In walks Gracie Chavez, La Mera Mera in Houston Texas. Long time dj, founder of the Latin Bass / Tropical party called Bombón and general BADASS on and off the turntables. I wanted to get a profile of her since she’ll be joining Peligrosa at our monthly at Empire next week! But better than me asking her a bunch of dude stuff I asked Orquidea [ord-key-dee-ah] to hit her up. Hopefully you’ll be seeing more and more posts on the blog by Orquidea as she enjoys to write, enjoys to know stuff and enjoys combining the two. Take us away.
– Orión (exits)
– Orquidea (enters)
I chat with DJ Gracie Chavez about a lot of things. Work, boys, family and fun all included. Recently, however, we paused from our girly banter and I had the opportunity to discuss HER. Her dj origins, influences, current success, and how she does it all.
Since our introduction a couple of years ago I have come to admire Gracie; her work ethic, her dedication to the craft of djing and her continued support of others. As a Houston transplant myself, I have slowly learned about the many strains of creative genius that have had their starts in H-town. The latin/cumbia/tropical dance party that is Bombon has certainly been one.
I have had the pleasure of listening to and meeting the Bombon crew and their loyal friends and family. Along with La Mera Mera Dj Gracie Chavez, DJs Navo, OG Bobby Trill, Panchitron, and percussionist Ilya Janos provide the music. La Comadre MC Mel turns the party up. Jay Tovar, La Barba Brava, chronicles their adventures with his camera (LifeBeginsAtMidnight.com) as David Rodriguez provides unofficial security duty (he and former business partner Thomas Nual were the first to sponsor Bombon). David has effectively kicked me out of every Bombon event I’ve attended. VJ Exit provides visuals for Bombon and El Danzon. El Danzon is on Thursdays, at The Flat (http://theflathouston.com ) where DJs Gracie and Navo play weekly, remember that if you’re in Houston, Texas.
The following interview / Q&A between Gracie and I surmises quite accurately how awesome Gracie Chavez is. Enjoy.
1.How did you get started in the (music?) business?
I got started in the music business while I was finishing my BA in broadcast journalism at the University of Houston. I was a music editor/journalist for some local and national music mags, like URB and XLR8R, and got to travel quite a bit to cover stories. Since my feature stories mainly focused on electronic dance music, it was a natural progression that I DJ the white labels and vinyl promos I was acquiring.
About 15 years ago, I got my start DJing drum & bass, fine tuned my skill set with house, expanded on style by playing open format during the Rock Box days here in Htown, then rediscovered Latin music via ZZK Records digital cumbia releases.
2. What would you say is your work and music philosophy?
Work: Basically, have a purpose for what you’re doing; create a vision that can evolve; and always try to plan ahead. And lastly, be open and accessible. Without this, you don’t leave any room to grow.
Music: Celebrate your passion for music and embrace an appreciation for a spectrum of sounds. But most importantly, surround yourself with talented, creative individuals of any medium to keep you inspired and provoke you to be your best.
3. What are some of your Bombon highlights and favorite moments?
Our first out-of-town guest Sabo at Fox Hollow. Performing at last year’s LAMC after-party in NYC along with Que Bajo and a roster of all-stars in the cumbia sphere. Repping a Houston showcase with Bun B, Riff Raff and Fat Tony for Vice mag. Our Dallas invasion, and releasing first EP in time for SXSW this year.
4. What are some of your overall career highlights?
My recent nomination for Houston Press’ Best DJ/Club Night (Bombon was a nom last year). Performing at FPSF 2014; getting added to the Scratch Music roster in 2009; and last, but not least co-founding Bombón with Navó in 2010.
5. What is your secret to “doing it all?”
Enlist and rally a capable team because you can’t always do it all. And that applies to peers, friends and fam you can trust and respect.
6. What is your “must listen” playlist right now? Of all time?
1. Dude – Ape Drums & Phat Deuce
2. Red Nose (Dubbel Dutch Go-Go Bunx Re-tool) – Sage the Gemini
3. Las Brujas (Gracie Chavez & Squincy Jones remix) – Los Wawanco
4. It Goes Down – Booty Fade
5. Wassup – Sango x GoldLink
*. Do You… – Miguel (Cashmere Cat Remix) [Thats my jam!]
1. Tops Drop – Fat Pat
2. El Campanero – Aniceto Molina y Sus Sabaneros
3. Music Sounds Better with You – Stardust
4. Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode
5. Paul Revere – Beastie Boys
Come catch Gracie and the rest of the crew at our upcoming show on August 15th when Bombón and Peligrosa combine forces at Empire Control Room (www.empireatx.com). I look forward to reporting back on it and other musical happenings both in Austin and Houston.