‘Sweet Underground’ aims to make locals dance

Romane Donadini | Photo Editor
Nov. 10, 2015; 6:00 a.m.

Five Lindenwood international students wanted to make people dance, so they created Sweet Underground.

As stated on their Facebook page, Sweet Underground, is a “techno promoter” company that provides “underground music” –or not so mainstream music- “to the St. Louis area.”

Fernando_Luna,_Enric_Noguera,_Tomas_Acosta,_Diego_Aldea_and_Jose_Miguel_Ramirez_at_their_party_on_main_street[1]
Fernando Luna, Enric Noguera, Tomas Acosta, Diego Aldea and Jose Miguel Ramirez at their party on Main Street in St. Cjarles, Mo.
Photo from Sweet Underground’s Facebook page.
Senior Diego Aldea, 23, and junior Enric Noguera, 22, both from Spain, created Sweet Underground in April 2015 as they organized their first party in St. Louis. The two men were later joined by Fernando Luna, 22, from Spain and by Venezuelans Tomas Acosta, 21, and Jose Miguel Ramirez, 23.

Each member plays a different role in the project. Aldea is the director manager and one of the promoters along with Acosta and Ramirez, who is also in charge of all the designs. Luna, who is a disc jockey, is also in charge of the visuals, shooting videos and photos during their events. Known under his artist name DJ Nowels, Noguera is also a disc jockey and plays most of the time during the Sweet Underground parties.

“It’s just the beginning,” Luna said. “We are getting to know what we all are good at. Each of us is better at something than the others.”

“I’m good with that,” he said as he showed his camera.

By organizing parties where they promote different artists, including Fernando Luna –who uses his full name as his stage name– and DJ Nowels, the five men aim to share their own definition of music.

Aldea said “Our main point is the music. We won’t go ‘commercial’ at all. We are music passionate, and are going from deep house to techno. We are not going anywhere else.

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Sweet Underground logo, made by Orianna Montenegro, Ramirez’s girlfriend.
I think people can grow up and learn a lot from techno music. It is a very inspirational music,” he said.

The growing project, which, they said, means a lot to them, requires a great amount of work and they all put a lot into it.

Noguera said “We are working hard for it. It is not easy.”

In order to make a party happen, they take many steps. First, they have to find a venue and schedule a date. If DJ Nowels or Fernando Luna deejay for the event, they will use their own mixing tables and do not get paid but “do it from passion,” Aldea said.

However, if Sweet Underground brings other DJs to the party, then, they have to pay them and rent all of the equipment depending on the guests’ preferences. Aldea said that a considerable part of their budget will be spent for the visuals and the decorations as well as for hiring a security staff if the venue does not have one.

Sweet Underground’s second party was held on Main Street in St. Charles, where a lot of Lindenwood students gather on Thursdays and on weekends. The event occurred on Aug. 27, and Bombshell Bar and Grill hosted it.

They had started to plan everything for the party in May, Noguera said. Eveything was planned for Llywelyn’s Pub, also on Main Street. On Aug. 26, the day before the party, the pub’s manager canceled the event.

Noguera remembered, “I was desperate, I thought it was not going to be.”

“We had to work, and then we find some more contacts and had to go meet with him in the morning [of the event] (…) and then everything went perfectly,” he said.

Aldea added “We made it, we are proud.”

From the Sweet Underground team’s point of view, the party went well and many people enjoyed it.

“It was amazing,” Noguera said. “Just making people have these feelings, seeing them there, it pays off all the work.”

Amy Forehand, one of the Bombshell Bar and Grill’s waitresses who worked the night of the event, said that “everybody was so nice” and that “they were really appreciative of all the people that they [Sweet Underground] brought.”

However, she mentioned a problem regarding a lack of tipping. She said she believed this issue came from the fact that the audience was mainly composed of international students who are not used to America’s tipping culture.

Noguera said, “We cannot really control that.”

Lindenwood and its large international student body help their project to live and to grow, said the Sweet Underground team.

Fernando_Luna,_Tomas_Acosta_and_Diego_Aldea_at_their_party_on_main_street[1]
Fernando Luna, Tomas Acosta and Diego Aldea at their party on Main Street in St. Charles, Mo.
Photo from Sweet Underground’s Facebook page.
“Without Lindenwood people, there is no Sweet Underground,” Aldea said.

Even though none of the company’s members are from the United States, the two Spanish men, Aldea and Noguera, said they think developing their project back in their home country would be challenging.

Aldea said, “It would be much harder in Spain because you have the best brands in the world there. Competing there is very hard. We are here in St. Louis, where there is not a big market or a big scene of techno, so anything you do is seen around.”

It seems easier for them to keep developing the company in the St. Louis area.

Noguera said, “We started with Lindenwood people. Right now, we are making so many contacts down in St. Louis that we are actually seeing that more people want to do the same [promote techno music].”

Because only Ramirez is a citizen of the United States, Sweet Underground is not legally registered as an actual brand yet. To organize parties so far, they have done all the required paperworks and processes under their own names. However, Aldea said they might register it in the future.

The five men have big dreams for their company. Creating a radio station, participating in music festivals and having weekly parties are some of the projects Sweet Underground strive for.

They said they are thinking about having a party in Miami in March as part as the Miami Music Week, however, they said it would require a lot of money and work.

Team members said that inviting Paco Osuna, a famous DJ from Barcelona, to one of their parties would be achieving a dream.

Aldea said as he started to laugh, “Who knows? We may bring him someday.”

As for now, they plan on organizing either one “small party” every few weeks or a bigger one every month or two.

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