The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

A tireless beat

Lifetime musician shows no sign of slowing down

John Blomster | Guest Writer
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It’s 7 a.m. at Espresso Metro and the morning rush is on. Students, professors and other assorted patrons shuffle in to grab their coffee to start their day.

Demand is high, and it’s pretty much shoulder to shoulder inside the coffee shop’s moderate confines. Amid the caffeine-fueled frenzy and above the customers’ heads, a bright purple and blue baseball cap is visible bobbing along to an inaudible beat.

Stationed behind the counter at the popular City College hub, Daniel Paez just can’t seem to get the music out of his head as he serves up lattes and cappuccinos to sleepy customers. Paez, in addition to being a part-time student and barista, is also an up-and-coming electronic musician in a slowly growing dance music scene in Sacramento.

Paez is back recording after a brief hiatus and is getting ready to release his third CD with his band, Altair Echo, sometime in early summer.

“Dance music is anything that kind of has a groove,” Paez says, looking out from underneath a San Francisco Giants cap that tops his lanky 6-foot-5 inch frame and covers his long, dark hair bound in a tight bun. His reserved smile cuts softly through a full beard.

“It’s anything that makes you rock back and forth a little,” he says. “Something that evokes a dancing reaction.”

When he isn’t attending music classes or making coffee drinks, Paez writes, records and produces his own electronic music in a Sacramento scene that is not yet the most accessible for new dance music.

“I’d like to say there’s a lot of innovation, but there isn’t,” Paez laments, as he sips a small cup of black coffee. “There really is much going on.”

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This all might change with the emergence of new artists such as Paez, who takes music recording and theory classes at City College to learn the finer points of making music.

“Daniel has always been interested in music,” Sam Cade, a longtime friend of Paez’s, says. “He’s always playing something.”

The young producer began his musical career in the third grade, playing violin. He played percussion and guitar throughout high school and was heavily influenced by instrumental indie-rock bands Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed! You Black Emperor, whose long, complex compositions appealed to Paez.

Intricate instrumental artists sparked an interest in the different components of music. An inspired Paez began producing his own electronic compositions during and after school at home or in his video-editing class at McClatchy High School. He continues to derive influence in his production from house music acts such as French club giants Justice and New York’s Designer Drugs.

In addition to his solo music, Paez has also played in bands Animal Funk, Sera Gloria and Streetlight Romance, and he is currently half of electronic rock duo Altair Echo. In the last two years, he has performed at numerous venues in Sacramento and the surrounding area, including Java Lounge, McClatchy High School, California State University, Sacramento, Espresso Metro, Club Retro and various living rooms.

High school friend Tracy Masuda has witnessed firsthand Paez’s musical development.

“He’s really changed his style a lot,” Masuda says. “He used to play more emo stuff. Now he makes beats. Stuff you can really dance to.”

Most importantly, Paez just wants to satisfy himself.

“I want to make things that I’m happy with,” Paez says, as he drains the last of his cup. “Hopefully, other people like it as well.”

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