During Memorial Day, some like to barbecue, melt in the sand, or maybe just catch up on some sleep. Miami electronic juggernauts, however, take this long weekend as a savage marathon of nonstop raving, partying, and dancing.
We found no better way to close the weekend out than with a Nicole Moudaber beach lollapalooza. The afternoon show took place on Virginia Key; a long strip of beach that is surrounded by azure water while concrete strips of highway hover off in the distance like humble behemoths.
The concert grounds stood right before the beach. The space was intimate, but allowed for dancing room on the grass. Some wore traditional club garb of black on black apparel, while others wore bikinis and tank tops. The crowd was friendly and it was clear that they were there for the music. The blistering sun stood with aplomb while it tanned and burned the flesh of the concertgoers; there was no escaping the heat.
Before Nicole played, Germany’s Pan-Pot went behind the decks. The duo used the sun as inspiration to play hot and heavy techno. Hi-hats and bass were in full effect as they continued to heat up the crowd before “the queen of techno” went full throttle.
Nicole is quite familiar with Miami, having played just about every club and festival the city can offer. She has truly branded herself and has become symbolic in the world of techno. Her set consisted of dark techno that officially put a stop to the long weekend. The tranquil waves that brushed up onto the beach warped perfectly into her dark and warped sounds, while the smell of the ocean balanced the smell of unfiltered Marlboros and weed.
The world of techno continues to bow its head at her feet and we can only wait until her next trip down south. Headliners aside, The four openers, Fiin, Carabetta & Doons, Donnie Lowe, and ALX, were all Miami locals. They continue to make the city thrive with unpronounced potential.
Alex Sanchez, aka ALX, started DJing when he was a teenager. “My brother got me into electronic music back when I was listening to hip-hop.” Alex has built quite a reputation for himself over the years, thanks to a residency at Heart Nightclub and a former residency at Club Space, as well as performing in Europe and at Mexico’s BPM festival.
We spoke under a shaded park bench next to the vivacious colored changing rooms. All of which overlooked the water.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’ve been DJing for about eight years. I seriously got into it four years ago. My brother was the one that got me into the electronic scene. He was listening to electronic music when I was still listening to hip-hop. He influenced me a lot. It all came down to two close friends of mine, Peter and Gabe. They installed a DJ system in my house for a party, I started messing around and it turned into a hobby and then happened from there.
Explain how you got to play at BPM, Heart, and Mansion. How was the journey?
It’s a climb. I started playing small parties, started networking and getting to know people. I never said ‘hey I’m a DJ, can I play?’ I just got to know them. I played any show I could get and started climbing the ladder until I was the resident at Club Space. Now I’m the resident DJ at Heart Nightclub. I love Heart, I love the vibe and all my friends are the ones running the club. Then I started my label [Descend] which lead to the BPM party. It was way bigger than any of us expected. It shut down blocks; I was quite humbled by that.
Why did Descend come about?
I just wanted to have my own label, my own party, my own brand. I wanted to do my own thing. I see the vision of sound the way I see it. I have more freedom.
You opened for Nicole and Pan-Pot before; how do you choose to set the mood for a headliner?
I do my own thing, but I also know their sound and how hard they’re going to play. I showcase myself while also being respectful to the headliner. Be yourself, but be mindful of whom you are opening for.
What are some upcoming projects?
We just signed a new label manager, Mike. He goes by the nickname ‘Dirty Socks.’ He’s great. We have a great EP coming out by Elio Riso with an Oscar L remix. I have a new EP coming up. One of my young guys, Bryan Estefani, has an EP coming out. Carabetta & Doons [two openers from the show] are releasing an EP. I’m getting ready for the summer, I’m going to Europe for a bunch of shows. I’m going to focus on running the label and focusing myself as a artist. We’re going to be doing a lot of Descend shows come September.
What do you never take for granted about Miami?
I’ll never take for granted the club scene. I’m really proud of the techno scene and how it’s growing. Parties are more packed with more energy. It’s amazing, i’ll never take it for granted.
Who are your influences?
Dubfire. I’ve listened to him for years back when he was with Deep Dish. Of course Carl Cox. Adam Beyer and the whole Drumcode label. He’s one of the main reasons why I got into techno and wanted to start Descend. Pan-Pot is a huge influence. They bring a big energy. I love old school hip-hop: Nas, Biggie, Mobb Deep, Tupac.
Any words of advice for emerging DJs and producers?
Focus on producing music. Focus on your DJ skills and network. Don’t ask for a gig, become friends. If you have the skills and the talent and are humble, you will get opportunities to rise in the scene.
Where do you want to see yourself in the next five years? Where do you see techno going?
I truly believe techno is just starting to get big now. It still has a lot of room to grow. I see myself being up there with the big boys. I know I’m definitely working hard achieving that. I have my goal and mind set to that. I have the right team next to me to help grow it.
Do you believe in luck?
I do believe there is luck but I also think you bring luck to yourself by your mentality. If you’re negative, you’re not going to have luck. If you’re positive, luck will come to you.
We will all be keeping a look out for Descend. The label is only expanding with numerous more artists to come.
Connect with ALX: