In almost every aspect, the lives of Antonieta Ruiz, Alejandro Rodríguez and Washington Díaz have nothing to do with each other. Antonieta is 47 years old, she is an accountant and runs residences for the elderly; Alejandro is 22 years old, a pilot and in his last semester of law; and Washington is 45 and a chief executive of a security company. However, on top of all that, the three of them have made a decision that unites them: to be dj.
As a teenager, Antoinette always made sure to bring her CD case to birthday parties. “They called me to dance and I said no, that I’d rather keep putting on music,” he said. Time passed, and a day came when he felt it was time to give free rein to his passion. He was 43 years old, had a job, a husband and children. A friend referred her to an academy where they gave course to become a DJ: “In the courses I contacted people from the environment and touches emerged”.
The DJ career Alexandre’s – better known as Kaffita – started almost at the same time as Antoinette’s, but with one important difference: he was 15 when he made his first touches. His interest in this world had been sparked a year before, when he heard the song Tarzan Boy on the radio and immediately thought it would blend in very well with the Self Control theme. “Research on the Internet DJ programs and I started learning, until I invested in my team and started working on it,” he says.
For his part, Washington’s history with music began several years earlier. He entered the Faculty of Architecture in 1995, and is still in charge of playing music at student parties. For him, it was much more than putting out one CD after another: “I started mixing and organizing myself according to the styles and the speed of the songs”, he says. In 1997, he made a professional DJ course with CDs and vinyls and soon he was playing 15-year-old birthday parties, weddings and fashion shows.
During the day, the Antoinette, Kaffita and Washington routines are aimed at more traditional objects.
“Today I’m torn between music, being an accountant and a businesswoman, and being a mother and a wife,” Antonieta said. Accounting never fascinated him much, but he chose this path because his father has an accounting firm. Currently, she devotes herself more than anything to the residences she owns and, since she has two managers, she does not need to be there all the time: “It gives me more time to devote to Musicthat’s what I love the most,” he said.
Even if he makes sure to have time for his musical side, he doesn’t go crazy either: “I leave myself spaces, but I don’t fill myself with things because otherwise I can’t be well in every way.” Sometimes he turns down parties, especially 15-year-old birthdays which don’t excite him that much and prioritizes events for people his own age. “I have a lot of fun and people are in the same musical vein that I love,” he said.
Make motherhood part of your dj life This was not a problem: “My children are 8 and 11 years old and they have recovered”. During the pandemic, with the biggest, they did something they called “anti-Sunday”, once-a-week live shows in which they were interspersed with play music. For his part, her husband has bought lights and a controller and takes care of the lighting for the evenings.
Sometimes it gets a little tricky when he has a weekday gig, which is mostly on Thursdays. “On Fridays you have to be up at seven in the morning for the kids and if the day before the event ends late, I make an effort, prioritizing what I love,” he said. declared during a dialogue with El País.
In Kaffita’s case, the legal profession was always her first option, so she started her career without hesitation. However, he was also drawn to work in the Air Force, which he knew firsthand because his father is a pilot. He didn’t want to put that aside, so he took the course to fly.
“I love being a DJ, but I think at this age I have to take advantage to cover all the points I want,” he explained. Now he “steals a lot”, does an internship at the public prosecutor’s office and work on music Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and occasionally Sundays. He plays at private events and also in bowling alleys.
For him, it is not uncommon to have a serious job during the day, such as law, and a more “relaxed” one in the evening. “There’s this idea that if you’re a DJ you’re more for fun, but I take great care of myself and I’m still professional,” he said.
And he added: “Often people think that because night work one can be drugged, but it is a prejudice which in reality has nothing to do with the profession, but with everyone”.
As a young man, Washington was very into music. In 1998, he took part in a dj war hosted by the Power Dance radio show, hosted by DJ Oscar Valdez. The competition was at the national level and Washington was one of those who qualified for the final. “I didn’t win, but to get there was already a lot,” he said.
A few years ago, he stopped focusing so much on the sidelines because he preferred to “invest” in another of his passions, magic. However, throughout his life, he not only knew how to integrate music into his routine, but even took advantage of it: “I was on the board of directors of a Baby Soccer where my children played and I started playing in parties and matinees. • What have we done to raise funds? It was from 2017 until the start of the pandemic.
Occasionally he performs at 15th birthdays and weddings. “The DJ part is only on weekends so it does not influence my work part,” he assured. He doesn’t understand why he chose to pursue music as a hobby and not as a professional opportunity: “Maybe because he didn’t consider it very profitable economically, but I don’t know.”
According to Antonieta, when she puts on music, her powerful “me” comes out. “Music grabs me and I do it with great enthusiasm,” he said. enjoy looking new songs and try different combinations, but above all he likes to “make people dance”. And he admitted that “there’s also an element of ego”, as he likes to be told “what good music you played”.
Even though DJing is his passion, he doesn’t pretend it’s more than a hobby. “I couldn’t dedicate myself full time because it wouldn’t give me the body,” he explained. And to add: “There is a limit that I do not want to cross, it is that music passes from a passion to a profession. I wouldn’t cross that line because I don’t need it and I would get pleasure from it”.
For Kaffita, it is the same day and night: “I am me thanks to the conjunction of my three passions. From now on, he plans to keep the music part on weekends and the rest of the time to devote himself to aeronautical law, which is halfway between piloting and law.
What he loves most about being a DJ is “dealing with people” and he pointed out that “playing music is a constant dialogue with people because you put on a song and they react”.
Washington agrees: “It’s very nice to show music because you have to have a sixth sense to analyze the track and see how people move.”
Dare to do what you love.
Antonieta made the decision to pursue her dream of being a DJ at the age of 43 and she is happy. “It’s an incredible experience to do something you love, even if it’s older. There is no age for that,” he said.
In the class she went to, there were only four people her age, and one of them was a friend of hers who went with her. The others were around 20 years old, and despite the age difference “there were a lot of good vibes”.
His first contact was in a bar in Carrasco. “I had to do the warm up, which were 20 to 30 songs for opening night and I prepared for it for days,” he said. Then they kept calling him from that restaurant to keep playing on Thursdays. Later, he started working summers at the Shark Club in Punta del Este and continues there to this day. They also called her to perform at private parties.
“Lighting the track and keeping that light going is the hardest thing, but I did it well,” he said.
Although he takes it as a hobby, he understands that it is not good to do it for free: “As much as I don’t live from it, I must value the work of those who live from it. That’s the first thing they taught me at the academy I went to.