Santora brothers share passion for electronic music at Steamboat show
February 9, 2012
Steamboat Springs — On the sunny, wave-rushed shores of Santa Cruz, Calif., when hip-hop was king and reggae ruled the dance floor, the underground music scene cultivated the tastes of the young Tony and Vince Santora.
A couple of years apart, the two brothers' musical careers grew vine-like on the trellis of electronic music, from vinyl to Ableton and beyond.
And although it's been years since the pair lived in the same area code for an extended period of time, their influence on each other and their complementary musical personalities have permeated time and distance.
"I'm totally inspired by my little brother," Tony said Thursday afternoon, sitting next to Vince and surrounded by production equipment in the basement of his Steamboat home.
Tony, a DJ and Steamboat resident of seven years, and Vince, a San Francisco-based electronic music producer, will play a rare show together Friday night at The Tap House Sports Grill.
The Ghetdown Network, a DJ group based in Steamboat, is presenting an evening of electronic music from Tony, also known as DJ Theory; DJ Chris Freese; Chris Carlson, also known as Essell; and Vince, who goes by Vinja.
The show is free and starts at 9 p.m.
Sharing in music
It was Tony who first inspired Vince to take on the turntables.
As an avid drummer, a teenage Vince watched what his brother was doing with vinyl records and a beat mixer and said, "That's not music."
"I was going to reggae shows and drumming, and I couldn't identify with the four-four beat," Vince said. "It was when I first heard a break beat, it just clicked. Then I stopped making fun of Tony for being a DJ."
"Vince was real methodic — he'd be in the garage just playing on the turntables by himself," Tony said.
Now, Vince is a certified instructor on Ableton music production software, and he teaches production at a college in San Francisco.
Tony moved to Steamboat Springs in 2005 and has been playing gigs at parties, bars and music venues locally. He first started on the turntables while attending college in Denver in the late 1990s, inspired by the snowboarding culture and the underground music he listened to in high school.
Electronic music, he said, just captured him.
"It was just such a foreign concept back then," he said. "You really didn't know what was making the music. The sounds were so spacey and futuristic, and you saw the rotation of the records going 'round. I wanted to know what was going on."
He became fascinated with the sounds and dove into the culture, becoming a student of music from all eras.
Vince took after his brother in that respect. When producing his own music using samples, synthesizers and production software called Logic, Vince will reach back to a 1930s film soundtrack or sample vocals from an obscure hip-hop song, building a track beat by beat, layer by layer.
"You have to be patient, but it's fun," Vince said.
The two were involved heavily with electronic music long before the recent mainstream explosion of a subgenre known as dubstep.
And while the scene now is saturated with DJs and producers, Tony doesn't abhor its sudden popularity.
"Now, I think people are more open-minded when they hear it," he said. "They don't just thing of it as one kind of thing."
"And hopefully, they'll dig a little deeper," Vince said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com