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Hollywood Amoebite Ervin Arana on B-Boying, Teaching, DJing, the Rock Steady Crew, and How Hip-Hop Can Save Your Life

Posted by Billyjam, October 27, 2010 05:05am | Post a Comment
Ervin Arana
If you are a shopper at Amoeba Hollywood you know that you can usually tell who works there by the round and bright Amoeba Music stickers they wear on their shirts. But beyond that, on the surface, it is hard to tell who each Amoebite really is or what exactly their music expertise might be. Much like the average Amoeba shopper, the folks that work here are equally knowledgeable & passionate about music, and more often than not involved directly in music in some way or another.

A prime example is diehard hip-hopper Ervin Arana, whose rich background includes holding down a weekly DJ residency at Root Down, was a member for many years in the Rock Steady Crew -- the legendary b-boying crew and hip hop group that was established in the Boogie Down Bronx back in seventies.

A full time b-boy or "full time music enthusiast!," as he describes himself on his blogspot, Ervin (who is sometimes known as Servin Ervin) has been working at the SoCal store for about a year. He spreads his time between the hip-hop and soul sections and can also be found at the registers. I recently caught up with the hip-hop fanatic to talk about music and hip-hop and how he got initially got involved in the Rock Steady Crew (RSC). Originally a b-boy, he got noticed by members of the RSC about eight years ago, he told me, and they invited him to join the much respected organization. As a member he has participated in numerous RSC events in "different cities throughout the world including Moscow, Mexico City, and London." Sometimes he has performed and other times he has acted as a judge for competitions, such as on one RSC trip to Japan he took. He has also DJ'ed at many different RSC events. But Ervin is happiest, he says, when he is sharing his knowledge with others. "What Rock Steady CrewI mostly like to do," he told me, "is to teach at workshops, b-boy workshops."

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Sloe Poke - LA's Resident DJ

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 11, 2007 11:47am | Post a Comment

There are three things you need to know about DJ Sloe Poke: 1. He doesn’t mess around with any of the artsy stuff. 2. You won’t hear him tactlessly scratching and 3. He goes to a club to rock it.
 
What makes Sloe Poke one of L.A. ’s best DJ’s is that he can spin several styles of music with ease. Sloe Poke attributes his skills to the years of spinning for people with diverse tastes, ages and cultures. Most DJ’s can spin two or three different genres of music but get lost when it comes to Latin music. This is where Sloe Poke excels. He’s the kind of DJ that can entice the older generation to go out on the dance floor and put a younger crowd to shame. He can mix a Salsa classic like Joe Arroyo’s “Rebelion” with Celso Pina’s Sonidero hit, “Cumbia Sobre El Rio,” then follow those songs with Thalia’s poppy, “Piel Morena” and Frankie Cutlass’ club fave, “Puerto Rico,” making it all flow together somehow.


Because of Sloe Poke’s range, he can spin almost anywhere in the city. Besides being a resident DJ at places like Little Temple and the Rhythm Lounge, he spins at clubs like Sonido, playing Dub, Dancehall & Lover’s Rock. At the Root Down on Thursday nights he plays funk alongside some of L.A. ’s best funk DJ’s. At ¡DESCARGA! Sloe Poke keeps the floor moving with Salsa, Merengue & Cumbia. When he’s DJing at The House of Blues in San Diego, he compliments whatever act is headlining. He has opened for shows as diverse as Mos Def, David Lee Roth, Yellowman & Jaguares. It really doesn’t matter who or what genre Sloe Poke is spinning for -- he always has the perfect mix.

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