DJ is worldly wise, insanely danceable
Alex Gimeno's Ursula 1000 keeps the party on deck
Ursula 1000 is the nom de DJ of Alex Gimeno. He's the fun chap over there behind the decks Ñ the one in the Buddy Holly glasses and skinny tie, most likely hoisting a Pernod on ice.
'Kinda' Kinky,' Ursula 1000's recent CD, is a bubbly quaff of vintage '60s-influenced pop. Tracks like 'Beatbox Cha Cha Cha' and 'Samba 1000' are pure lampshade-on-head, dancing-on-the-tabletops type of stuff. On the lead track, a posh-sounding Brit purrs and giggles in a voice that oozes with sex: 'Oh, now that is kinky!' she cries with delight.
Though Ursula 1000 is better known in NYC music circles than in PDX, that's all the more reason to treat yourself to his globe-trotting charms. As one of the leading exponents of the lounge-core sound, Ursula 1000 records on Thievery Corp.'s respected 18th Street Lounge label. Still not impressed? Gimeno has just been asked to remix theme songs for 'The Powerpuff Girls' and 'Sesame Street.'
Gimeno, 35, is the American-born son of Spanish immigrants. His father was an arranger-composer and trumpet-violin player in Los Chavales de Espana (the Boys From Spain), a well-known Spanish big band.
'Their heyday was the era of the '50s to the '70s. They played pre-Castro Havana, Las Vegas, all that stuff,' Gimeno says from his Brooklyn neighborhood.
'I must have picked it up genetically, but my strong points have always been percussion and rhythmic things. And I've just always been a record freak, collecting and buying.'
Though he went through 'that whole rave thing,' there is more rumba/samba and disco to his sound than pounding beat tripping.
Gimeno just returned from a whirlwind tour of Turkey and Greece. His border-hopping lifestyle can feel weird at times, he says.
'I'm in and out of these different parts of the world so fast, just hitting all these great parties, not seeing anything else,' Gimeno says. 'I did an opening for an H&M clothing store in Sweden recently and played a big party from inside of a cave.'
Back home in New York, Ursula 1000 draws regular crowds at his weekend parties. At the Soho Grande hotel lounge in New York on Saturday nights, rich Euro tourists and actress-models might do the conga line if the spirit moves them. 'Undressed Fridays,' held at a discreetly underground place called A.P.T. in the meatpacking district, is even more uptempo, says Gimeno, and more his style.
Ursula 1000's sound is torn from old scrapbooks: vintage movies, television, '60s cocktail culture and old music-library material.
'Nowadays people think it's kind of campy or whatever,' Gimeno says, but he keeps up with the new genres galloping round the bend, too.
Recently Ursula 1000's music was used on TV ads for Kellogg's, Adidas and Nissan. The catchy 'Samba 1000' tune also was used on a 'Sex and the City' episode in which actress Kim Cattrall seduces the UPS guy.
'The past couple of years the ad agencies are so ahead of the music scene,' Gimeno says. 'I'll discover something, and then I'll hear it in a car commercial. Ad work is a nice way to make money, but there is that element of sellout.'
'My live style is a mix of house-techno style and hip-hop style DJing because I do like to scratch. It really is eclectic. There are definitely elements of what people are expecting, that '60s-influenced loungey, clubby stuff, but I like to throw in a lot of surprises, too.'
Eric Kilkenny is one of Ursula 1000's most passionate Portland fans. He will open here for Ursula 1000 as Martinibomb, along with DJ Elliott. Chicago-based DJ Heather will close the night out with hard-hitting house.