Jolt Radio's DJ Mariana Dias was 14 years old the first time she heard techno in a large, dark space. Her dad took her and a cousin to see the Chemical Brothers in São Paulo. "I was underage, but I had to go," she recalls. "That show blew my mind. The visuals were really elaborate and cinematic, so the space felt immersive and surreal." It was the beginning of her forays into the electronic music nightlife world.
Now 25 years old, the Miami Beach native has a popular web-based radio program, Forward the Motion, and a new night with the same name at the Allapattah bar Las Rosas. She also works remotely as a translator, which gives her the flexibility to pursue her musical interests. Growing up, she spent time traveling between Miami and Brazil, her parents' home. She even attended middle school in South America's largest country.
Her time in Brazil shaped her musical tastes. "When I was a little girl in the '90s, I used to dance to a lot of baile funk and axé and was mesmerized by electronic music that played on the radio," she says. Among the songs she listened to were Eiffel 65's popular tune, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)." She says she likes weird and danceable music.
Dias "fell in love with radio" at the Florida International University station Radiate FM, where she hosted a show. "Honestly, that station was probably what kept me in school. I would skip class but would never, ever miss my show on Fridays," she says. But her success there was hampered by some minor-league profanity. "Since it's regulated by the FCC, we couldn't swear on-air, and one day I had a guest on the show who said 'shit.' Someone heard it, told on me, and my show got cut off. I had to find a place for it, so after asking around, I was led to Jolt Radio."
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This encounter changed and shaped her life. "I've met so many new friends, and it's the first time I ever saw a real musical community," Dias says. She launched Forward the Motion on Jolt in September 2016. The Jolt community, she explains, has formed because hosts from different shows with different genres intermingle and hang in the studio because their sets are back-to-back. The station has more than 50 specialty shows, so that's a big network.
Her show has since added an IRL dance party. "Since FTM is an electronic dance show, I thought it needed to be a little freed from a closed studio," Dias explains of the decision to take it live to Las Rosas. "The idea is to have a live radio show, kind of like a TV show with a live audience, in a dance-floor setting." Jolt Radio founder, John Caignet, says Dias has "eclectic music, great selectors. [FTM is] a party this city needs." His station has been involved in hosting plenty of other hot Miami parties over the years. It currently runs Friday and Saturday happy hours at the Wynwood bar Gramps and collaborates on Eclectic Electric at the Electric Pickle as well as the Takeover at the Anderson. And there's plenty more coming down the line.
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Dias' goal is to bring musical projects she admires to the club and just see what happens. "I've noticed some people are really intimidated by dancing, so the vibe is very music-centered," she says. "The first party featured Hiltronix and Richard Vergez. Richard also has a show on Jolt, so my intention is to have people on who also have radio or music projects."
This week's party will feature fellow Jolt host Hop, a Brazilian vinyl-head from Amsterdam who will spin whatever she pleases. There will also be her producer, stylist, and record collector, Ali Hialeah, who will bring "Miami nostalgia and Berlin grit." Dias says of the night: "I want people who go to the party to leave with something positive, be it the giveaway prize or a new favorite song and, in the future, maybe even some birthday cake."
Come for the well-curated music, leave with cake. It's a win-win.
Forward the Motion. 10 p.m. Thursday, August 2, at Las Rosas, 2898 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 786-780-2700; lasrosasbar.com. Admission is free.