When you buy tickets for a show at Red Rocks in Denver, they clearly say in bold print, “RAIN OR SHINE.” I’ve been to many a concert at Red Rocks, but have yet to put that rain or shine thing to the test. But today, it’s torrentially down pouring and has been for the last 48 hours in Denver. All the same, I head to my interview with DJ ETC!ETC!, hoping for the best.
ETC!ETC!, or Jose Guerrero, has been producing for years, but has really hit his stride in the last year or so. The LA native has played some of the biggest venues and festivals in the world, touring with the likes of Brosafari, Datsik and the Mad Decent crew (Diplo’s label) while releasing trap remixes of hits like “Sun and Moon” by Above and Beyond and “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Ray. Now with a string of original releases to accompany his fun sets that sample a wide array of genres, ETC!ETC! has made his presence felt in the world of dance music in a big way.
Unsure what to expect when I meet Jose in person, I’m pleased to find a well-spoken, knowledgeable gentleman who is passionate not only about the music he makes, but also about what his peers are producing. Sitting in his hotel room as the rain pours down outside, Jose and I fall into easy conversation about his career and what is coming next.
Cat (left) sat down with ETC!ETC! aka Jose last Friday.
Cat: Tell me about your DJ name ETC! ETC!.
Jose: I was making music back in the day and it was random, I was just making music for fun. But one of my friends asked me to DJ a party and I was like, ‘yeah, I’ll do it.’ But I didn’t have a name. My friend was telling me, ‘I need a name to put on a flyer, I’m just gonna put DJ Jose.” But I wasn’t into that. So I was put on the spot and came up with Etc! Etc! because I can play a lot of stuff. The name ended up sticking.
Cat: What about the robot that is all over your social media pages?
Jose: I’ve always liked robots since I was little. I have this fascination with robots and my studio now is full of them. I figured, a lot of DJs associate themselves with a brand and that has become my brand.”
Cat: Many would label your music as trap, but I know you aren’t really into genres and have done remixes of songs by artists like Above and Beyond and Duke Dumont – Describe your sound.
Jose: I don’t know. That’s the thing I can’t describe about myself. I like making music. The thing is, I’m a producer. So whatever I like making, I will make no matter what it sounds like. But I like to make catchy stuff, stuff that people can sing along to and will get stuck in people’s heads. For example, the Lana Del Ray remix. I’ve always liked stuff that I can sing along to, so that’s what I make.
Cat: Where do you pull your influence from?
Jose: Daft Punk, NERD, a lot of the influence is stuff that I grew up listening to. My mom is Hispanic, she’s Mexican, so that’s how I started making moombahton too because it has that Hispanic flavor. A lot of the stuff is from my peers, stuff that I heard from Datsik or Adventure Club, stuff I like and I want to see if I can try and flip it in my own way. I’m open-minded and like to grab anything and go with the flow.
Cat: Talk to me about the Datsik and BroSafari tours that you were a part of in the last year.
Jose: The tours were amazing. The Animal House tours are very close to my heart. Nick, BroSafari, is my best friend, so us being able to start the “Animal House” brand and being on tour is really cool. It’s like being on tour with your brothers, with your best friends. It’s just mad mad fun. So I love doing those and I think we’re going to continue to do those every year. I was just talking to Nick and we were talking about how we should do a Europe Animal House tour.
The Datsik tour was intense because Troy likes to party. But it was super fun. There’s definitely two different crowds. Datsik has a big following that’s out there just to listen to heavy bass music, which is awesome because you just play heavy shit and people will love it. As far as the Animal House tour goes, everyone is open to any genre, so you can play hip hop all night and no one will really care because that’s what we bring. But it’s definitely two different parties but both are equally amazing.
Cat: This summer you will be involved in some of the Mad Decent block parties. What are you looking forward to the most about those?
Jose: I like to play the block parties because I like going to different cities that I haven’t been to. The past couple years I’ve done Vegas, and it’s not really my market, but I like playing there because it’s fun. But this time I’m doing a surprise one in LA, which is my hometown, hopefully. Then I’m doing the Detroit one and I hardly ever go to Detroit, so that one is going to be super fun. Then I’m doing the boat party too and last year was so much fun.
Cat: What’s it like being with the Mad Decent group? It’s such a broad array of people.
Jose: Yeah, I think that’s why it’s such an awesome group, just because Wes, Diplo, he has a good ear for what’s the new sound and what works with what. He has this whole little posse, all of us, and we’re all a little bit different but then also the same. It’s great because we all fit into the label, and that’s what Mad Decent is- an array of artists that fit together. They’re a great family, I love them and they’re one of the main labels that first started supporting me.
Cat: You’ve played a lot of great venues, TomorrowWorld included, is there a place/festival you’re really dying to play still?
