by ALEX PEREZ//Feature Editor
Imagine being surrounded by flashing lights, people dancing and a great atmosphere created by you and your music.
DJ Ramo, more commonly known as Ray Hernandez, is a veteran DJ in Austin, Texas who has experienced nightlife in a whole different way and is now at South Plains College continuing his musical education to get an edge against his competition.
Hernandez was born in Levelland, Texas, where he began to find his passion for music and making beats.
“When I was a kid, all I remember was watching MTV a lot,” recalls Hernandez.
Hernandez remembers his first outlet to the music world and his interest in creating funky beats by watching MTV and listening to all kinds of music.
“I saw Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff’s video, and he was scratching, and I tried to use my dad’s record player, and do it like that, and I completely ruined it,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez showed his eagerness to practice at a young age and continued to keep going, even though there were limited resources in Levelland at the time.
He continued to go to school in Levelland until his freshman year of high school, when he and his family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he would begin the rest of his life.
“I wasn’t the popular kid by any means” Hernandez said.” I was like kind of weird.”
When Hernandez moved to Fort Worth, he was the outcast and did not have too many friends who loved music like he did. After the move to Fort Worth, Hernandez begged for a set of turntables and got his first set for his birthday.
“They were really (expletive), they were like a beginner set, and they were purple,” Hernandez recalls.
His first experience as a DJ with purple turntables was with his friends at home. His mixer was on top of a baking sheet. From then on, his high school friends knew him as DJ Frying Pan, until he became DJ Ramo. Soon after the purple turntables, Hernandez got new top-of-the-line equipment and really got into the music.
Hernandez’s father was in the Marines at the time, and he was stationed in San Diego during his senior year of high school. Presented with the choice to either live in Fort Worth or move to San Diego, Hernandez opted for Fort Worth and lived by himself his last year of high school.
“I didn’t want to walk because my parents weren’t there,” Hernandez said. ”That’s why it’s like important to me to walk at South Plains, because I want them to see it at least once.”
After graduating from high school, Hernandez went straight into his life as a DJ in the Fort Worth nightlife.
“The DJ was playing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” and it was the coolest thing,” recalls Hernandez. “If you could play whatever, that would be awesome.”
Right after high school, Hernandez says he did not take music as seriously, though he still really enjoyed being around it.
His very first show was at the tender age of 18 at a bar called “The Halo Lounge,” across from TCU. He remembers it as not the best, because he was just getting into the performing scene. He played a lot of slow East Coast rap, but it was still a very cool experience for him.
With practice, anybody can get good at anything, and that was the case with DJ Ramo. With time, effort and daily practices, Hernandez went on to be a three-time South By South West certified artist and has placed multiple times in a renowned DJ competition.
Hernandez has a residency at PLUSH nightclub in Austin, where he continues to do shows a few weekends out of the month. DJ Ramo has also opened for various artists such as rapper Action Bronson and for every single one of his idols, such as Shortcut, a member of the beat junkies, and J Rocc.
J Rocc has been and still is his favorite artist and his biggest idol. Hernandez recalls opening up for him and being really nervous but continuing on, even playing “Live From The Dugout 97.” J Rocc lit up with excitement, and he got to shake his hand on stage in front of everybody.
After the show, J Rocc surpassed everybody else who played that night and went straight to DJ Ramo and told Hernandez that he liked his set the best. Hernandez says that was one of the coolest moments of his career.
After many years in the nightlife industry, Hernandez moved to Lubbock to be closer to his family, including his new nephew and niece. Shortly after, he enrolled at SPC to become a sound technology major and fell in love with it.
This is Hernandez’s last semester at SPC, though he could be considered for teaching a mixing class.
“What I would like to do is make it a little more modern and highlight things that I think are important in making music now,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez takes a modern twist by fusing new music with old music. He would like to infuse that into his mixing class if he gets a position for the fall 2017 semester at SPC.
Going from being the weird outcast in Levelland, Texas, to playing at a major music festival and playing with some of his biggest idols. Now he’s trying to share his knowledge with others at SPC. Hernandez gets down and dirty with the funky beats of his life, just going with the flow effortlessly.
“My goal, and what I really like, is playing music that people wouldn’t normally dance to in a normal situation and seeing people dance and get down,” said Hernandez.