If you've left your sweat pooling on a Santa Fe dance floor or patio during the past couple of summers, you've probably run into Your Boy ReFlex powering his way through old-school—and new-school—jams at some of the city's hottest clubs and bars. When ReFlex remixes, people react.
But if you've paid attention, you've probably noticed that ReFlex—aka Felix Cordova—doesn't take himself too seriously.
Cordova isn't one of those nerdy DJs ensconced in a remote booth, wringing musical wizardry from a secret list of obscure tracks. He sees his job as being less about proving his musical genius and more about helping people have a good time. And that's probably why he's so good at helping other people let their hair down.
"He shows up in costume when it's not dress-up night, as Batman…or whoever he feels like," Catherine Davis, manager at Corazón, where Cordova has a regular gig this summer, says. It's like he's a comic vigilante and fun is his justice.
"I don't don't really go by the title of DJ," Cordova says. "I feel like it's a disservice to real, serious DJs. I actually prefer 'Your Boy ReFlex' or something like that."
Cordova believes in being accessible and flexible—and he's immune to embarrassment. If he thinks the party isn't coming together right, the 6-foot-3-inch, 300-pound ReFlex has no problem cracking jokes or throwing on R Kelly's "Bump N' Grind" and showing others how it's done.
"I do spend a lot of time on the dance floor," he says.
The key to carrying a summer night in Santa Fe for Cordova is to maintain a strict policy of never overthinking what he's doing.
Most of the time, Cordova doesn't have a set playlist of songs––he just plays whatever he thinks people on the dance floor want to hear at that moment. Usually, the result is a stew with ingredients such as Lady Gaga, Ludacris and Nicki Minaj, served up on a sturdy base of early '90s R&B from artists like Sublime, Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Purists will note that Cordova diverges from the traditional DJ mold in a few key areas: He doesn't use vinyl, for example, and he doesn't mix in the traditional sense. His key instrument is a giant, battered box he calls an MP3 scratcher, which he uses to string songs together. Cordova's friend, local DJ John Edwards, gave it to him when he first started playing real club gigs.
Last year, Cordova was a 29-year-old bouncer at Corazón. He was friendly with the band members of Santa Fe favorite La Junta and they began asking him to play his favorite jams in between their sets.
He'd bring his iPod and play what he liked—which, as it turned out, everyone else liked. He played Sublime, Rick James, Michael Jackson, Blackstreet—old-school stuff that he listened to and loved when he was a kid.
When summer rolled around and the patio opened up, Corazón began featuring Cordova with a weekly dance-music show called "Patio Pimpin.'" It was a rowdy time slot that also included an "air sex" competition (which is exactly what you'd think, and which Cordova won under the stage name "Sir Loin") and other silly stuff the bar's patrons loved.
Recently Cordova has been playing Tuesday nights at The Underground and Wednesday nights at Plush, but this summer he's transitioning back into a regular gig at Corazón on Tuesday nights. He'll be sharing the spotlight with DJ Dynamite Sol and laying down hip hop and reggae inside the club and on the patio.
But Cordova doesn't think he'll be jet-setting to Ibiza or headlining big shows at Burning Man any time soon—by necessity and proclivity, he's a Renaissance man.
"[Playing music] is not really something I can live off," he says. Cordova's goal is to hone his skills as an actor and comedian.
"I just want to be an all-around entertainer, and doing music gives me training to get over stage fright and find out what I can or can't say, and what kind of reaction I'll get," he says.
Cordova is currently developing a stand-up comedy routine, which may or may not pop up at a club somewhere this summer. And he's got a bit of formal acting experience.
"Last year I was in an episode of 'Crash,' that show on Showtime," he says. "I played an Asian gang member. They shaved my head and put sunglasses on me."
Cordova developed an affinity for performance early on as a student in the now-defunct Academy of Communication, Arts and Technology program at Santa Fe High School.
"It wasn't quite for stupid kids, and not quite for smart kids," he says. "It was for the kids who wanted to do videos and write poetry, which kind of prepared me for what I do now." He graduated with an avid interest in film and video, as well as some genuine talent. In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Cordova's film projects won the audience award at the Santa Fe Reporter Three-Minute Film Festival.
If none of Cordova's accomplishments ring a bell, but he still seems familiar…there's a reason. In the summer of 2007, Santa Fe was shocked to hear the news of a "naked intruder" who was discovered lounging on the sofa of a La Cienega woman's house. The intruder was Cordova. It turns out he had (inadvertently) eaten a pot-laced brownie at a nearby music festival (that summer's best headline: "Naked Intruder Blames Brownies"). It was a legitimate misunderstanding and no charges were ever filed.
Being the passed-out naked guy is one way to get attention, but Cordova is glad he's found better ways to accomplish that goal. If you find yourself on a dance floor in Santa Fe this summer, you'll probably be glad of that, too.
"Hanging out with Felix is like being at a 17-year-old's birthday party," says die-hard ReFlex fan Lilia Diaz. "There's always cake and costumes."
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401 S Guadalupe St.
9:30 pm Wednesdays
Plush Ultra Lounge & Cigar Bar
1413 Paseo de Peralta