DJ OF THE WEEK 4.14.14: THE SALIVA COMMANDOS
In looking up the definition of “underground”, the obvious one, beneath the surface, was the first to pop up. After that came “a group or movement organized secretly to work against an existing regime”, which describes what many of us consider ourselves. As DJs, artists, producers, dancers, promoters of a scene that started in houses, warehouses, basements, lofts and secret locations the word “underground” has come to represent a lifestyle.
The most underground of DJs and producers have been around so long that to hear their names now would make them seem new to the scene. Such is the case with this week’s DJ of the Week, The Saliva Commandos.
The first time I had the opportunity to hear George Aponte (The Saliva Commandos) was a year ago. He has an infectious way of putting together the rhythms that lead to a song that grow into a mix that make your body move, without even thinking about it.
Aponte lives by the philosophy that “In the Music industry uniqueness is what allows individuals to stand out.” This Bronx NY native spent his childhood frequenting street jams. During one interview he shares: “….I would go with my brothers and we would listen to the Zulu Nation DJs…it was an amazing experience and a massive influence on what I do now….” Being exposed to music this way is what sparked his interest in DJing that led him to start in 1985. Aponte is a self-taught DJ whose passion kept him indoors mastering his skills while his brothers mastered sports.
At the same time that the name “The Saliva Commandos” was born, Aponte established himself as a producer in 1996 with the underground hit “SERVE” on Progressive High Records, under the moniker GBravo, which he dropped in favor of the unique and memorable The Saliva Commandos. In 1998 he produced” Serial Buff,” increasing his notoriety. The song quickly became a favorite for such DJs as Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenagelia, Johnny Vicious, Merrit, Lord G, Hex Hector and many others. Progressive High Records also released Saliva Commando remixes of “Serve” and Miss Fernando’s “Octopussy” in 1998.
As remixer and producer, The Saliva Commandos has managed to keep it as underground as it gets, preferring that the attention be focused on the artists and the music. Through his professional career, he’s worked with such producers as Hex Hector, DJ Dome Marco Marquez and Mr V and artists as Mona Bode, Cinderella Marin, Kimicoh and Nadine Navarre, with releases/remixes on such labels as Soul Shift, Azucar Distribution, Hi Bias, Jackdat, Strictly Rhythm, FREEZE, Flava Muisc and Slanted Black. In 2011 he was signed to Launch Records*, run by Gladys Pizarro, and released his self-titled EP ‘This Is The Saliva Commandos’.
He’s gone from “under the radar” having a handful of remixes/releases in the last couple of years to already having four in 2014, one remix (Mother Tongue – Mario Bianco) featured on United Music Records’ (Hallex M – Hong Kong) WMC 2014 compilation and in his most recent endeavor, which 1200Dreams reviewed in October 2013, is due out Spring 2014 on Sole Channel Music. He not only produced the music accompanying Michelle Rivera’s lyrics, he directed the video featuring the artist and he is working on a new project with Rivera, which is the lead “Exclusive” track to the mix selected to accompany this article.
His talents are hardly restricted to music. As a screen writer and director, his film short “Stuck on Stupid” was filmed on location in Bronx, NY utilizing local talent.
The underground can hold growth like this only for so long. And, while The Saliva Commandos makes it a point to always see and think without the walls of a box, his humble approach to what he does keeps him as one of those rare gems, shining bright through the surface, catching the attention of those around him.
Click play and Taste the Music.
*Edited on Monday, April 14, 2014. Originally reported as defunct, Launch Records is alive (much to our celebration)