PICTURED: The Tech805 collective, from left: MedXx, Allan Guerrero, Alex Gomez, BobbleHood. In back: CMVib3. Photo courtesy of Allan Guerrero
by Karen Lindell
Techno music arrived in the 805 via the 313 (area code for Detroit), a jump over the pond to the 030 (Berlin), back to the 213/310/323 (L.A.), and finally leading to Ventura and Tech805.
Nick Vasquez of Camarillo, 32, who goes by his DJ name Allan Guerrero, fell in love with techno and house music in college around 12 years ago. On a trip to a Berlin nightclub in 2016, he realized how much he loved the culture along with the music.
“No one on the dance floor had their phones out,” he said. “No one was trying to impress everybody; no one had on collared shirts; and it didn’t matter who was playing — everyone was there for the music.”
Back in the U.S., he spent many late nights driving to L.A. with friends to hear techno and house music because the electronic dance music (EDM) scene was practically nonexistent in Ventura County. “The interest just wasn’t there; it was only Top 40 and country music,” Guerrero said.
So three years ago he decided to create Tech805, a collective of local DJs — Guerrero, DJ Alex Gomez, BobbleHood and MedXx — who organize techno and house dance events in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. They started out at the Golden China Restaurant and Hong Kong Inn in Ventura, and this year are hosting CLUB805 dance events at the Ventura Beach Club (the next one is Feb. 7).
“The concept is simple,” Tech805’s Facebook page says. “Bringing techno and house music to the 805. Developing a culture through local relationships, doing it for the love and passion! Providing a platform to give exposure to lesser-known area DJs.”
“We want to unite the 805,” Guerrero said. “We want to grow in the area working through relationships with other local collectives,” such as Club Fallout.
Benji Pelayo of Oxnard, who first got interested in techno/house music in 2015, said a friend introduced him to Tech805. “I got to meet Allan that night and gave him thanks for taking the initiative in doing something like this for Ventura County; we really needed it,” he said.
Guerrero is fiercely loyal to artists who are from and/or play in Ventura County. Who are the hottest techno DJs and musicians right now? “I’ll stick to local ones,” he said. “Right now the queen of techno is Annika Wolfe (www.residentadvisor.net/dj/annikawolfe).” He also mentions DJ Kaysin (www.residentadvisor.net/dj/kaysin) and X&Z (www.facebook.com/xAnDzZ/). The latter will play at this year’s Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara.
Pelayo said he thinks the EDM scene in Ventura County “is small, but . . . thriving. Local events . . . seem to be spreading and growing in attendance.”
For now, Tech805 shows are for those 21 and older only, but Guerrero said he’s working on ways to host events for younger people.
For those who aren’t familiar with house or techno music, the two genres are similar yet different. House, which started in Chicago in the 1970s as a reinterpretation of disco, has been described as more optimistic than techno, which came along a little later and is deeper and darker. Cornelius Harris, manager of the techno label Underground Resistance, described techno in a Detroit Bookfest interview as “inner city dance music with a futuristic vibe.” Over the years, however, some of those distinctions have become less important.
Pelayo said “the music speaks for itself. The many different sounds and beats incorporated into these genres have to be listened to. One might call it a blend of sounds that gives you this perfect mixture of rhythms that have hints of disco, jazz, hip-hop, or even rock at times. It can be relaxing, soothing, loud and intense, deep and calming, hypnotizing, even therapeutic at times.”
Tech805’s next CLUB805 techno dance event will take place on Friday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m., at the Ventura Beach Club, 281 W. Main St., Ventura. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/tech805/.