Interview by
Danny Calvi
Photography by
JR Wallner
Mixtape by
Juan Ramos

Staycation Radio

25-year-old deejay Juan Ramos from New Haven, Connecticut grew up in a Puerto Rican household with both parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles listening to salsa music, merengue and Latin jazz. The radio was his close companion as well, and it nurtured his tastes for more bassy and synthetic sounds. Juan's summer vibe mixtape for BUTT mostly straddles the line between house and techno, with just enough congas and cowbells in the mix to make you think you're not just on staycation in Berlin, but also livin' large in the Caribbean.

After a month of gigging in the U.S. (party of the summer: Afterglow, a sexy and happy fest put on by some radical faeries in SF) Juan is super-happy to avoid the dreaded airport, and sleep in his own bed again. Juan lives in Berlin for just over a year now, but misses his American snacks on those occasions when he gets the munchies, which is, I discovered, like all the time.

Danny: Your Resident Advisor profile says you enjoy playing squash, tennis, golf, and most field sports. Is that bullshit or are you a total jock?
Juan: It’s totally bullshit. I’m not a jock at all.
What tribe are you — sorry, are you on Grindr?
Intermittently… I guess I’m a geek.
Now that you’ve been living abroad for a while, what do you miss most from the U.S.?
Oh, that’s pretty easy. I really miss this particular kind of bad Chinese food that we have.
Oh really? Don’t you have bad Chinese in Berlin?
It’s really not the same. It’s catered for German tastes — it’s okay, but it’s not like back home. I’m a perpetual smoker, and there’s just something about American Chinese food that’s very satisfying when you get the munchies.
Okay, let’s say we’re in Görlitzer Park and we’re going to pick up some weed… Do you hookup with the Moroccan and Turkish guys at the entrance, or the Sub-Saharan camp who’ve staked out the other side of the park?
In my fantasy, I guess I’m buying from the Turkish guys, but in reality I’m fucking lazy, so…
You’re hooked up, basically. Do they deliver in Berlin?
Yeah. It’s not as nice as New York City. In New York, the quality and the level of service is great — as an American, you kind of expect service with everything, whereas in Europe, they just don’t care about this idea so much. I really appreciate when the guy comes over and has like four different choices with some kind of description of each. It’s cute and it makes you feel good about your purchase.
Have you taken any odd jobs to supplement your deejaying?
Oh totally! I worked in a porn store for a couple of years. It was like a mega-porn store, very well lit. We sold clothing for strippers and thousands of DVDs and dildos.
Like an adult bookstore?
Yeah totally, but imagine the Walmart version of that. There weren’t really any books — we didn’t even have booths. That was kind of the downside. Afterwards, I worked in a porn theatre, which was kind of more exciting. I’ve done some work behind the scenes for other deejays.
You mean like as a record dealer, combing the stacks for a lazy deejay?
No, but that sounds like a dream job.

Juan’s debut EP ‘The Mariner (For G.G.)’ is out now on Friends with Benefits Records run by that happy-go-lucky couple David and Mathew (and Trevor who is un-coupled) in San Francisco, California.

Published on 29 August 2014