Behind The Beat: Sonya Alvarez
Sonya Alvarez is making a name for herself in her hometown of Detroit. Playing a style that is all her own, Alvarez uses tech house beats spun and cut like hip-hop. Over the past few months, she has opened for DJs such as Kill Frenzy, Roger Sanchez, Solardo, Anna Lunoe, Will Clarke and Gene Farris. And we can’t forget to mention she holds a residency with Golf Clap’s Country Club Disco.
The Detroit native took time to go ‘Behind the Beat’ with us before her set at this year’s edition of Mamby on the Beach in Chicago.
OTB Exclusive: Sonya Alvarez – Mamby Warmup
Only The Beat: Previously, you had told me you haven’t been DJing for an extensive amount of time. What sparked the interest in DJing?
Sonya Alvarez: My interest came from just dancing, then dancing led me to my love for house music. From this point I knew within myself I wanted to be a DJ.
OTB: Being a Detroit native, playing weekly shows in the city, we see you hustling hard. Can you explain the culture that Detroit manifests within electronic music?
SA: Detroit really is an epicenter for electronic music with such strong roots of techno and house music. The term “Detroit Hustles Harder” is very true. With so many shows happening every weekend across the city, generally you can find some of the same attendees. You know the people attending are truly coming for the music.
OTB: You are booked almost every weekend in Detroit. Not too long ago you opened for Golf Clap in Florida, now you are here in Chicago. How does it feel to start expanding outside of Detroit and what do you see in the future?
SA: So excited to be expanding outside of Detroit, just to know that people will be coming out to see what I have to offer musically. It is really exciting for me to get to play for new crowds in different cities. I really like to get personal with the people I’m playing for, I love getting to meet new people. Being optimistic and open-minded doing this can go such a long way because you never know who you can meet. When it comes to traveling and touring, I never want to stop doing this.
OTB: You are closing out the Silent Disco stage tonight at Mamby. Have you gotten a good vibe from Chicago so far? Do you see yourself wanting to get booked in Chicago more often?
SA: I came early to Chicago so I could capture what this city has to offer and I have been blown away. I have experienced great hospitality from everyone. I think it comes down to just being nice to everyone and letting the universe reciprocate. I have been going to as many shows as I can to hear the sound Chicago offers. I feel honored to be where house music was born. Being able to represent Detroit techno in the Chicago house scene is just surreal.
Photo Credit: Cody Cade
OTB: Can you name the top four most influential DJs on your style: two from Detroit, two not from Detroit?
SA: Golf Clap, Twin Cousin + Shiba San, Kill Frenzy.
OTB: Some upcoming DJs, like yourself, get “taken under the wing” of a DJ that has already navigated down a path in their career. Do you have a DJ that has done this? If so, what impact have they had on you?
SA: My mentors for me are Bryan Jones and Hugh Cleal, aka Golf Clap. I am very fortunate to be so close with them. Find someone that will give you a solid mentorship and someone whose opinion really matters to you. These guys will tell me how it is. The constructive ideas they have, I really feel like it has evolved me.
OTB: Do you have any plans for producing any original tracks this year or early next year? Any possible collaborations producing tracks?
SA: In the next year to year and half you can expect to see original tracks coming from me.
OTB: Just before we talked about all the outstanding DJs that are playing Mamby on the Beach and Green Velvet celebrating 25 years of Relief Records. Can you tell us your top three DJs you want to see this weekend?
SA: Latmun was one I am most excited to see this weekend, I play a lot of his music when I am spinning. To see Green Velvet celebrating 25 years of Relief Records here in Chicago will be special. DJ Heather is also in the top three. I got to see her about a year ago at Grasshopper Underground. I feel a strong, spiritual connection to other female house DJ. She’s an inspiration to me.
She will continue to make the dance floor bounce from Detroit and beyond as she continues to progress in her career.
If you live in Akron or are nearby you can catch Sonya Alvarez at Thursday’s Lounge this Friday, July 14th. Get all the details here.