Local Music

Dude Skywalker Sets the Film Score at New World Symphony's Pulse

Dude Skywalker is made up of DJs Fabio Galarce (left) and Alex Borges.
Dude Skywalker is made up of DJs Fabio Galarce (left) and Alex Borges. Daniel Quintana
Fabio Galarce is a critical listener when he goes to the movies, and he expected big sounds from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest film in a franchise known for its spectacular soundtrack and sound effects. He wasn’t disappointed — at least not with the noises.

“Overall, I enjoyed some moments, and other parts were pretty Disney, I guess you’d say,” he says. But one scene, in which a space cruiser crashes through another at light speed, really caught his ear: “To me, that was the most incredible audio for an explosion I’ve ever heard in film. It was just crazy.”

It makes sense that Galarce and his musical partner, Alex Borges, pay close attention to film soundtracks, because the DJ duo called Dude Skywalker doesn’t just make “party music of the future,” as the two describe it. For the past three or four years, they have been working with clubs not only as DJs but also as event promoters and soundscape curators for restaurants and hotels. Basically, Dude Skywalker set the musical score for nightlife experiences throughout South Florida and beyond.

“Over the years, we’ve been in so many different settings that we’ve gotten a lot better about defining what a space needs,” Borges says. “It really takes someone who has experienced it all to get a feel for the mood of the people, the establishment.”

New Times caught up with Dude Skywalker ahead of its January 19 show at Pulse Miami Beach. The concert, subtitled Late Night at the Movies, is a collaboration with New World Symphony and composer Sam Hyken that will blend electronic, classical, and cinematic elements and include music from the soundtracks of movies such as Star Wars, James Bond, The Incredibles, West Side Story, The Godfather, Superman, and Inception. (Also in store: a wild light show.)

The DJs have long sampled real instruments to make their spacey house and tasteful lounge music, and both appreciate the chance to work with a composer and classically trained musicians for the first time. 

"Shows like this really demonstrate why classical instruments are important and relevant, why instruments are still the leading driver in music," Galarce says. "It's not all computers and plug-ins; it’s about real, live instruments.”

The show will also be an example of an event curated by Dude Skywalker from start to finish. From the moment people walk into Pulse, a curated playlist of Dude Skywalker's music will set the tone and warm everybody up for the show.

The pair puts a lot of thought into making setting-appropriate playlists. For instance, abrasive, in-your-face dubstep would be wildly out of place in an upscale restaurant, but they also don't want to put people to sleep. "If there’s a pool party on the 50th floor of a hotel, we want to get people ready in the elevator," Galarce says. "You can set these moods, sort of play with people’s psychology, by playing different styles of music."

In general, Dude Skywalker draws on a broad and eclectic range of influences and favors analog sounds. The duo is critical of the legions of laptop producers who overly rely on extreme digital noises and often fail to mix up the groove.

“Nobody wants to listen to the same techno beat for hours on end,” Borges says. “Music gets people moving in two basic ways, right? You can make them groove or you can agitate the crowd, and a lot of this mainstream EDM is designed to agitate.”

“For us, it’s about blending a bunch of elements and doing something new, something fun,” Galarce says. “We want to give people something refreshing they haven’t heard.”

The pair also strives to give listeners a sense of place, so Miami is embedded in Dude Skywalker’s music. The sounds of crashing waves and seagulls are subtly layered into many of their songs.

“In the drums too you can kind of hear the culture of South Florida,” Galarce says. “Not all at once — it’s kind of a hidden secret, I’d say — but it’s definitely there.”

Such cinematic imagery has led to interest from the film industry. In fact, the duo has been approached several times to produce movie soundtracks and recently struck a deal to score an indie film about Miami’s arts scene. Stay tuned.

Pulse: Late Night at the Movies. 9 p.m. Friday, January 19, at New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach; 305-673-3331; nws.edu. Tickets cost $55.
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Howard Hardee is a freelance writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. Originally from Fairbanks, Alaska, he has a BA in journalism and writes stories about music, outdoor adventures, politics, and the environment for alt-weeklies across the country. He is an aficionado of fine noises and has a theremin in his living room.

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