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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I talked to Alf Alpha at the Coachella Valley Art Scene gallery after he had just returned from a trip to Arizona, where he'd made some DJ appearances for Adidas.

“I got to fly a helicopter,” he said, somewhat mysteriously.

Now that he’s back home, he’ll be performing as part of Splash House on Sunday, June 15, at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs.

Alf Alpha—aka Rafael Lopez—said his DJ name came from a friend who put him on the flier as such for his first-ever live performance, a show in Cathedral City during his junior year of high school.

“He said, ‘Give me something to run with.’ I explained that because my name was Rafael, people called me ‘Rafa,’ ‘Rafy’ and other names,” Lopez said. “I told him, ‘Hey, what if we put ‘Alpha Ralfa?’ He looked at me said, ‘I don’t know; I’ll figure it out.’ He went home, did the flier and printed ‘Alf Alpha,’ and brought it to school the next day. From that day, it stuck.” 

Lopez said he developed a love of music at an early age. His family always included mariachi and other types of music at birthday parties, his older sisters’ quinceañeras, and other gatherings and celebrations.

“I just remember live music at my house and having a party,” he said. “My house was like the party house. I sort of got inspired by seeing the music and the mariachis when I was a kid and thought, ‘That’s awesome!’ So that was my first intro into music and the concept of performing.”

He said a key moment came at a bar mitzvah party, where the DJ let him and other kids take home singles from his collection.

“At the end of his DJ set, he had a bunch of promos of hip-hop cassette tapes. He let all of us stick our hand in and take two,” he said. “I reached in and got Dr. Dre’s ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ and Ice Cube’s ‘It Was a Good Day.’ I think I was in second-grade when that happened. I went home and played Dr. Dre over and over and over again, and I got into the idea of hip hop.”

When he was a teenager, he got into punk music and took up the drums.

“My dad bought me a drum set; that was probably around seventh-grade,” he said. “I got into a phase during those years where I got into punk rock—bands like NOFX and the Circle Jerks,” he said. “I never really took lessons or anything. I was just in the garage banging on drums, playing by myself, and annoying my neighbors to shit. But I think that was the concept where I learned about making beats. In DJing, it’s just like being a percussionist.”

In high school, he played soccer and heard his teammates talk extensively about DJing, and attending the Nocturnal Wonderland festival at the Empire Polo Fields in 2000—followed by the fledgling Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, aka Coachella. He started learning how to mix house music, working on his scratching technique, and developing his style. 

Today, he’s a successful and widely known DJ. However, he said it didn’t come to him easily.

“It was pretty tough,” he said. “For basically two years, I was in my room and trying to figure it out.”

He started what he now calls his World Famous shows in the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in 2011. Goldenvoice took notice and put him on the bill for Coachella in 2011, which began a working relationship with Goldenvoice that exists to this day, and has led to more appearances at the festival and related events. He said his appearance in 2011 was a dream come true.

“I’ve played Coachella for three years, and I was fortunate enough to play the S.S. Coachella, which is that cruise,” he said. “When they reached out to me for 2011, I didn’t believe it. When someone sends you an email from Coachella saying, ‘Hey, we want you to play,’ I think someone is pulling my leg or something. They said they wanted to make sure I was available and then told me I was booked. It was really cool to play in the Sahara tent and the Oasis Dome tent.”

Lopez credits Goldenvoice for making a difference by putting the Coachella Valley on the map as a musical destination, as well as inspiring new venues and new bands.

“I think there was a time when there really weren’t all that many people doing stuff, or they were very cliquish,” he said. “The rock people had their own scene; the hip-hop people had their own scene—and it wasn’t really a scene, and more like groups. I think it’s kind of the same now, but I think the Internet has changed that. The desert has talent, and some of (the bands), like Slipping Into Darkness and Machin’, have played Coachella.”

When asked about his performance at Splash House, he did not offer many specifics, although he did say his collaboration with Independent contributor All Night Shoes (who is also playing Splash House, at The Saguaro on Friday, June 13) will probably be played live.

“I’m not really into a setlist and am more into having a vibe,” he said. “I kind of just like to work with the vibe. I have an hour set, so I’m just going to try and get through everything I can.”

For more information on Splash House, visit splashhouse.com.

Published in Previews

I am excited to bring you the second entry in my summer Poolside Vibes series!

These Poolside Vibes mixes are meant to offer a backdrop for the events of your summer. It’s no secret that the pool is the place to be once the hot weather hits us. Last month, I introduced you to my brand of pool-themed sounds to help you both heat up and cool off.

Vol. 2 continues that trend and takes you deeper into the sounds of summer. Enjoy this mix, and share it with those you love.

