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DJ Antonio Guerra Mixes Traditional Music With 'Techno-Cumbias' and Reggaetón for a Modern Clientele

First Posted: Jun 09, 2014 05:00 PM EDT
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Antonio Guerra

Photo : DJ Tone/Antonio Guerra

Award-winning Puerto Rican DJ Tone knows how to keep the music fresh and his remixes cutting-edge, incorporating his Latin roots with a "cool, eclectic selection of techno-cumbias and the edgiest side of reggaetón."

Tone, whose real name is Antonio Guerra, was voted the No. 1 Club DJ in San Antonio, Texas in both 2012 and 2013, accomplishments that then led to the coveted title of People en Español's No. 1 DJ in the entire state of Texas.

With his passion for music and his stellar accolades, Guerra has brought famous people to their feet, including Colombian actress Sofia Vergara, who recently tore up the dance floor at the People en Español magazine party in New York City.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Guerra was influenced by his father, a Puerto Rican from Brooklyn, New York, who was himself a DJ. Also a salsa aficionado, his father spun '80s and '90s music — from hip-hop to dance music. He passed down his records and equipment to Guerra in the hopes that he would carry on the legacy — and he did.

At the young age of 14, Guerra started out as a DJ with "a high energy sound of hip-hop, rap and more." At 16 he discovered new genres, including dance, Latin, house and remixes, which opened the door to new recording and producing opportunities. At 21, he entered the nightlife scene in downtown Houston and went on to become one of People en Español's favorite DJs.

Guerra spoke with Latin Post about how he became an award-winning DJ and an inspiration for aspiring Latinos who are looking to break into the music industry and the world of DJ-ing.

Latin Post: How did you get your start as a DJ?

Antonio Guerra: In college, I moved to Houston. I was there for a year and a half, and I didn't like what I was doing. My heart wasn't into it. I was 21 at the time ... I came back to San Antonio. The fortunate thing was that I knew all the people who are in that circle, so that helped get me into the places where people really want to DJ.

LP: How do you create your signature sound?

AG: I just love high-energy music. I don't like any downtime. I learn a lot from other DJs. I take away everything I hear, but I make it to my own style music — from hip-hop to Latin to dance. I make my own edits and my own music and my own remixes. If there is something there that I don't like, then I add more of my own music to add more emotion.

LP: What was it like to spin for the People en Español party last month at Capitale in New York City?

AG: [People en Español] is a great platform, and being Hispanic is also a plus too. ... It was a different kind of crowd. ... The music was a mixture of everything. It didn't matter if I played Spanish or English. It was more social, too. Sofia Vergara was actually pulling people up saying, "Dance with me! Dance with me!"

LP: Do you have any advice for young, aspiring Latinos who want to break into the music industry and become a DJ?

AG: It's all about branding and image. It's all about making music now. I see everyone giving out their remixes and working with other artists. It's always been an art form, it's a lifestyle. Those are some things that people miss. You can't play the same sets all the time, it's about being diverse.

LP: Who have you worked with that left an impression on you and helped catapult your career?

AG: Frankie J is really cool. He sent me a couple of tracks to see what I can do with it. Demi Lovato, working with her, that was cool. She's just a musician all together. Seeing her perform, I think she's underestimated.

LP: With the advances in technology, can anyone be a DJ nowadays?

AG: Anybody can be a DJ, but not everyone can be a good DJ. Technology has advanced so much that literally anyone really can, but if you really think about your music selection, your song transition and how you can be more creative, that is where you can be really different. There are some DJs that you ask, "Where is that extra fire? You have been DJ-ing for 10 years, but you still don't know how to scratch?'

Check out DJ Tone at the Festival for People en Español:

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