dropped track IDs in the middle of DJ sets, and upon the insistence of many friends, I decided to start DJing. Many people have asked me why it took so long. It’s not like I’m tone deaf, I played musical instruments throughout my life. I deduced that I was scared not to be good enough at something that has been such a big part of my life for so long. But I’ve realized that DJing is an extension of what I’ve always enjoyed about electronic music: building community and sharing something exciting with others that might have a positive impact on their day, and maybe even week.
I mostly play house music, but will drop in some 90’s trance and breakbeat if I’m feeling adventurous. If I had to describe my sound, I’d say that it’s uplifting and cheeky with driving basslines, sprinkled with notes of levity. Some of my favorite labels include Hessle Audio, Toy Tonics, Kompakt, and Broadwalk, but there are really too many to name. My personal DJ heroes are Ben UFO, Octo Octa, Bicep, Kerri Chandler, KiNK, Helena Hauff, Frankie Knuckles, and Job Jobse.
I’m excited to share fun, danceable journeys with you and sounds that tickle your brain.
You can catch Estra every Sunday from 8 pm PST (Monday 4am GMT).