The Dr. Martens Presents tour continues September 14 in our San Francisco – Market St. location with a set by the Chulita Vinyl Club. An all-girl, all-vinyl DJ collective, the CVC exists to include women vinyl collectors and DJs in the conversation of music and to provide a space of empowerment and togetherness. A platform to get girls to trust their passion in music and records, CVC has become a network of vinyl-loving girls representing their culture, telling stories and sharing messages through vinyl. It’s going to be a special night. To get you in the mood, we chatted with founder Claudia Saenz, along with Sarah Rivera and members of the San Francisco club, to get their perspective about this amazing movement.
Tell us the story of how the Chulita Vinyl club got started.
Sarah Rivera: Chulita Vinyl Club started in Austin, TX in 2014 by vinyl collector and DJ Claudia Saenz. Through the Chulita Vinyl Club, we learned that the stereotype threat exists, and when a space is dominated by men, we think, “If girls like me aren’t represented in this scene then it must not be for me and I don’t belong here.”
Claudia Saenz: CVC hopes to continue creating a space for women that is inclusive and empowering. We still remain a no music genre policy — meaning anything you want to play on the turntables, goes. There is no experience needed to join the club. If you want to learn, we’ll teach you. The only requirement is it is all-vinyl.
How did you grow to be a collective with seven national chapters?
The response to our early parties in 2014 from other girls around the country and internationally was strong. There were girls contacting CVC for permission to form their own chapters. From the Austin chapter came San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley, Bay Area, Los Angeles, Santa Ana and San Diego.
What’s been your favorite Chulita Vinyl Club gig you’ve DJ’d?
Moni Moreno: My favorite gig I must say had to be the opening gallery for Josue Fuentes Art on gentrification. Everyone was just having such a good time — the vibes were great.
Lisbeth Ortega: We held a fundraiser at Cumbia Jams to send supplies to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. CVC was on for the night, but so was a list of Bay Area artists: Almas Fronterizas, B-Side Brujas, DJ Primo from Oldies Night and Slow Jams, Brown Amy of Hard French, and more. The venue was packed with friends and family, and the vibe was love.
Sarah Rivera: My first time playing at the Legionnaire in Oakland, some guy was being inappropriate and disrespectful to several of us. When he wouldn’t back down and mocked us, one of the Chulitxs literally stopped the record, got on the mic and called him out, reminding the audience that we were there to create a safe and respectful space, and that we don’t tolerate patriarchal machismo BS.
Tell us about your first pair of Doc’s.
Lisbeth Ortega: I bought them on Haight Street like 6 years ago and still wear them! They’re soft leather boots that zip up on the side. People often look down at my feet when I wear them, and I almost retired them for that reason … but my friend Jenn stopped me, explaining that people probably did that because they looked badass. Thank you, Jenn! With my latest pair of Doc’s, I still catch people looking down at my feet. So it’s confirmed: it’s the Dr. Martens swag factor.
Sarah Rivera: I think I bought them when I was 20 and working at Ben Sherman. It was the beginning of my “mod”/”rocksteady” phase and of course needed a pair of Doc’s to complete the look. My boss at the time was an old mod and when he saw my boots he laughed at me and was like “why are your boots tied like that?” They were tied the way I bought them, so when he could tell I was struggling to break them in, he did the old dad-knee-slap, so he could lace my boots the “right” way to break them in. I still have them — and they definitely broke in way faster because of him!
What do you stand for?
Moni Moreno: For women grabbing all the good opportunities presented to them, so they can make their dreams come true. It’s a tough world out there for us ladies.
Lisbeth Ortega: Understanding, empathy, having a voice, and uplifting others’ voices.
Sarah Rivera: I stand for uplifting all marginalized communities and especially womxn. People of color, Native and indigenous people, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, immigrants, the list goes on. I want us to have more visibility, more representation, more respect, more power. Womxn especially.