“Last time he was in Barcelona, he calls me and says, ‘Do you want to have a coffee?'”
Ivan Gomez still sounds a little incredulous when reflecting on the friendship he developed with Peter Rauhofer. And no wonder: Rauhofer, the legendary Austrian-born dance music DJ/producer, was the Spaniard’s biggest and earliest musical influence.
“[He] inspired me,” Gomez says. “I remember buying his remixes as a teenager.” A transformative, Grammy-winning remixer, Rauhofer was also a preeminent figure in gay clubland — and a regular at D.C.’s Cherry — until 2013, the year he tragically died of a brain tumor at the age of 48.
More than just developing a friendship with Rauhofer, the 38-year-old Gomez is now poised to take up his mantle. In addition to prominent remix work for Cher, the Pet Shop Boys and Leann Rimes, Gomez has launched a label modeled after Rauhofer’s influential Star 69 Records. Edgier and more aggressive than the typical dance-pop mainstream, Guareber Recordings offers deeper dives into the club music sound, with minimal, provocative, often androgynous vocals. The goal, says Gomez, is to “become the favorite LGBT (and straight-friendly) label [for] every major DJ and fan around the world.”
Guareber Recordings is based in Barcelona, where Gomez was born, raised and still resides — just a few minutes from his mother, who Gomez came out to when he was 21, a year after his father died of cancer. “I told my mom at Christmas,” he says. “She started to cry for five minutes — and then it was okay.” It took her longer to accept his career as a DJ, which started when he was only 18, than to accept his sexuality. “My father said, ‘It’s okay, do what you want.’ But my mother, she thought I should look for a normal job and didn’t understand.” Now, though, she’s at least bemused by a career that, over the past decade in particular, has him spinning at parties around the globe. “She’s always calling me and asking, ‘Where are you now?'” Gomez laughs.
It’s a valid question, as his location can change daily. He’s in the U.S. and Puerto Rico over the next month, but there’s hardly any let up in his schedule until the fall. “I only have two weekends free between now and September,” he says. Gomez, who will make his Washington, D.C., debut at Cherry’s main event on Saturday night, plans to explore the nation’s capital all weekend. “If someone in Washington wants a date,” he says, “I’ll be free.”
Ivan Gomez headlines Cherry’s “Royalty” event on Saturday, April 22, starting with an opening DJ set by Kenneth Rivera at 10 p.m., at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW. Tickets are $20, with various passes available for the full weekend of events. Call 571-308-6568 or visit cherrydc.com.
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