Jose: I want to play TomorrowLand in Belgium, I think that’s the festival I want to do the most. Or Red Rocks is the main place I wanted to play. Last year I came and I played Red Rocks, but I played the smaller stage at the top during Zedd on the mainstage of Global Dance Festival. It was cool, but this year, I was talking to Leighton [a member of Adventure Club] when they announced the show, and I was like ‘get me on the show.’ But I didn’t think anything of it. Then when I was on the Datsik tour, I found out I was playing Red Rocks with Adventure Club and I was super stoked. The first time I saw Red Rocks was when I was touring with the Dirtyphonics and we had a day off and we came to see ZomBoy and maybe Flux Pavillion. And from that point on, I knew I had to play this venue.
Cat: You’re very family-oriented on social media, especially Instagram. How is it balancing an insane work schedule with family life?
Jose: It’s very hard. It was harder in the beginning when my kids were smaller. They’re a little bit older now, so they kinda understand that I have to go to work. So every weekend I leave, but for the most part, when I’m home, I’m home- I’m entirely dedicated to my kids and my wife. But it’s hard, especially when I’m gone for a long time. Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost so much time with them. But I try to FaceTime and keep it like I’m almost there all the time. I’m checking in daily just so they don’t feel like I’m being a bad dad. We recently went to Disney World for eight days. It was fun, they enjoyed it!
Cat: You recently released “Supa Hot Fire” with Tha Trickaz. Tell me the story of how that song came about.
Jose: Tha Trickaz is actually a side project of a couple dudes form Dirtyphonics. We’ve always wanted to work together and I was in Paris one day and they’re from Paris. So they came out to my show and we started shooting these ideas back and forth. Finally when I got back to The States from that Europe tour, in my inbox I had an idea from them. So we started working on it and it just worked out. I hadn’t released a tune in a minute and it ended up being a very heavy song.
Cat: Another big track for you is your and Ephwurd’s remix of Major Lazer, DJ Snake And Mo’s “Lean On.” Talk to me about that.
Jose: So, Ephwurd is Datsik and Bassy (Datsik’s best friend). So while we were on the tour, Datsik was working on all these Ephwurd songs which are all deep house and garage house. So we started working on a couple original tracks. He started doing this project because he knew he couldn’t make these songs under Datsik because his following wouldn’t like them. So he did a project where he could release these house tracks. Wes (Diplo) sent me the files of “Lean On” and asked me to remix it and I was with Datsik and Bassy and we decided to do the remix together. It ended up being a cool house track. It reminds me of Venga Boys *he laughs* very dancey. It’s very 90s. I just did a remix myself for Krewella, and it’s kind of that same style too.
Cat: You released a BBC1 mix on Tuesday. What went in to putting that together? What was the thought process behind it?
Jose: I haven’t done a mix in like three years. I used to do mixes every other month and it got to the point where I just started running out of tunes, so I kind of just stopped making mixes. The last mix I actually did was for BBC. Then they asked me to do this one and I decided to since I hadn’t done one in such a long time. I ended up putting a lot of new tunes that I’m going to put out in the fall on my EP and a lot of new tunes that my friends sent me that aren’t out yet. So it’s mostly all-exclusive songs and my favorite songs of right now. I went super hard on that mix- I finished and I was like, ‘this is the best mix ever!’ *he laughs* I didn’t want to keep it all dubstep and trap, or bass heavy, so I went into house, then moombahton, then twerk, so I just kept it flowing like how one of my sets would go.
Cat: Tonight you play Red Rocks, where you and Adventure Club both played Global Dance Festival in July 2014. What are you feeling going into this show?
Jose: It’s funny because I’m actually not nervous right now. Normally, when I’m headed to a big show, I’m pretty nervous and once I’m there it goes away. But right now, I’m pretty calm. I think I’ve just been ready for this for so long. I’m stoked. I’m playing a lot of new tunes tonight. Everyone’s set is super different- Dallas K is super electro and then I think my job there is to keep the party going. Then Minnesota is gonna do his thing and Keys N Krates always kill it.
Cat: The last year has been a big one for you music and tour wise. What can we expect from you in the future?
Jose: I’m figuring out a fall tour where I’m headlining. It’s going to be my first headlining thing so I’m trying to work it out where I do it right after the EP. I also have a bunch of remixes coming out, I’m just trying to stay busy throughout the year.
Cat: Is the EP what people have become accustomed to from you?
Jose: Yeah, the EP is trap and moombahton and dancehall. It’s kind of all over the place, but it’s what people know from me. Everything is done, I’m just ready for it to get pushed out.
ETC!ETC! playing through the rain at Red Rocks on May 8
The rain continued through Dallas K, ETC!ETC!, Minnesota, Keys N Krates and Adventure Club, but the nearly-sold out Red Rocks crowd still had an insanely fun time. Jose’s set was high-energy and, just as promised, full of new music. Be sure to look out for ETC!ETC! coming to a city near you!
Check out his hot new release “Supa Hot Fire” with Tha Trickaz: