DJ ROMEO: Mode of Thought

By Clint Holton Potestas |April 14,2018 - 09:57 PM

Photo by Aries Yu

Romeo Cavalcante can blow up a gale wherever he goes.

He just can’t help it. He has this Brazilian inborn ability and the Filipino romance language to—just by stepping through a door—draw a chattering crowd that whirls like-charged electrons around a nucleus.

Wherever he is, the party is.

”When I say crazy party, it means no pretentions,” he beams one Sunday afternoon in March, an hour ahead of his gig as guest DJ of Ibiza in Mövenpick Hotel in Punta Engaño in Mactan.

The Brazil-born arrives apologetic for the five-minute delay, breezing through the glass wall panels of the nearby Conservatory, fresh from his first trip to Bantayan Island. “For me, being a

DJ is—first of all—it’s special. There are a lot of DJs coming in because they see it’s like a glamorous job. They want to get into party for free. But for me, it’s passion.”

Based in the Philippines for two years now, at 31, Romeo has spent the last 10 years touring around clubs in Paris, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Spain.

While enrolled in a DJ course at Poabeat in Alegre in Brazil, he already played for the most extravagant electro soiree in Brussels, “Fancy Party in the City” in 2010.

His claim to fame was at “The One X,” promoted by the Spanish celebrity Jean Franko where he also elbowed with music royalties Jimmy Stokes and Enrico Arghentiniin one booth.

Imagine having that kind of charisma. On some levels, that’s what he is all about: creating an affirming hum around yourself by your choice of adornment and array.

For instance, in the tongue of any Mariah Carey fanatic —“last night a DJ saved my life.”

The celebratory season is still rising, and we’re RSVP-ing by throwing an attention-getting curveballs of lean biceps.

He’s a new lounge-y after-dar mystery in town that—while unpretentious and easy company—he has an ineffable air of elegant daring.

It delivers an easy-on, easy off languor that’s hard to ignore.

But let’s talk about you, man, for a change.

You might not be a Speedo model with 635, 125 followers on Instagram. You might not be a chart-topping hunk with a bevy of Grammys under your belt.

But like Romeo in the house —raise the roof?—you can certainly captivate a room with only a few strokes and seams of originality.

Party, people, party.

How cool is being a DJ?

For me, being a DJ is—first of all—it’s special.

There are a lot of DJs coming in because they see it’s like a glamorous job.

They want to get into party for free. But for me, it’s passion. I grew up with music when I was eight years old.

I played the violin. When I was 11, I started to learn to play the trumpet. Music is in my roots. I cannot imagine myself doing anything without music.

What was your first exposure to music?

I started in an orchestra. I played the trumpet. My mom forced me to be in an orchestra, but in the end, I loved it.

But still, I felt it wasn’t there that I wanted to be in. I want to be some other place, but still, it has something to do with music. So I asked myself: What should I do? Should I play guitar?

I have a friend who is a DJ, and he said—why don’t you try becoming a DJ? In Brazil, we have classes for DJs where I attended for six months. It included the theory of music, the theory of DJ-ing, how to market as a DJ.

After I completed it, my classmates—all 11—organized our first gig at a beach.

All of us brought our guests and there I realized, wow… this is where I should be. I spin for friends. At that time, nobody knew me. In
the beginning, I have to do something for free.

And then the stream of networks began.

Are you expensive?

It depends on the events (laughs). Being a DJ, you have to be very flexible with everything. If it’s for a good friend, I can play for free.

What’s in your playlist all the time?

I don’t know if you guys know its name, but it’s mostly techie-house.

There’s music that I really like; it’s called “Don’t Leave Me (Throttle remix).” It’s a remix that I often play. Another is “Cigarette Smoke” by
an underground singer.

Every time I spin, they get crazy. I don’t know why but everybody loves it. I also spin a lot of songs from Camilla Cabello, Arianna Grande. I am not into a mainstream, but in most cases, I just mix them because I want to please everyone.

I want to play what I like—techie house, tribal house, more Latino. But the people in the dance floor to enjoy; they want to raise their hands and sing along, so that’s where mainstream music is much appreciated.

Bring us to your most favorite country.

Philippines. I have been here for two years. I have a lot of stories here. I can’t speak Tagalog,
yet, but I can understand when someone converses in Tagalog.

How do you describe Filipino partygoers?

Crazy, crazy. Brazilians are crazy, too, but we have our distinct “crazy” means that is why I like the Philippines because the bands here are all crazy (laughs).

When I say crazy party, it means no pretentions.

I have been playing all over the world—Ibiza, Paris, Belgium—but I noticed they were just moderate.

They held themselves too much. In the Philippines, when we party, they don’t care if you are having fun anywhere. I mean that in a good way.

Why are DJs becoming celebrities?

I could credit that for social media. Instagram changes the way people see—everything, angles.

I am not only talking about music. For example, body. In Brazil now, even before Instagram became famous, we were already taking care of our body shape because Brazil is all about body.

But now, with Instagram, it has been augmented even more, a fever. It’s the same incident with DJs. You see them in
parties—festival after festival. Social media have helped it out a lot to influence people.

Electro music is your favorite.

If I play techno house here, people will have to figure out what kind of music it is. With electro, it’s a mix with mainstream.

If I play underground house, it’s a music nobody is listening to. Most of the people relate to what they often hear. Electro parties are more famous and fun. I love electro parties. I would go to underground music parties if I am looking for some new, conceptual songs.

But Filipinos like romantic songs, too.

Yes. You guys have Latino roots because of the Spaniards; I have Latino roots, so we all share the same love for romantic songs. There’s no need for explanation. It’s there. We are romantic.

What are the current trends?

American house style.

It has phases. But trends change every now and then. There was a time that I started with tribal house then moved to electro —that pays all the bills.

But most of the time, techie and American house never go out of style.

Do you have fans?

Oh, no. I don’t think of it that way. I have friends who always attend my gigs.

I am always in touch with them. We exchange message with people who appreciate my job.

I have to return the favor. I play for straight people; I play for gay people.

Do you get the girls more or the gays?

I can’t figure. I love all of them.

What are you looking for in a relationship?

I am open for relationships. If someone’s interesting, I don’t mind. I am open-minded. It could be a girl; it could be a guy.

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