Catch me this month at The Hood Bar and Pizza on June 5 for locals night; at Schmidy’s Tavern on June 21 for The Beer Goddess’ 6-Pack Anniversary Party (more on that elsewhere in the issue); and at Francesca’s Summer Music Festival at The Gardens on El Paseo on June 27!

More dates will be announced, so follow me on Twitter at @allnightshoes. I hope to see you out there!

  • Glen Check, “The Coast” (Glen Check Summer Remix)
  • Lovebirds featuring Lisa Shaw, “Holdin On” (Lovebirds 808ies Matrix Edit)
  • The Alexanders featuring Anna Lunoe, “Don’t Miss”
  • Alexander and The Supertraxxe, “Only a Feeling”
  • Katy B, “Still” (Billion Remix)
  • 50 Cent, “Straight to the Bank” (R0se Remix)
  • Indeep, “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” (LeMarquis Remix)
  • All Night Shoes, “Do It Baby”
  • Lorde, “Tennis Court” (Flume Remix)
Published in Subatomic

SynthEtiX —aka Alvaro Sandoval—is a local DJ who has a unique house/techno sound. He frequently collaborates with Independent contributor All Night Shoes, aka Alex Harrington. He has performed at Clinic, Schmidy’s Tavern, Coachella Valley Brewing Co. and a variety of other local spots. For more information on SynthEtiX, visit www.facebook.com/SynthEtiX.Official; hear some of his mixes at www.mixcloud.com/SynthEtiX.

What was the first concert you attended?

Monster Massive (a Halloween-themed electronic dance music festival in Los Angeles), in 2008.

What was the first album you owned?

Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Little Dragon, Chromeo and Darkside.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Indie.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Chemical Brothers.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Omarion.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Exposition Park (in Los Angeles).

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Little sister, can’t you ...,” from “Little Sister,” Queens of the Stone Age.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Richie Hawtin inspired me to experiment and be myself—to DJ what I like to listen to, and to find other people with similar tastes instead of trying to appeal to those I don’t understand.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

Mat Zo: “Will you work with me?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Thing Called Love,” Above and Beyond.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Hot Natured,” Benediction. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Published in The Lucky 13

The summer weather has arrived, and with it comes the close to another “season” in our valley.

Poolside is the best place to be over the next few months, so I thought I would debut some of my new track selections. I have been immersing myself in more chilled-out, deeper dance music, with elements that can take the listener to distant places. This month, I have provided a perfect audio backdrop to your summer festivities. Chill out with this FRESH Sessions mix at your next pool party or tanning session, and enjoy the hot cuts and deep grooves.

I will be playing at the Coachella Valley Brewery, 30640 Gunther St.m in Thousand Palms, on Saturday, May 3, at the Beer and Bruises fundraiser for the Coachella Valley Derby Girls! The event goes from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes all kinds of fun stuff. Come have a beer, and support some local awesomeness! Follow me at www.facebook.com/ansofficial for more gig info.

Here’s the May track list. Scroll down to listen, and enjoy!

  • CFCF, “Invitation to Love”
  • AIMES, “Keep on Movin’”
  • Kartell, “Two Step” (Original Mix)
  • The Players Union, “Barry and Marvin”
  • Patrick Baker, “Control”
  • Soho808, “Get Up Disco”
  • Moon Boots, “Got Somebody”
  • Irish Steph (featuring Eleven), “Crush” (Eumig and Chinon Remix)
  • Perseus, “Running Back to You”
  • Crayon featuring KLP, “Give You Up” (Darius Remix)
  • All Night Shoes, “Out of Time”
Published in Subatomic

Ryan Sheridan, a DJ known by music fans as Gossip Culture, has created some great dance cuts—which you can catch for yourself at Birba on Friday, April 18, at the Catching Shade party, produced by Cream and Eventseeker.

The event’s sponsors include the Coachella Valley Independent, and other performers include Templeton, from Los Angeles; Cream DJs, a collective out of Los Angeles; and local favorite (and Independent resident DJ) All Night Shoes, aka Alex Harrington.

If you fire up Sheridan’s Soundcloud, you’ll hear dance music presented in a very unique way. During a recent phone interview, Sheridan discussed Gossip Culture’s beginnings in Cleveland (which is also my hometown).

“In Cleveland, I had my original first band,” Sheridan said. “It was a trio, and it was called Gossip Culture. I played the venues there called Happy Dog, the Grog Shop and the Beachland Tavern for about two years before I moved to Los Angeles.”

While Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has a vibrant music history, the city’s local-music scene has been in a bit of a rut, with some of Cleveland’s legendary music venues closing up shop.

“The rock hall is there, and there are a lot of good people there,” Sheridan said. “The Black Keys from Akron, and Kid Cudi—it’s funny, because all of these people come from Cleveland, and it seems like they don’t represent it when they get out of there.”

