By Ashley Bennett
Rafael Lopez (Also known as Alf Alpha, Pleyboy and Cholo Bueno). Instruments include two Technic turnables, a mixer and a sampling drum machine.
CITIES OF ORIGIN:
He Pley So Good LP (2010).
“My music influences are eclectic. I grew up listening to punk rock, hip hop and electronic. As I grew older I began listening jazz, funk and soul music. Early hip-hop DJing really inspired me to get into music. I love the art of mixing records and party rocking. I got inspired to start DJing and producing music. Today, I continue to get inspired by music both old and new. I love digging through old records searching for gems just as much as finding new music via Internet,” says Rafael.
www.djalfalpha.com; www.twitter.com/alfalpha; www.facebook.com/djalfalpha; alfalpha.bandcamp.com; www.myspace.com/alfalpha.
This might be the moment when you’re not really sure if this DJ is an old school Muppet or leader of the pack but have no fear because all you really need to know is that Alf Alpha, otherwise known as Rafael, has some serious talent. He’s not your average bump and grind DJ though, he’s found a good medium between a few steady cha-cha beats and interesting mixes that create slow but tasty turns of the table with every monthly visit at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, his regular spot. And if you’re a local desert dweller, you may have caught him at last year’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
Rafael’s DJ mixes aren’t typically hip-hop based in design. They might remind you of music you would hear at a lounge, but a few of his tunes explore consistency and allow for some major slow romantic dance moves to take place—applicable to those who can dance, of course—but the best part is that it varies so much that you’ll never hear the same thing twice. “Every show is different. I never have a set list of songs that I mix. I usually have an idea of what I want to play but I always feel the vibe of the audience,” says Rafael. “As a DJ, my main goal is to cater to the audience while at the same time introducing listeners to new music and making them dance.”
With V-Day on the way, now is the perfect time to check out Alfa Alpha in action at the retro Valentine’s Day dance “Doo Wop in the Desert.” For Rafael, this event is his chance to really bring out the old school mixes, “I get to mix music I normally don’t at this event. I enjoy playing slow songs while guests enjoy a slow dance. I think the slow dance is a lost art. I love traveling backing in time with the audience and bring back the art of romance.” Anyone who takes a peek at his retro based photos will realize that alongside his music he’s embracing both new and old styles.
Rafael has a ton of worthy DJ projects on the way, giving you ample opportunities to grab that special someone and feel inspired to dance—bet you haven’t done that since your last high school dance. (Ashley Bennett)
Alf Alpha at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs, 701 E. Palm Canyon Dr., (760) 325-9900; www.acehotel.com. Fri, Feb. 10. 8pm.