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As DJ culture scratches the surface of 2010, cliché cuts and minute-made, software-produced mixes are slowly becoming outmoded. For evidence, look no further than Fiero, a local tribe of DJs and instrumentalists who combine old-school crate-digging with manmade musicianship and trippy visuals. Their seasoned roster—DJ Nicky Savage (Nicholas Marin); DJ/bassist Disco, For Your Health (Jeremy Giovinnavo); and guitarist Sam Aftermath (Sam Chavuc)—is already garnering buzz for the assured, genre-hopping mix tape “Old Ivory” (currently streaming at www.fakerich.com). After months spent compiling a sound that encapsulates disco, hip-hop, electro and rock, Fiero offer crafty eclecticism and stunning visual displays that just might make you forget about your favorite turntablist.
OC Weekly: For DJs, has the local scene changed for better or worse as we enter the second decade of the 2000s?
Nicholas Marin: It’s definitely grown. There are a lot of talented DJs coming out of Orange County, which is great. Sometimes we might not always get the notoriety. With the growth of Serato [software] becoming a trend, you could throw a rock and hit the next DJ. That’s why I feel what we’re doing is trying to up the ante by bringing in live bass and live guitar and bringing a different show.
How does live instrumentation fit into your overall sound?
Sam Chavuc: Being a guitarist, I have the flexibility of coming in and out of songs, and it just gives more flair to help keep the momentum going, which is good about live instruments in this context. With Jeremy playing live bass, you have the funky feel complemented by the guitar.
How did Fiero get started?
Jeremy Giovinnavo: [Marin] came into play on the radio show on KUCI that happens after mine [Raiders of a Plastic Groove]. I do a show called Disco, For Your Health. And I guess they . . . realized that I was playing a lot of the same stuff [as them]. About a month later, I went out to see [Nicky] deejaying with Frankie Sax over at Detroit Bar. We ended up really getting together after that to make music, and everything clicked.
How does a Fiero performance deviate from a traditional DJ set?
Marin: We do live remixes on the fly, add live guitar and bass and remix tracks that are familiar to the crowd—but do our own little spin off it. It’s nice to go see a DJ play at a club, but it’s different when you can go see one play and actually watch one do it. It’s like more of a show than just someone playing a record.
You also incorporate visual effects, right?
Marin: We have a [visual-projection] rig being built right now that is controlled by a Nintendo Power Glove. We’re very influenced by the ’80s and ’90s, and we wanna bring all that culture with us when we deejay, in the visuals and music choices that we play.
When can audiences expect the full visual experience?
Marin: By January, we should be pretty dialed in and ready to go. Until we get the live stuff going, we’re going to be doing [traditional] DJ sets.
Chavuc: Combining live instruments with DJs isn’t something new. It’s more about how we go about it. As a collective, when we come out and perform, we make a ruckus. We have Nick, who’s like a showman who gets belligerent and gets the crowd’s momentum up really high, and that’s essentially what Fiero embody—just bringing the energy of the whole environment and collectively putting it out there. It’s just a big party.
Fiero play “Collaboration Celebration” for Monotone Clothing at Proof Bar, 215 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 953-2660; www.proofbar.com or www.monotoneoc.com. Sat., 9 p.m. Free. 21+. For more about Fiero, visit www.myspace.com/fieromusic.