Sheridan said he left Cleveland for Los Angeles because of opportunity and exposure.

“Gossip Culture is very Internet-based,” Sheridan said. “When I first came here, Binary Records and a lot of bookers in downtown Los Angeles were saying, ‘We’d like to book you and help you get set up.’ So that was my main motivation for coming out here. Gossip Culture as a band slowed down, but once I was out here, I met my producers.”

When he began to start recording material, he had a lot of help in high places.

“A lot of the people who helped me make my music are people from Mayer Hawthorne’s band,” Sheridan said. “We kind of just put all of our brains together, and we had hip-hop, soul and a lot of other things. Topher Mohr co-produced it; I just hit him up online and was like, ‘Hey, I’m in L.A., and I have my demos, and they need a good mix,’ and he directed me to a studio in Culver City, and it went from there.”

The material that Sheridan puts together as Gossip Culture gives him the opportunity to work with many Los Angeles artists. For example, his track “Waiting” features Quincy McCrary, a Los Angeles songwriter and vocalist.

“I feel lucky with the way I got hooked up, but it also happened really fast, because everything was here,” Sheridan said. “In Cleveland, there are a lot of really cool people, but it’s hard to make a record there.”

Sheridan said attendees of Catching Shade will be treated to some brand-new music.

“The DJ set is going to be some new remixes, and there’s a new ‘Waiting’ remix from a guy named OneFive, and he’s actually from Orange County. I’m also going to play a lot of throwback stuff. I feel like a lot of DJs try to pump you up, and I’m trying to slow things down a bit. It’s still going to be tropical, but we’re going to keep the BPMs under 120.”

Catching Shade starts at 9 p.m., Friday, April 18, at Birba, 622 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is $8; 21 and older. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

Published in Previews

Welcome to the March edition of FRESH Sessions!

I want to thank Ivanna Love (aka Cici Ochoa) for stepping in last month with her selection of tracks. There are more guest mixes on the way!

I am always looking to evolve and share the best tracks I can find, often featuring local talent. This month, I've featured a track from Coachella Valley favorite Pedro Le Bass. You can find his music via at soundcloud.com/pedrolebass.

Follow me on Facebook for an up-to-date list of shows. I'll be at Clinic Bar Lounge on Friday, March 7, and toward the end of the month, on Friday, March 28, I am part of the lineup for the NestEggg Food Bank Benefit Show at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. (The show was organized by my friend Brian Blueskye, of the Independent!)

The March FRESH Mix is embedded below. Enjoy!

  • Basement Love, “Boy”
  • Toro y Moi, “Harm in Change”
  • Yuksek featuring Amanda Blank, “Extraball” (Tobasko Remix)
  • Colby O’Donis, “State of Mind” (Pedro Le Bass’ Pharmacy Remix)
  • Framewerk, “Electric Religion” (Original Mix)
  • Ks French, “Ain’t Nobody” (Ks French Re-edit)
  • Kant, “Love Like This” (Original Mix)
  • All Night Shoes, “So Far Away”
Published in Subatomic

Thanks for checking out another FRESH Sessions installment!

To keep things FRESH, I will be bringing in various local DJs to guest mix throughout the year. This month, we are featuring our first FRESH Sessions guest DJ!

Ivanna Love aka, Cici Ochoa, is a local who has been in the scene for some time now. Ivanna’s style is eclectic; in just one set, you’ll most likely hear tracks from several different genres. She keeps it upbeat; she keeps it fun; she keeps it FRESH. Ivanna is an inspiration with her positive attitude and impressive tastemaker skills.

This month’s mix offers a perfect example of the vibe that Ivanna Love brings. She’s a great person who creates great music. So without further ado, I present to you Ivanna Love’s FRESH Sessions, which you can enjoy below.

Oh, and don’t forget to catch my Cosmic Disco House Party, starting at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, at Clinic Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. There’s no cover!

  • Lusine, “Lucky”
  • Aimlo, “Understand (I Love You)”
  • Maya Jane Coles, “Something in the Air”
  • Kartell, “Sierra”
  • Simian Mobile Disco, “Everyday”
  • Sharam Jey, “Here I Come”
  • Alf Alpha, “Planet Rock” (Remix)
  • Franz Ferdinand, “Evil Eye” (Alan Braxe Remix)
  • Cut Copy, “Saturdays”
  • Hot Natured, “Reverse Skydiving”
  • Ed Ed, “Mulackritze” (Oliver $ Remix)
  • Crazibiza, “Keep It Comin”

Mixed by Ivanna Love; mastered by All Night Shoes.

Published in Subatomic

Another month, another FRESH Mix!

