Jose Guerra aka “Beatwalker” started his musical journey in Texas in 2002. After joining the Marines in 2006, he was introduced to the eclectic and soulful city of New Orleans. There, he started DJ’ing at various well-known clubs in the area including Ampersand and Republic, which are both known for regularly featuring internationally known artists. He has also headlined for the show Dirty Beats, which packed 500+ shows. While moving only for a short time to Tampa, Beatwalker made himself known by regularly DJ’ing various shows in Tampa, along with other various cities including Orlando, Port Charlotte, Worcester, and Providence.
The following interview took place with Human Diaries; we hope you enjoy it! Please like & share.
Q: Hi Jose! Please tell us about yourself, your military service, and your journey toward becoming a recording artist
A: I was born in South Texas in the small town of Falfurrias. My musical aspirations started early on with the trombone, which, in my opinion, is probably one of the best instruments to play. I then picked up turntablism in 2002 while in college at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. What started as a small hobby ultimately turned into a passion that I’ve held on to ever since.
I decided to join the Marines in 2006, which was another decision that I would never want to change. The experience has been great and is still a significant part of my life. My production career didn’t start till 2010, so I’ve come a long way in a few short years. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great artists along the way, both with personal productions and releases through my label Downfire Productions. There will be plenty more to come in the near future, that’s for sure!
Q: Please tell us about your creativity process when making music.
A: My creative process is pretty simple now. For starters, I use Ableton for the majority of my productions. I’ll have to say, before even getting to the creative part of the process, the hardest part of the learning process was navigating through the program (Ableton) and learning its ins and outs. Depending on the style of music I am creating, which is pretty vague these days, I’ll start with drum patterns, basses, then synths. These are the primary parts of any song for the most part, so once I have a good base, I’ll add the addition effects and what not. I’ve been able to build up a solid gallery of projects over the years so I’ll cheat a little and go back to an old project or 2 and tear down and rebuild again. The timeframe for these projects can range from a few hours to a few weeks depending on the time I’m able to get into the studio. I have some projects available for free on YouTube and Blend.io, just search for “Beatwalker”.
Q: Could you please tell our readers about your traveling experiences and where you find your biggest audiences?
A: I’ve been fortunate enough to do a good amount of traveling in the US. Even though not always traveling for my own shows, I’ll try to catch some of my favorite artists while on the road. Some of the biggest shows I’ve done were, hands down, at the Amphitheater in Tampa. This was my home for 2 years, so I’m a little biased, but the place and crowds there are amazing. My next goal is to perform at a significant festival and I’ll keep pushing till I am afforded the opportunity.
Q: Is there anywhere else you would like to travel? Have you performed internationally?
A: I have yet to travel internationally, but this year I am getting the opportunity to go to Central America. It will be through the military and not for music, but of course that’s not to say I won’t try to get a show and produce music while I’m there. I don’t have a specific place I’d like to perform because I would want the experience of a variety of different locations all over the world. There’s way too much out there to choose just one :-)
Q: New Orleans LA is known for its round-the-clock nightlife and vibrant live-music scenes; how do you keep up with such a busy schedule?
A: New Orleans has definitely become my home over the years. I’ll say, it’s like no other city you can experience, particularly with regard to nightlife, culture and people. You can get caught up in this city’s crazy lifestyle as I did when I first arrived here in 2006, but I’ve been able maintain a more disciplined schedule after getting back here a few years ago. I don’t typically do shows here, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it allows me the time to focus on my music productions and other business ventures.
Q: The music industry is full of challenges and trials; what keeps you going when you face obstacles?
A: The music industry is so different now than it was say 10 years ago. It’s extremely competitive and at times discouraging. I don’t look at what I do as a competition because it’s still a hobby for me, and the passion I have for it is definitely what keeps me going. I’ve been asked, “why aren’t you bigger by now?” a few times by fans and friends. The truth is that I’m not sure I want to be. I guess I just always want it to be fun and I don’t want it to ever be a burden or something I’ll hate doing someday. Don’t get me wrong, if I am making money while doing what I do and love at the same time, then that’s great, but there is a line at some point in the transition and I really can’t speak about it because I have yet to cross it.
Q: How can one buy your music or attend an event where you will be performing?
A: Most of my music can be found on Spotify, iTunes and Beatport. There are some free tunes available on Soundcloud, but the majority of my past remixes were removed so if you hear something you like, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Do you have any funny stories you’d like to share?
A: While not a funny story, I did do my first stage dive a few years ago at a show in Tampa. Although terrified of falling, a little liquid course helped me out and I went for it. I’m not sure it could have been smoother, to be honest, because it felt like I was on a cloud for a bit. There was also that one time my first DJ gig in college got raided, but we won’t go there. ;-)
Q: What do you think of Human Diaries?
A: I think Human Diaries is very inspiring. I love reading about other peoples ventures and experiences. This kind of interview is not something I typically do, mainly because I’m not one to boast. I do feel it’s good for someone looking to get into production or the music industry. It gives the reader a live perspective and HD does do a great job of exploring these experiences.
I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite authors. It’s a principle I try to follow, not only with regard to productions but in everyday life and my other ventures.
“If you want to do something, work yourself into a state of wild enthusiasm and go to work where you stand, even if it’s nothing more than drawing a picture in your mind of the thing you want to do, and keep drawing that picture, making it more vivid all the time.”