Originally hailing from tropical Maui, Alex Graham's first love was a pair of used 1200s that were the heartbeat of his island's full moon parties throughout the mid-90s. 20 years of global dance floors, friends, and memories later, he now continues to evolve his voice in NYC.
Alex's first exposure to electronic music and DJ culture took place around 1988 in Northern California - he was barely 11 years old. Throughout Alex's childhood, he spent his summers and New Year's Eves at Grateful Dead concerts that were produced by his family. It was within the notorious "Deadhead" parking lot camp grounds that Alex discovered masses of people from all walks of life dancing through the night to DJs spinning 'acid house' music. Homemade bass cabinets and walls of speakers hooked up to old, converted hippie buses that doubled as power generators moved the masses - something rarely seen in the world today outside of Burning Man.
These experiences had a profound impact on Alex. The do-it-yourself, non-commercial spirit peaked his curiosity - these people were determined to make the party happen by any means necessary. The priorities were communal and honorable. Little did he know what deviance lurked around him....which didn't even matter - the hypnotic music was captivating in its own right.
One can safely say that music is in Alex's DNA. He spent his entire childhood within a very musical world. With his father, he had hung out with and seen some of the greatest artists and bands in the world, including Santana, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Pink Floyd, as well as hundreds of younger groups like Jane's Addiction, U2, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Public Enemy, The Cure, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, and Depeche Mode. He had been exposed to an incredible amount of live music in all of its various genres and environments, from theaters and clubs, to arenas and stadiums. However, the world of electronic music - and the DJ craft that is so vital to the culture - was something unique and autonomous that he himself discovered; the path he created has always been entirely his own.
While still in high school, Alex began his DJ career by throwing some of Maui's (and Hawaii's) first underground outdoor parties. Soon he found himself flying to neighboring O'ahu on the weekends to spin at places like the legendary Honolulu warehouse club 'Afterdark', and various other after hours venues. Barely old enough to drive, he played alongside people like LA's Doc Martin and Sandra Collins, San Francisco's Mark Farina, John Howard, Spun, and Garth, and New York's Keoki.
Crossing the Pacific, Alex spent the next few years in San Francisco as a college student by day and DJ by night. It was here where he became accustomed to what today is one of his great skills: adapting his sound to different environments and crowds. For three years Alex played at clubs, raves, warehouse parties, and concerts throughout the greater Bay Area. Some highlights included playing clubs like the infamous 1015 Folsom and the Sunset boat parties, as well as opening for live acts such as The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Orb, Orbital, Underworld, Crystal Method, Fatboy Slim, Black Grape, and more at revered venues like The Fillmore and The Warfield Theater.
Transferring to New York City to finish college, Alex once again became immersed in the local underground dance music scene, becoming a regular at parties like Body & Soul @ Club Vinyl and Fridays @ Twilo. In 2001, he was approached by Jane's Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza Festival founder Perry Farrell (aka DJ Peretz) to go on tour with him as a DJ.
'I watch Alex', praises Farrell. 'Alex has his mixing down. You have to have years of experience to be so comfortable, to know how to play that machine. He's very comfortable. I like to sit behind and peek over at what he's doing, how he's rocking the decks. The tone of a room has its own timbre and a DJ can dial that in and make the room bounce. With experience you get to know that and Alex has got that down.'
In the fall of 2001, Alex was asked to go on tour with the reunited Jane's Addiction, not just as an opening DJ, but as an integral part of the Jane's live show. Dubbed the 'Jubilee' tour, Alex traveled with the band to arenas across the USA and Canada. Playing alongside a legendary rock band in front of 15,000 people at once was a rite of passage for Alex. 'I had the honor of setting the mood with sound each evening; of creating sonic ambience. My role, among other things, was to create anticipation. When the lights were dimmed and the energy in the room would just ignite- there's really no feeling like that.'
Ironically the setting was extremely familiar to Alex, who had spent half his life growing up and taking in the action from the side of concert stages. The difference was, 'this time, I was part of the show. It was quite humbling; an experience I will never forget.' Alex opened nearly every Jane's Addiction show (70+) from 2001-2005, worldwide.
In 2003, Perry Farrell again asked Alex to be his touring DJ- this time for the return of the groundbreaking Lollapalooza festival. Making its first appearance since 1997, Lollapalooza 2003 was an 11-hour outdoor music festival that played 29 cities across the USA. Alex played on the main stage throughout the day, handling the transitions between the live acts. With crowds sometimes in excess of 20,000 people per show, it was an exciting and challenging opportunity for Alex to not only rock a huge sound system, but also to engage a predominantly rock-and-roll audience with genres of music they might not normally be accustomed to.
Alex certainly has no shortage of experience. Since rising out of relative obscurity as a DJ, he has gone on to play some of the top clubs, festivals, undergrounds, and concert tours on five continents. These travels presented exciting challenges for him, as each performance situation has required its own individual level of focus, preparation, and programming.
Whether it was while pushing the packed dance floor at Pacha Buenos Aires to critical mass (in the midst of it's December 2001 near-anarchy, no less) or creating euphoria at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, he has learned something from each gig he's ever done and is constantly striving to improve his craft.
Alex has played over 150 venues throughout North America alone, including top clubs like Avalon Boston, Crobar, Cielo & Centro-Fly in New York, System Sound Bar in Toronto, The End Up, Compound, and Ruby Skye in San Francisco, and Motor Detroit; festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Ultra Miami, and prestigious concert venues such as The Fillmore, several House of Blues locations, and the Hollywood Bowl (where he became the first DJ to ever play there while on tour with Jane's Addiction in 2001). He has also rocked places as far away as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Bahamas, the UK, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, playing not only clubs but also world famous festivals like Redding UK and Fuji Rock Japan.
In September 2013, Alex was doubly honored by being booked to open for Paul Kalkbrenner (of "Berlin Calling" fame) at the recently opened Output in Brooklyn - which the global dance music community widely regards as the premier underground club in North America. Alex continued to play Output multiple times in 2014, including a standout 4-hour set opening for John Digweed in May, and most recently alongside Joris Voorn in November. Alex also hosted multiple "Techno Breakfast" parties in 2014 at various NYC loft locations, Output's Panther Room, and also in Tulum, Mexico during BPM 2014. As 2014 came to a close, Alex was invited by the highly acclaimed event crews CityFox & Listed Productions to play their "Diynamic presents The Maze" warehouse party in Brooklyn, and also hand picked by Sasha himself to play his Last Night on Earth party for BPM 2015.
Alex is unwavering and borderline obsessive at times in his pursuit of fresh and forward thinking sounds to share in his sets...spanning the entire spectrum and timeline of house, techno, and all melting points therein. Some of his major DJ influences include Laurent Garnier, Danny Tenaglia, Sven Vath, Francois K, Richie Hawtin, Derrick Carter, Sasha, Jeff Mills, and Derrick May, along with more contemporary artists such as Cassy, Dixon, Mario Basanov, and Tale of Us.
In 2006, Alex retired from his DJ "career" and went back to simply playing records for people who love the music as he does. Not one for the spotlight, Alex is discreet and now only plays for those who genuinely appreciate his unadulterated approach to the craft. With a range and wisdom for track selection so vast, and a penchant for long, layered harmonic mixing so tenacious, Alex has developed a mastery for contrast, programming, and flow in his sets that make his style truly unique and his reputation as a secret weapon all the more deserved.