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Before The Music Interview Series – Drink

Drink is a Salt Lake City DJ/Producer from our loud neighbor, Las Vegas. After being involved with the Vegas rave scene, he moved to Salt Lake City and quickly made his way into our community. His DJ career began in 1998 and since has played countless events, gaining respect among the most seasoned locals. On this weeks episode of Before The Music, Drink shares his DJ knowledge, reflects on the old school rave scene, and much more.

How did you get the name for your project?

I’ve had the name Drink since high school. It’s a shortened version of my last name, Alderink. It’s a nickname my homies had for me.

How did you get into EDM?

I was really young, my mom got me into it. When I was a teenager she was listening to The Prodigy. This got me into the EDM world, before it was called EDM. 

What year was this?

Probably around 94’ or 95’

When did you attend your first show?

I lived in a hispanic neighborhood in Vegas growing up. There was a group of guys called “Rebels.” I don’t know if they exist anymore, but back then, they were the guys throwing the raves. They were kinda weird looking biker Mexican dudes. One day they were like “Aye why don’t you go to the rave with us?” I was like “What the fuck is a rave?” “All the funky white boys put on crazy colors and dance around with glow sticks and shit” My homie’s little brother was with them and we rolled up to a party called Dr. Zeus World. It was at the discovery children’s museum of all places. It was the coolest shit I had ever seen. The DJs, lights, music, and all the discovery museum shit put together kinda turned me on to the idea of a rave. 

What year was this?

About 97’. I listened to the music a little before I ever went to a rave. 

When did you decide you wanted to start DJing?

I actually started DJing before all of this because of big Hip Hop. I was into graffiti and breakdancing. Typical B Boy shit. I was buying records before I got into EDM and had a Tower Records next to my house. I was browsing around when I discovered the Electronic Music section. I started to buy and mix Electronic records after that.

Why did you leave Vegas for Utah?

In 08’ the economy crashed and the company I was working for closed down in Vegas. They offered me a better position here in Salt Lake so I moved. I actually visited Salt Lake the summer before for a couple months and figured moving would be fine. They paid for me to move here and everything. Coming here was one of the best choices I’ve made. 

Were you playing shows in Vegas before you moved here? 

Yeah I was playing little warehouse shows before I moved here, opening spots and what not. A lot of my friends in Vegas were into Drum and Bass. I typically stuck with the Drum and Bass crowd out there. 

Once you got to Utah, how did you break into the Salt Lake scene?

There was a message board long before Facebook called Utah Raves. A lot of the local legends today were on there back then. I was talking to people on there in Salt Lake before I moved here. I only knew about Utah Raves because when I visited the summer before I went to Electric Lady Land, threw by Brandon and Jeremy. I was like “Holy shit, they have real raves here.” In Vegas the crack house law took over and we couldn’t do any of that shit anymore. It would get broken up right away. Anyway, when I moved here I met a guy named Nick Bliss. His real name is Cody Mitchell. I started hanging out with him and in about 09’ then Tink heard about me, TinkFu. I sent her a Dubstep mix since it was popping off at the time. She loved the mix. I thank her for introducing me to the scene. Dubstep was already poppin’ in Vegas. I remember seeing Caspa, Rusko, Mala, and all those guys in a small environment. I feel like I brought some of that Dubstep love to Salt Lake.

What genre is your favorite to play?

For the last probably 6-7 years my main focus has been on UKG, Garage, Bassline House, and kind of like some Night Bass. Also heavy on Juke, Footwork, Jungle Juke, and Jungle

For those who don’t know, what is Juke and Footwork?

It’s a genre that was invented in Chicago probably around the early 2000s. It streamed from the Chicago House, Ghetto House, Ghetto Tech scene. It’s pretty well known, but it’s not as mainstream. It’s pretty raw and the music is less engineered in a way. Most of it is 160/80 BPM and usually it’s on a 3/16th count. Instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, it’s 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. 

Who are some of your influences?

Early on Armin van Helden was big influence to me, also Tuff Jam. They were a group in the late 90’s early 2000’s making Speed Garage. Outside of that Robert Glasper is a huge inspiration. I’m really into Jazz music and he’s probably my favorite artist. Locally I have a bunch of inspirations. One big one is DJ Handsome Hands. I didn’t know this guy before I moved, but he grew up in my neighborhood and I found him here. He knew I was from Vegas so we clicked immediately. Now he’s over at U92 running things. Juliette is a big influence to me, she’s a great Drum and Bass DJ. I actually heard about SL Steeze before I moved here. He’s a really good example of a strong, versatile DJ. I’m sure you could give that guy any two songs and he could rip it. Nowadays I get influenced by everything. I could see someone throw a dope set and be inspired by it. 

Who are your influences outside of EDM?

Jazz, Hip Hop, Samba, Bossa Nova, stuff like that. Typically your smoother stuff like RnB. I like a little Reggae every now and then too. 

 How do you think the scene has changed since you first started DJing?

