If you’ve been to Corazón on a Tuesday night recently, you know that DJs Joe Ray Sandoval and Dynamite Sol are big names in the world of Santa Fe’s dance parties.
Tuesdays at Corazón feature The Reggae Party, a super-popular evening of—you guessed it—reggae. Sandoval and Sol are branching out, however, with Alchemy, a new event at Milagro 139. Starting Feb. 5, and every Friday thereafter, Milagro plays the perfect host to what is bound to become Santa Fe’s next dance destination. The dance floor is huge, the second story is perfect for all you wallflowers, and the old DJs are sure to be up to new tricks.
“I feel like, because of The Reggae Party, we’ve been pigeonholed a bit, but you’re going to hear a little bit of everything at Alchemy,” Sandoval tells SFR.
Sol agrees. “I love all kinds of music, and I’ll be reading the crowd,” he says. “Sure, there’ll be hip-hop and club jams and things that people will expect, but I’m not against throwing on some Marvin Gaye.”
Billed as “a sexy sophisticated party,” Alchemy is poised to fill some of the void left by the closing of The Paramount (that’s right, I’m still not over it). Santa Fe could finally have the kind of party that some other clubs have promised but have not delivered. We all know the names Joe Ray Sandoval and Dynamite Sol; here’s a look behind the decks at the dudes making it happen.
Name: Sol Bentley
DJ Handle: Dynamite Sol
Affiliations: Alchemy, The Reggae Party,
Origin: “I was in a hip-hop group called The Unknown for years. It was a natural transition to go from writing lyrics and emceeing to producing my own music. Joe Ray Sandoval was manager at The Paramount at the time, and Mondays were dark days, so we decided to throw together a music night.”
Story: After heading the DJ route, Sol teamed up with Sandoval. Together they booked shows at now-defunct clubs The G Spot at Garrett’s Desert Inn and Chilacas (now Realburger). Finally the DJs settled in to a groove with The Reggae Party at WilLee’s (now Corazón).
“The Reggae Party is one of, if not the only party that’s lasted this long…I think we’ve been going about four years now,” Sol says. So what makes Sol different from anyone who plays a record really loud and calls himself DJ?
“Before I’m a DJ, I’m an emcee and a producer. DJing can be so much more than dropping a needle on a record; it’s having that intimate relationship with music before you ever get up to spin. This isn’t a hobby or just a job—it’s my lifestyle.”
Name: Joe Ray Sandoval
DJ Handle: Joe Ray Sandoval
Affiliations: Alchemy, Chicanobuilt, The Reggae Party
Origin: “I became a DJ out of necessity. Once DJs Rockwell and Automatic left The Paramount to do their own thing, I had to step up and learn.”
Story: Sandoval not only has 20 years of music experience, he also is one of the most celebrated spoken word poets in the country. In addition to putting on countless events over the years, Sandoval co-wrote the 2009 film Spoken Word, which is loosely based on his experiences in the world of spoken word and hip-hop. Sandoval has big plans for his future.
“Sol and I are actually trying to get a grant to teach music and poetry in schools,” he tells SFR. “These days not everybody fits into the mold of the traditional school, and I want to give kids a chance to find something positive and creative to do…I want these kids to know the essence of poetry, and lyricism begins by writing down how you feel.”
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