Biography of DJ Skunkmonkey
|Real name / ||John Alvarez|
|Moniker(s) / ||Skunkmonkey|
Skunkmonkey a.k.a John DNR Alvarez is the most versatile innovator in the rapidly evolving world of dance music. Already building a solid reputation with his Up-Front style, the New York based producer/DJ is now laying a new foundation for what promises to be a long, fruitful career throughout the house community. He has debut tracks for Azuli / lnferno, Subliminal, Defected, and Deep vision Records which he produced together with Kings of Tomorrow’s very own Sandy Rivera. This and his subsequent work, both collaborative and solo, have heightened his profile, landing him on the radio and reviews in magazines like Muzik, DJ Mag and Mixmag.
DJing since the age of 14, the amiable Alvarez was a fixture at clubs like Zanzibar, Sound Factory Bar, and many more during New York’s halcyon days in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. He couldn’t ask for better inspiration and influence than such legendary talents as David Morales, Tony Humphries, Todd Terry and Masters at Work. Rather than limit himself to imitation, Alvarez was determined to carve out his own identity as a DJ. While living in the Bronx, at a time when everyone played the same style, he brought the underground house scene back home from the clubs.
DJing throughout the New York scene and working at a local record store, Alvarez met producer / DJ Sandy Rivera, who had recently hatched his label, Black Wiz. With their common bond in house music, the two hit it off immediately and began experimenting together in the studio. While none of this early material came to fruition, it laid the groundwork for future projects. In the meantime, Alvarez joined the ranks of the respected distributor, Downtown 161. Here he learned the intricacies of the music business, including the various tastes of the global dance music market. As Rivera’s success grew, Alvarez had the opportunity to experience first hand the scenes all over the world, all these different sounds expanding his musical vision.
His broad exposure and ability to incorporate new sounds is apparent in his work, both as a DJ and a producer. When he steps into the studio, it is all about the moment. His sets are also refreshingly unpredictable as he dips freely into deep and even tech house. His diverse style is something he is eager to share with the international club community. He thinks they’re sophisticated enough to “get it” and they’d appreciate the eclecticism. “I just want to play for a crowd and share the music I love with everyone.” Alvarez and Rivera caught the attention of Subliminal’s Eric Morillo who released their track “Forever,” featuring Shawnee Taylor, which sold impressive numbers globally on Subliminal Records.
Alvarez has since then done a number of remixes, including Michael Watford’s “For you” on Deep Vision. As Alvarez joined Rivera’s label Deep Vision he went on to release several remixes and original work such as “ Before The Storm “ a track hand picked by Oscar G for one of his world famous mixed CDs on *69 recrds. He is currently working on several cuts due for release in the coming year, which is committed to developing him as an artist. He plans to work with other producers and artists, as well as producing more of his own original material. While he is most widely known for his incendiary collaborations with Rivera [he will continue to work with his long-time friend because the sonic chemistry is there], Alvarez is proving he has the skills to take on club land solo. “There’s a lot of pressure to perform and produce at a certain level, but I’m up to the challenge. I’m using the pressure I put on myself to make me work harder. Its nerve- wracking, but it’s exciting.”