Oscar G on what it means to be Made In Miami
History shows that, on the surface at least, Miami has never quite grown out of its obsession with glamour and extravagance. Across decades, the city has clung stubbornly to the reputation of its nightlife: a playground abundant in beauty and wealth, where the elite celebrate lavishly within their VIP booths while an endless shower of confetti rains from a strobe-lit sky.
Few artists have had the opportunity to get to know Miami’s music and nightlife circuits as intimately as Oscar G. He’s experienced both worlds as a performer, artist and music lover and he is well acquainted with the city’s changing tastes and patterns, as well as its persevering counterculture.
“I’ve been DJing parties from the time I was 12 years old. I have gone through so many phases of Miami’s music scene. I have seen it cycle over and over again,” he says. “That’s why I never lose faith in it.”
While posh clubs and velvet ropes may characterize the way most of the world views the Magic City today, Oscar knows a different side. “Many people think of Miami as the beach, neon, deco, bottle service clubs, etc. For me, Miami is about Little Havana, The Heat, 2 Live Crew, TK Disco, graffiti, cafesitos, La Ermita De La Caridad, dance circles, drums and Afro-Cuban percussion everywhere.”
He maintains the city still hasn’t lost the underground spirit that shaped legendary venues like Space in the ‘90s and early 2000’s, and helped establish Miami as a party destination. “There has always been an element of grittiness since I can remember. I don’t think Miami will ever lose that. It just tends to ebb and flow based on its popularity at the time,” says Oscar. “Beyond that glossy facade there is still a thriving scene where new artists are being broken and different ideas and concepts are being offered. You just have to be willing to dig a little.”
He should know. A central part of the long-running Made in Miami parties, developed as a platform to showcase local artists, Oscar credits his many years behind the decks in this city for giving him a unique perspective and appreciation for the history and nature of its music scene. Often incorporating an abundance of disco and old school hip hop flavor, his own sets almost always feel like part of a large, overarching homage to music throughout the ages. “I have a giant library of sounds, ideas and experiences to draw on,” he says, most of which he’s acquired across years and years presiding over clubs and parties.
“Slave to the Dark Beat: a condition that is known to cause involuntary body moment when exposed to pulsating tribal rhythms.”
One of his favorite residencies was a ten-year run at Space, where Oscar played eight- to ten-hour sets every week. He’d spend his entire week preppy for those weekly marathons. “That experience was a DJ’s dream come true. When you are that connected to a place it becomes an obsession.”
The club’s owners have changed since his last days at Space, and so has Oscar’s relationship with the venue. “I put a lot of love and effort into that place for many years. I consider many of those people family,” he says. “That connection is not there anymore. Maybe someday that will change.”
In the meantime, he’s focused on his current residency at Pacha in New York City, a place he’s come to call his second home. “It really filled a void I felt at a time when I was going through it with Space. I used to travel up there just to hear DJs like Junior Vasquez, Louie Vega, Tony Humphries, Frankie Knuckles…I never imagined I’d get a chance to do my thing there.”
Despite his love for the Big Apple, Miami will always be Oscar’s home. It’s where his family is, and it’s the culture he was brought up in. Despite the Miami’s high turnover rate for culture and art, he’s never given up his deep love for the city’s ever-evolving musical culture and his continued desire to affect it in new ways.
“I have always believed we have home-grown talent that is on par with the best in the world,” he says. “When you play consistently for years in a certain scene it eventually influences and hopefully inspires other artists around you.”
It has – over the years, Oscar’s become something of a symbol for the city among music lovers that know anything about house music. Fans and critics have graced him with the title, “The Sound of Miami,” even though he’s never found a concrete definition for just what it means to be a city’s “sound.” His approach to music and performing hasn’t changed over the decades, nor has that reputation. “My main objective is for people to feel the need to move to my beats and come away feeling like they’ve experienced something unique and memorable. I guess that is the ‘Miami Sound.’”
In addition to plenty of new music scheduled for release via Murk Records, Oscar also recently launched Murk Monday, a weekly pure house party in Wynwood at Coyo Taco. He will be playing one of his famous Made In Miami parties at the National Hotel on Saturday, March 21 for WMC, as well as performing with DJ Sneak at Steam Miami on Saturday, March 28.