qv10 qvRhythms

You Go, Pearl!
DJ Ernie Pearl keeps the party going-on the wheels of steel.

DJ Ernie PearlFor years, DJ Ernie Pearl has been a staple in the community of Latino deejays. As the resident deejay at Circus Disco, the biggest and longest-running Latino club in Los Angeles, Ernie has established himself as a true talent. More recently, Ernie has begun spinning in the Bay Area at clubs Pan Dulce and Club Papi. He also works for Prime Cuts Records, a music store specializing in the sale of dance music.

How did you first get into deejaying? I started deejaying in 1983. It was a way of escaping after a long week at work. I would play at backyard parties, birthdays, weddings, and high school dances. I loved to mix, and I'd just get lost in the music. Good friends, along with my large record collection, always created a good party atmosphere. Over the years, I've learned from other deejays how to enhance that atmosphere, and now I get paid to throw a party every weekend!

What type of music inspired you to start deejaying? At the time, '80s high energy, early hip-hop, and freestyle. Those were the types of music being played in the 'hood.

How did you come up with the name "Ernie Pearl?" Well, a bunch of us had gone to eat at IHOP after hearing (deejay) Fabian Vangeli play at Circus. One of Fabian's New York friends didn't know my name was Ernie. He thought it was Earl, so after calling out "Earl" several times, and getting no response from me, someone yelled out, "It's not Earl...it's Pearl!" He got a laugh, and I ended up keeping the name. When I put Ernie and Pearl together, it just sounded soooo Hollywood.

What are some of the best experiences that have happened to you as a deejay? And what have you learned? The stories...oh the stories! (Laughs) I'd say the first time I played for a crowd at a backyard party in the San Gabriel Valley; then, the first time I spun at a club. And then, when I started working at Arena and Prime Cuts Records. With each experience, I learned new things. I learned that no matter what happens or no matter who you're working for, you've got to give 100 percent.

What sound do you look for in the type of music you play? I'd have to say that I look for a lot of percussion. I played drums in the marching band at El Monte High, so I look for that. Also, I look for a big diva singing her soul out, spacey effects, Latin chants, whistles, sirens, bells, and oh yeah-a good dance beat.

You spin both House and Hip-Hop music-each of which produces its own type of musical energy. Which of the two do you prefer to spin and why? Hey, no tuffies! House music is my sacred groove, but Hip-Hop has deep roots in my collection. (Laughs) I guess I'd have to say I love one of them twice a week, and the other-once a week!

What are some of your current projects outside of the club scene? I'm working on my website (located at www.angelfire.com/tx2/djpearl). It has tons of "useless" information and links! (Laughs) Also, another project is cleaning up my cat's hair, and I almost forgot, stocking up for the Y2K collapse (laughs)!

So what are your future plans? Do you plan to move into other areas of the music industry, such as producing your own CD? Right now, I am happy putting the vinyl together. I focus on each night I play, and I enjoy it very much. A lot of deejays can't understand my contentment with just doing that, but I don't see it as being stuck. Each week, new records come in, and someone will always have to put it together for the clubs. I feel God has blessed me with this gift. Sure, it would be nice to make my own tracks, remix, produce CDs, and enjoy the hype of the biz-but as of now, deejaying is what I like to do and it is what I do best.

This issue is about "Diversity" in our community. Do you think music brings diversity into our community? Absolutely! Circus is a Latino club and will always be that, but if you look closely, you'll see some firme Hueros, African-Americans, and Asian brothers, too. I love to see that! Music brings people of various backgrounds together and just as the song ("Take Me Up" by Ralphi Rosario) says, "Music is the key to my salvation." Atzlán forever!



Got Milk? qvProps go to the promoters of Milk for putting out this dope flyer featuring this fine papi! If you're in the New York City area, check out this nightclub-it's a happenin' Latino place.

Ana Gabriel

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