Interview: Wheeler Del Torro
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Hi Wheeler! Thank you for chatting with me!
When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I have been a part of the music industry since I was 14-years old. My first job was working for a concert promoter handing out flyers on the weekends when I was in high school. By 15 I decided that I was ready to launch out on my own and planned my first pop-up restaurant. I used the skills I learned from concert promotion to promote it for 3 weeks nonstop. In the end I passed out over 300 flyers and I was sure at least 200 people would come. No one came, including my own big brother.
In addition to your own musical work, you promote and host events! Tell us how you got started with that!
After my first pop-up and the less-than-zero response I got, I swore I would never host another event. I was so embarrassed. It wasn’t until I moved to Paris after high school that I tried to host another event. My first event was called “Cafe Zanzibar” and was inspired by two Zanzibar-themed clubs: NYC’s Café Zanzibar from the 1940s and New Jersey’s Club Zanzibar from the 1980s. It had a much different turnout, much to my relief, and turned into a regularly sold-out event. My pop-up events have taken on many forms and names throughout the years, including my most popular event “Maroon”.
What is your favorite city you have hosted an event in?
I would have to say one my favorite events was one I hosted on the Orient Express while riding from Thailand to Singapore. We hosted a “Cafe Zanzibar” pop-up focusing on break beats and jazz remixes.
You started Maroon as a pop-up event while you were in Paris. Will you talk about what it is and how the idea started?
I was living in Paris and short on cash, so I decided to try my hand at hosting another pop-up restaurant. I had been enrolled in culinary school for a few months and figured why not? With the help of my girlfriend at the time and her friend I got about 100 people to show. I was inspired by the turn out and hosted another one. There were less people this time, but everyone had a great time and word spread. By the time I hosted my third pop-up I had about 150 in attendance, and the numbers kept growing from there. The pop-ups were amazing - they turned into huge jam sessions everyone loved - so I kept hosting them until I moved back to the States.
You must stay incredibly busy! How do you keep a balance with everything you do?
This summer has been kind of tough. I’m the front man for my own band called Beautiful Thieves and we finished our debut album a few weeks ago. I have also been on tour with Chairmen of the Board as the DJ and musical guest. They are an incredible live party band and group of people in general so, while it’s been a lot of juggling, it’s also been a lot of fun. Due to lack of time, I’ve cut back on my pop-ups to about once a month for now.
Do you have anything coming up you would like to promote?
I’m on tour for the rest of the summer with Chairmen of the Board. You can always check out our upcoming shows – and see if we are going to be in a city near you - by checking their website (http://www.thechairmenoftheboard.com).
In the fall, you can preorder the The Beautiful Thieves debut album on Beatport.
Please let everyone know where they can find you and your work!
Wheeler del Torro
CEO, Dog Day Recordings
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