Accessibility. Becoming a DJ is so easy now. I’m not saying being a good DJ is easy, but taking on the action of wanting to DJ is easy. You can go anywhere and get gear. We had to go to Guitar Center to practice. We’d bring our little record bag and hop on the Technics until the manager came and kicked us out. It was either Guitar Center or going to a buddies house to practice. There was always this sense of community with DJing. Honestly I think that’s something that’s missing. I miss the grind it took to throw on some records back then. Playing at a homies house was always cool because we would try to one up one another with records. I don’t think the accessibility is a negative thing at all though. I think it has got more people into EDM. 

What do you miss about the old school scene?

I miss no cellphones. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I’m hardly recording anything or taking selfies. I want to see the person playing and live the experience. Getting a video on your phone is cool and all, but I think it hinders the experience quite a bit. I remember Nate Lowpass did a night where there were no cellphones allowed on the dance floor. Yeah boy, that was tight. 

Why did you stick to vinyl and not follow the trend to spin CDJs?

My homie owns Cutthroat Barbershop and had me DJing during a demo. The controller stopped working in the middle of the event. I told myself I would never let that happen again. After that I bought the Pioneer S9 mixer and a new 1200 mk7. It’s so much easier for me to pitch shift, scratch, and cue with vinyl. It feels so much better. I can’t really explain why. I guess its a personal preference. I can still play on CDJs and controllers, but prefer vinyl. 

What future plans do you have for your project?

In the near future I will be doing a biweekly mix show. I’ll probably stream it on Instagram while I record it and then post it to Soundcloud after. I also have some musical projects in the works right now. I have some DnB, Footwork, and some UKG Garage type stuff coming up.

Outside of music, what hobbies do you have?

Man I love to cook, I’m a foodie. I also like to bake every now and then. I’m into craft beer and coffee as well. Whatever it is, grilling, smoking, flying, I love it all. It almost goes along with the music. While I’m cooking it up I’ll be listing to music and writing down tracks I like. 

What is your advice for an upcoming DJ?

Be open. Don’t limit yourself to one thing. If you like one genre of music that’s cool, but don’t think others playing different genres aren’t doing good things too. Be open to different styles and genres of music. Take everything you can as well. Any booking opportunity is worth it. I’m not saying sell tickets to play, don’t do that, but get out there and play music. It will help with that initial fear of playing in front of people. 

What advice do you have for those dealing with depression?

Those who know me well know I went through a bad spell of depression. My life was kind of shit. I didn’t appreciate the things I had around me. It took lots of introspective thinking to get where I’m at. My best advice is to have a positive mental attitude and don’t care what others think of you. If other people aren’t feeling what you’re doing, that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It just means they aren’t feeling what you’re doing. Keep doing what you want to do and that positivity will bloom into something much bigger.

Is that what helped you get through your depression?

I had to take a break from social media. I feel like everyone compares themselves to one another on it. You can’t do that, you just have to do you. I know that’s a stupid phrase, but you just have to do you. Get out and do stuff too. Get off your computer and get into nature. Go have a good meal somewhere. Whatever it is, don’t stay shut away from the world in your house. 

What would you like your fans to remember about you?

Hopefully it would be that I’m a good DJ and could rock a set without screwing up too bad. I don’t expect anyone to feel a certain way about me though; they can feel however. I would like for them to remember good DJ sets. 

What challenges have you had to overcome with your project?

Changing peoples mind’s about certain genres. When I first started playing Dubstep people thought it was too slow and boring. “It’s not House or Trance…” Yeah it’s not House or Trance because that’s not what it is.

How do you plan on standing out from the rest of the DJs in Salt Lake? Oh man I’m just Drink. I’m not like anybody else in the city, or at least not like anybody else I’ve met. My background is a bit different than most people here and my musical tastes are drastically different. If anyone saw me play, I would stand out because I bring something to the table that nobody else is trying to do. 

What is something you’re proud of but never have a reason to talk about?

Whenever somebody talks about music, especially EDM, no matter where its, I want to tell them I opened for Skrillex. Thanks to Brandon and Jeremy for putting me on there. It was such a highlight. I look back on that day as the craziest day. It was snowing hella hard and the place was packed. Right when I started the whole Saltair was filled. 

What outside of EDM you are proud of?

I’m proud of how I dealt with my depression. I was always a negative person in most people’s eyes. I’m working really hard to change that though. I’m also proud to be happy and positive I want to spread as much of it as possible.

If we ended this interview and you found a winning lottery ticket for 500 million, what would you do with the money? 

Half of that would be going to Australia. Their wildfires are extremely bad right now. I’d probably take another quarter and distribute it to various charities. With the remainder I would open a coffee shop or something like that where DJs could come hangout and mix if they wanted to. It would be a safe place to come hangout and learn about music. Something outside of the rave environment. 

Follow Drink: Facebook x Soundcloud x Instagram

Wrote by:

Ethan Freeman – V2 Presents Intern