Three years ago I was involved in something of a sordid love affair. Surreptitiously slipping out of the house four to six nights a week for turntable trysts, I would engage in orgiastic frenzies of fresh beats and frenetic body movement. I never tried to distill the music from the motion, couldn't distinguish the DJ from the door guy, and didn't care as long as I could dance — until someone slipped me a demo cassette. Suddenly, my tape deck became a prominent portal into discospace. I had discovered the house that the Midnight Boogie Strangler had built, and became an immediate fan of the local DJ less obscurely known as Josh Stone.
When he wasn't promoting a party through his own Low Budget Productions, Stone was throwing down a set at one; his presence in the San Antonio dance music scene has been an influential one since he began DJing eight years ago. But a gradual move over the past couple of years into production has meant less promotion, and Stone has settled comfortably into showcasing his creative efforts at a weekly residency, Been There Done That — a Low Budget Production — alongside resident DJ Luch, and occasional local contemporaries such as Paz Joaquin, Big Rich, Joe Alfaro, Gib, DJ Spettro, Abe Novy, Deepfeel, and Rise at Bruno's, a Puerto Rican restaurant that is transformed on Thursday nights into a delightful dive of a dancehall.
Stone is not trying to make the scene, or even make a scene, he's just happy to put a roof and four walls around a sound that this city tends to slight in favor of the bands in its live music scene. Located in the heart of that hell that was once known as West Hildebrand, the Caribbean kitchen makes for a kitschy club, but it's a chill setup: no posturing, no politics. People come with a penchant for quality music and quantities of alcohol, dressed down to dance it up to some solid house. "Because it's not necessarily about who is there," says Stone. "Big-name DJs or otherwise — it's all good music. The place is just supposed to be sort of an adult playground, where you can dance and have some cheap drinks." Bruno's is one of the city's few true club companions to underground music: There is a meager cover, a full bar, security (but no bumbling bouncers), and, because it is 21 and up, people are free to come and go as they please — any more chill than that and you would have to hang out at your own house. But then you would miss out on the music. In addition to the city's best house DJs, Stone recently brought down Chicago house legend Jordan Fields, and is introducing Arturo Garces to San Antonio on May 30.
Stone is also working on his original music. The DJ-producer ("I just say I'm an artist.") regularly lays down his own tracks. "It comes down to writing the music, as opposed to remixing someone else's," Stone explains. He's trying to get his label, Low Budget Recordings, off the ground, and has an upcoming project with Joe Reyes (of Lara y Reyes) to produce a Latin house track, with Reyes on guitar. Stone's current releases, Les Plasirs Exstremes
and Interstellar Refugees
are tight examples of his talent as a songwriter. Maybe one day he'll spin gold. Or platinum. At least until then he'll still be keeping us in the cool at Bruno's. Been There Done That
with residents Josh Stone, DJ lLuch
$5, no cover before 10pm, no cover for ladies before 11pm
527 West Hildebrand