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Latin DJs mix it up at local clubs

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It’s a Thursday night — ladies night — at Cans in downtown Tacoma, and everyone is ramping up for the disc jockey to take the stage. He arrives at around 9:30 p.m. to set up, and it doesn’t take long for the dance floor to start filling up. Pedro Lopez has been a DJ since high school. His cousins encouraged him to do it, and he started small with house parties while still in school. Eventually, he worked his way up to smaller clubs. Once he got his foot into bigger venues in Tacoma and Seattle, there was no stopping him.

“It snowballed from there,” says Lopez. He’s originally from San Diego, but spent a lot of time growing up here.

Lopez doesn’t play just hip-hop and rock, but a mixture of different genres including Top 40 music and party rock. “Most people expect hip hop if they come into a club these days,” Lopez says. “It’s nice to be able to takes other genres of music and present them in a way that people are willing to accept it.”

He enjoys introducing people to new music. “It’s great to get people to open their minds up to different genres of music,” he says. “It’s nice to be able to surprise people.”

The Latin community is growing in the South Sound area, and Lopez, whose half Mexican, is one of many Latin DJs in the area.  

If you would rather go out on the weekend, Latin DJ Benny Rivas can be found at Oh! Gallaghers in Lakewood with DJ Mauro on Saturday nights. Rivas is originally from Puerto Rico and played in AAA baseball there before relocating to Tacoma.

He came up here for a job on Fort Lewis, but saw his friends working as DJs. Rivas has been doing it for 10 years now. What does he enjoy most? His response: “seeing everyone happy and dancing.”       

If you can’t make it out to Oh! Gallaghers, you can also see Rivas at Tacoma’s 21 Commerce on Wednesday and Friday nights.

[Cans, DJ Redro, Thursday, 9 p.m., 100 S. Ninth, downtown Tacoma, 253.272.0777]

[Oh! Gallagher’s, DJ Benny Rivas, Saturdays, 9 p.m., 7304 Lakewood Dr. S.W., Lakewood, 253.476.8787]

[21 Commerce, DJ Benny Rivas, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 p.m., 21st and Commerce, downtown Tacoma, 253.272.6278]

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