Have you ever met someone who's an all-around beautiful human being that makes you feel warm inside and oozes magical magnetic energy? Those are the vibes Andrés gave me when we first met.
He's a part of an international movement called Sofar Sounds that curates secret music shows that engage audiences with the artists on stage.
I wrote about it in depth and you can find that story by clicking here to get a better idea.
After meeting with Andrés outside of a cafe on one of those rainy Miami days, I was left inspired and motivated by the work he is doing for Miami's music scene. As the head of the Sofar Sounds Miami project he runs a large team, which is 100-percent volunteer based. In a flaky city like Miami, where people usually sell out on plans or show up three hours late it's incredible how much people believe in Sofar Sounds Miami. And the work Andrés and his team do weekly, for free- turned me into a believer too.
Who are you?
My name is Andres Daza, I'm 29, I'm Colombian- Italian and I moved to Miami in 2002 from Bogota Colombia. In Miami I work as a freelance producer and engineer operating out of my recording studio and independent record label Daza Records. I am also city leader for Sofar Sounds Miami leading an incredible team that curates and organizes secret shows all over our Magic City.
How did your occupation find you or how did you find it?
At a very young age my best friend's parents taught us how to use their turntable and let us loose with their extensive vinyl collection. They recommended we listen to The Beatles - White Album first. I vividly remember dropping the needle, sitting back on the couch, and looking at the album artwork, and going into a trance.
We listened to music for hours every time we hung out. That was the moment I fell in love with music, with sound, with art.
So I guess music found me.
Shortly after I was asked to join my friends band which needed a bass player. So I picked up the bass guitar and begun learning songs by Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Incubus, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin. Once I moved to Miami, I continued to play bass and joined a few bands. We used to gig at Churchill's Pub, Tobacco Road and other spots in South Miami, Miami Beach and Hollywood, FL. Eventually we got to record a few EPs and that's when the recording bug bit me. Everything changed for me then. I put together a home recording studio and begun recording and producing music with my friends.
As the director of Sofar Sounds Miami you and your team, have the ability to change the music scene in Miami and shed light on artists who would otherwise not have as much exposure. How do you handle that responsibility and what would you say are misconceptions of this gig? Or what are some cool realities that come with it?
Above all, it is an honor to be part of such an incredible organization and music revolution. Planning, curating and executing these secret shows all over the city has been an incredible experience and responsibility. It involves bringing together artists, hosts, volunteers and audiences in a way that showcases the music above all while building a music lovers community. I use a lot of my free time to talk to all parties involved and get everyone excited and on the same page. The most important part is to explain the Sofar philosophy.
Some common misconceptions I've heard about Sofar:
-Sofar Sounds is extremely exclusive and only open to a few, its a cult. > Anybody can sign up to attend a Sofar show in any of the 300 cities operating globally. You can sign up at: www.sofarsounds.com
-If you're late you can't get in to the show. > When ask attendees to be punctual. When the music starts we close the doors for the duration an artist's set, then during intermission we open the doors again for latecomers to join in.
-Sofar Sounds doesn't allow phones. > We ask for you to be respectful and silent during artist performances. No talking, and no phones policy is encouraged. We don't take anybody's phone. This creates an intimate vibe were together we respect our artist.
For me, witnessing the positive impact of music on people's faces is the coolest reality. When everyone at the show is still and listens, the magic flows and you can feel it. It's difficult to articulate, you just have to join us for a show and experience it yourself.
Last time we communicated you told me it was becoming difficult for you to make ends meet. With that being said, what do you need from your community? In a city like Miami where all types of musical styles are abundant why do you think it’s difficult for studios, and creative entrepreneurs like yourself to make ends meet?
The freelancer life is a huge financial risk, there is no safety net and you are responsible for every aspect of your business, from booking, to accounting, to the work, to social media, and etc. It's a lot of work. After unexpectedly having to move out of my old studio space, it's been difficult to work at full capacity without the adequate space.
The only thing I can ask for from Miami community is to continue to support local businesses, startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. There are so many ways to do this, go to shows and tip the bands, buy their music even if its on streaming services, skip the IKEA art isle and hire a local artist to create unique piece for your living room, volunteer your time, money and skills to movements and people you are aligned with. Even better, start something with your friends, anything you're passionate about. Take a risk and work hard!
I believe the music industry is struggling in general and this affects studios, musicians, labels, managers, and venues. To me it boils down to the perceived value of music. Consumers need to educate themselves about what it takes to organize a live show, produce an album, go on tour, etc. There are countless unquantifiable hours of hard work, dedication and love behind the scenes not to mention resources and costs.
You also freelance your sound engineering services and you own a studio, who would you say you’re trying to reach within this space and what led you to open it?
Unfortunately due to some unforeseen issues the studio is no longer going to be built [at its original location.] This has been a challenging year since I haven't had my home base. On the other hand this challenge has led me to seek a partnership with local studios so I can continue to work.
These change of plans have allowed me to redirect the intention of the loft into an artistic collective space that caters to all things art, yoga, video, photo and more. This is a new company that will be launching this year called Electric Air. So far, pun intended, we had @OdoboStudio and @Mutavision paint an incredible mural dedicated to music and Sofar Sounds Miami on our largest wall and we host yoga classes every week.
I'm looking to reach and collaborate with the musical, artistic, creative and innovative minds of Miami. Eventually, I'd like to have a self-sustainable solar powered multimedia production studio and music venue curating local acts.
What would you like to see come out more of Miami, artistically or on any level you wish to share?
I love Miami.
Miami is home and I want to see Miami thrive at every level. I would like to see Miami's cultural identity to extend deeper than the tourist party city label we've always had. I'd like to see investors and developers build less unaffordable residential luxury condos, which will add to the beautiful Miami skyline,but not its culture and build towards culture. Maybe build a music neighborhood full of venues, recording studios, radio stations, production studios, and rehearsal spaces. I'd like to see the city invest toward a better public transportation system that efficiently connected South Miami to North Miami under 25 minutes. I'd like to see more bicycle lanes and farmers markets. I'd like to see Miami move toward environmentally friendly practices both at business and consumer levels. I know we can make this happen!
To stay in touch with Andrés, or if you're in the market for a sound engineer, photographer or video work follow him on Instagram @Dazaaaa