Born in Lima, Peru and based in NYC, Maria Chávez is best known as an abstract turntablist, sound artist and DJ.
Accidents, coincidence and failures are themes that unite her sound sculptures, sound installations and other works with her improvised solo turntable performance practice.
Maria was a research fellow with the Sound Practice Research Department of Goldsmith’s University of London from 2015 - 2017, artist in residence with the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus/Aalborg, Denmark and an Arts Fellow with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
Her sound sculptures and installations have been exhibited with the JUDD Foundation (Marfa, Texas), the Getty Museum (Los Angeles) as part of PST LA LA, along with a commissioned composition for Every Time A Ear di Soun for Documenta 14.
In March of 2018, Maria will complete a ten-day artist residency at University of Richmond, featuring current students engaged in working with sound as an art form. This artist residency will be in conjunction with the Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond and the city-wide Sound Arts Festival running from March to August 2018. The University will present a performance and conversation as well as an arts exhibition in the Harnett Museum of Art, featuring a new body of work by Maria entitled, Topography of Sound: Peaks & Valleys.
As a DJ, Maria has shared her expansive music collection of techno and house music alongside iconic electronic musicians and DJ’s like; Simian Mobile Disco, Demdike Stare, Powell and Regis. She has DJ'd all over the world, most recently in Moscow (Dewars Powerhouse), Lisbon (Galerie ZDB), Basel (Kaskadenkondensator Gallery) and Istanbul (Pendor Corner).
Her DJ mixes can be heard via her Soundcloud page and will have an upcoming DJ residency that begins this month called Reunions. Excited for this 7th installment of CST RADIO, as we stay warm with Maria's 'Voutsa Winter 2018" mix.
CST: Where are you from and where do you live now?
MC: I was born in Lima, Peru, grew up in Austin, then Houston and have been living in NYC for 12 years.
CST: Introvert or extrovert?
MC: Depends on the day
CST: Whats your sign?
MC: Gemini w/ a Capricorn Moon
CST: What is your favorite record shop?
MC: Depends on the city! 2 Bridges Music Arts under the Manhattan Bridge in NYC, Aaron Dilloway’s shop- Hanson Records in Oberlin, Casey Block’s collection- EAT Records in Brooklyn, Plattfon Records in Basel, Switzerland, T-Trane Records in Perugia, Italy…that’s off the top of my head.
CST: What is your morning ritual?
CST: What is your dream lineup for a party and what would you name this party?
MC: That’s too hard of a question…there’s so much...
CST: What parties/underground spaces did you go to when you first started partying?
MC: Back in Houston, in the warehouse district, I would go to the Orbit Room, all the big raves at the I-Ball, I had my first DJ residency in downtown Houston at Dean’s. In NYC, I performed at Bowery Poetry Club with Thurston Moore in 2001. That was my NYC debut. Then I played Tonic a couple years later, just before it closed. Played the old Free 103.9/ Wave farm space by the Williamsburg Bridge. Roulette on Greene St. in Soho, the old Eyebeam space in Chelsea.
CST: What was the first record you ever bought?
MC: Jackson 5 Christmas album when I was 5, first cassette was Janet Jackson Control, first punk album Velvet Underground White Light/ White Heat, first dance record I ever bought is a remix of Luther Vandross w/ Change- the Glow of Love when I was 16..I still have it somewhere in my studio.
CST: Where was the first party you ever went to?
MC: In Houston, if it was a rave, then it was this one party when I was 16 at the Orbit Room. They gave me a DJ Mix cassette that I danced to in my room for another 4 years. I lost the cassette ages ago. I really regret it.
CST: What are you reading right now?
MC: I’m writing more at the moment. Sometimes I’ll read a page or 2 of The Royal Commentaries of the Incas by Garcilaso De La Vega, a real life account of the Incan Empire during it’s most powerful time. It's from the perspective of this Spanish noble who’s mother was an Incan Princess and father was a Spanish general. It begins with the story of how Peru got it’s name. It’s fascinating and terribly heartbreaking. Especially if you're Peruvian.
CST: What are your other interests besides djing?
MC: Focusing on my sound installation practice, my performance work as a turntablist, writing another book, lots of writing, making these new paintings for my upcoming solo exhibition at the Harnett Museum of Art that opens March 28th. Other interests outside of my creative work would have to be 'chasing summer'...
CST: Biggest vice?
MC: Wild sleeping patterns due to travel and late night gigs
CST: Happiest moment?
MC: So many, I’m very lucky.
CST: Favorite part of the day?
MC: 2am - 6am
CST: Do you collect anything else aside from records?
MC: Vintage clothes
CST: Where is your favorite place to dance?
MC: Any place with good tunes.
CST: Is there a concept or theme for this mix and if so, can you tell us about it a little bit more about it?
MC: I’ve been providing playlists and DJ mixes for this contemporary pattern design company, Voutsa, here in NYC for a few years now. George and I have been friends for ages and every season he gives me keywords and themes to think about, but always gives me freedom to be me for each mix. I really love that. Themes of this mix were developed for the opening of his new showroom in Soho. Key words included "Sylvestor, Haprischord/ Baroque & acid-tripping-California-dessert (think The Doors)". Was super fun to make, like always! Very NYC winter!