This is the third edition of the FRESH Mix—and, of course, the last of 2013. I want thank everyone who has been following the FRESH Mix. I am passionate about sharing the music I love with people. I also want to thank the Coachella Valley Independent for being brave enough to host this feature!

Ok, that's enough. Let's get to the music!

This month’s FRESH Mix is focused on a deeper style of music. Not all electronic music features massive synthesizer lines and giant bass kicks. In fact, some has a sound that can best be described as "chilled out." I personally enjoy deep house, because it can easily blend with other styles, such as my favorite—disco!

The final track is a remix from local Coachella Valley DJ/producer A_Onceler, aka 20-year-old Aaron Rodea. While he's still finding his style, Aaron has already done a handful of mixes that show off his skills. I asked him to remix my track "Like This" for my debut album, Slow Emotion, and he did not disappoint.

I look forward to rocking out with you all in 2014! Thank you—and as always, the best is yet to come.

Enjoy this mix, embedded below. Enjoy!

  • Deepjack and Room4Space, “Right Here” (Original Mix)
  • Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith, “La La La” (Oliver Nelson and Tobtok Remix)
  • JBAG, “Mogadisco” (Original Mix)
  • Just Kiddin, “The One” (Original Mix)
  • Bit Funk, “It Ain’t Easy”
  • Quinten 909 and Rob Black, “No One Like You”
  • Fare Soldi, “Frum Frum” (Original Mix)
  • Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E, “Need U (100%)” (Amtrac Remix)
  • All Night Shoes, “Like This” (A_Onceler Remix)

Published in Subatomic

It’s no secret: Disco is back! A genre long mocked has returned with a new face.

I have been a fan of disco since I was a kid. The Bee Gees, Electric Light Orchestra, Chic—I could go on and on. These acts were the top ticket in town for a good part of the ’70s and early ’80s. Of course, some of us may remember a night when a certain baseball team burned disco records, calling it the death of disco.

Fast forward to 2013, and disco has returned to Top 40 radio via acts including Bruno Mars and Daft Punk. The Coachella Valley fell into “disco fever” this year with Splash House, a disco- and dance-themed pool-party festival.

This month’s FRESH Mix is dedicated to disco with some familiar tracks, some new ones, and some you’ve probably never heard. Use this mix at your next house party—and turn up the heat!

Also, don’t forget to catch my “Cosmic Disco” dance party hosted at Clinic Bar and Lounge in Palm Springs on the second Saturday of each month!

Enjoy the FRESH Mix below!

  • Michael Jackson, “Rock With You” (Baptiste Remix)
  • CHVRCHES, “The Mother We Share” (Moon Boots Remix)
  • Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” (Dilemmachine Remix)
  • Funk LeBlanc Featuring T’mar, “Hold On, We’re Goin’ Home” (Drake Cover)
  • Fergie, “Glamorous” (Baptiste Remix)
  • Husky, “Step Back” (Figgy Remix)
  • Just Kiddin’, “Feelin’ Better”
  • Anoraak, “Made-Up” (Les Loups Remix)
  • All Night Shoes, “Last Summer” (Album Version)

Published in Subatomic

Welcome to the first FRESH Monthly Mix with All Night Shoes!

FRESH is a live mix of music curated by me, All Night Shoes, aka Alex Harrington. Each month, I will be featuring the best music in the dance/indie/electronic scene—both locally and globally.

I draw influence from artists all over the world, and discover amazing music daily. Being a DJ and producer, I find that sharing great music is rewarding and exciting. My goal in the months to come is to introduce you to all kinds of new artists and new sounds.

This month’s theme is “Summer After-Party.” The hottest season is coming to the end, and the tracks I’ve featured are perfect for chilling out with friends—or getting close to someone you love. I enjoy tracks that take me for a ride, and feel like a journey. I’ve packed this mix with big beats, deep vibes and just enough funk to make you want to dance.

You can hear all these tracks and more when I play the Coachella Valley Independent Release Party, hosted at Clinic Bar and Lounge, on Wednesday, Oct. 16! Stay FRESH and enjoy!

Enjoy the fresh mix below!

  • Chris Malinchak, “So Into You”
  • Aimlo, “UH OHHH”
  • Anna Paul, “Cold Heart” (produced by Vanilla)
  • Miguel, “Adorn” (Oliver Nelson Remix)
  • Patrick Baker, “Blissed Out” (Club Edit)
  • Cyclist featuring Maiko Watson, “Shine”
  • Breakbot, “Easy Fraction” (Yaaman Remix)
  • All Night Shoes, “Like This”
  • Disclosure, “You and Me” (Pat Lok “Homies Wear” Remix)

Published in Subatomic

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