Seven Questions with Alex Caso
The elusive Cookieheadz
If you've been living in South Florida for the last fifteen years or so, chances are you've walked into a musical experience guided by Alex Caso. Young, handsome, full of energy and one of the most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to ALL types of music, Caso is a true South Florida institution.
New Times: Let's start with the traditional stuff, who are you, where do you come from and where are you going?
Alex Caso: I'm still trying to figure that out. I've worn so many hats and have carried so many nicknames. I've been a Television Producer, Radio Programmer, Arbitrator, Film School Graduate... but I'm consistently a musician and I guess I'll always be Alex Caso. I was born in El Paso, Texas. Surrounded by deserts, purple mountains, pink skies, red necks, Mexicans, and the best brisket this side of the Mason-Dixon line... but my Cuban parents felt completely out of place, so we fled to Miami in 1981 and I've been stuck in this Goddamn peninsula ever since. I don't think this peninsula is finished with me yet, but as soon as I meet my soul mate, I'm escaping this inferno.
Can you dispel the rumors that DJ's Cookieheadz and Sad Tiger perished in a fiery car accident?
Cookieheadz is not dead and lives through my nonprofit pirate podcast music program, The Burning Hand of Friendship. Sad Tiger is the alias of my ambient music project... which will be released via the Burning Hand of Friendship, soon I hope.
The Waterford Landing from L to R: Matus, Caso and Rippe
Given your extensive and intimate knowledge of music (and I mean music as a whole, from ambient to zydeco you pretty much cover it all), what genre(s) in particular do you personally enjoy spinning and where?
I started DJing in 93 after my first band broke apart. I just started college and was lucky enough to get a specialty show on WVUM called the Outlands (which I later re-named The Electric Kingdom). It was basically a chill out show that started at 1:00 a.m. and I would blend a mix of ambient, electronic, dub, krautrock, psyche, lo-fi, experimental, industrial, new wave, hip hop, movie samples, 4AD, and shoegaze music deep into the twilight hour. It was completely freeform, but what tied it all together was the "chill out" "theme (and making sure everything blended nicely)... and that is how I got my DJ chops and what I really like to spin: freeform. Just put me in a cool spot with atmosphere... name me a mood, theme, or BPM and let my music addiction take over. That usually yields the best results. Funny enough, that is the approach I went with when we crafted the original Revolver format, (before Josh M. turned it into a Hipster Wal-Mart), and that was my rule when I curated the second room at Poplife for all those years. I like spinning in places where they allow me to do my thing and people are there to listen to something different.
You've gotten more selective over the years, which is a good thing since you've been local for a long time. Where can people find you these days? Any place you'd like to spin at that you haven't?
The Vagabond, mostly. Occasional gigs at BAR, and once in a while nostalgia brings me back to Poplife. I am really trying to keep it to a minimum as making music and my money job eat up most of my time. Far less gigs from my Rave Dayz and my Revolver/Poplife years. Japan and Majic 102.7 (to show those clowns how it's done).
Favorite Miami music memory? Instances of douche-baggery?
Too many, Y+T records on Bird, Blue Note, Washington Square, Cameo Concerts. The Cheers Years. Space Cadet days. DJing ambient music at The Edge in Ft Lauderdale, getting fired from The Church @ Groove Jet for spinning Hip-Hop in the Brit Pop room. Quitting Revolver right before it turned into a hipster Wal-Mart. Performing with The Waterford Landing and The Love 94; the best music projects I've ever been a part of. Douche-baggery? That's a promoter thing. DJ's usually don't douche.
The Sad Tiger
Which are, in your opinion, the top five records to shrimp (suck toes) to?
Big Black - Songs About F**king
Zombi - Spirit Animal
The Axe and The Oak - s/t
Dino Felipe - No Fun Demo
and Sade - Soldier Of Love
Finally, people might not know your involvement with The Waterford Landing, which I'm a big fan of (with reservations as to the time you guys take between releases/performances), what can we expect in the near future?
The Waterford Landing is a Triumvirate composed of Ed Matus, Richard Rippe, and myself. We all write songs and play a variety of instruments. I mostly do half of the singing and play synths and samples. We have a release coming up called "In the Heart of Zombie City"... and it has taken us so long to finish that it would make Stanley Kubrick blush, but I think it is one of the best things I've ever been involved with, creatively. It's dark, spooky...laced with optimism. It is a good mix of organic and synthetic sounds, very cross-genre, atmospheric, sci-fi, and dare I say "progressive" (as in the adjective not the music genre). It is kinda conceptual like Pink Floyd's "Animals" or "Final Cut." I think we have created something special and different, which may scare off some of our original fans that pegged us as a synth pop band. I'm really proud of this album. We will probably do a couple of full blown shows, just like our O.H.W.O.W. performance last year.... after that, I'll be focusing on my new project Preacher Teacher and releasing free music via The Burning Hand Of Friendship (e.g. Preacher Teacher, Sad Tiger and Ed Matus).
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