An interview with VCR veteran Roaster, Alex Rivera.
VCR // Verve Record Swap. It happens twice a year and it's your baby: how'd it start?
AR // For the love of music and community!
VCR // Talk about your first vinyl purchase and when you became an audiophile.
AR // My neighbors were very unconventional gangsters that had a penchant for emotionally charged music like The Smiths, Radiohead, bjork and The Pharcyde. They were really influential in how I saw the world at a young age. Then I realized, my youngest Uncle was actually a Goth Punk before I discovered this whole new world, smoking (weed) and playing in a band that sounded like Bauhaus and The Cure in a garage behind my Grandmas house growing up! I found his stash of records and tapes which became the foundation of my eventual record addiction. In that pile was Robert Johnson's King of the Delta Blues and The Smiths Louder than Bombs on cassette. I still have both.
VCR // When you're not a roast wizard, you're DJ Aloexvera. How'd that start?
AR // Verve actually gave me my first gig! They have been majorly supportive of me and my infatuation with records. My friend Jim, whom I met when I was a barista, has been instrumental in this latest obsession. He let me borrow his old set-up on my first gig for Verve which I eventually bought from him. Since December of 2015, I've got 10 gigs under my belt and more on the horizon.
VCR // What have been your best swap finds over the years?
AR // WIlliam Onyeabor's Anything you Sow. Super rare Nigerian Funk from the mid 80's. A gift for a job well done at last years Summer Block Party/Record Swap.
VCR // Is Ezra (your son) destined for the coffee spotlight?
AR // I started my first coffee job two weeks before he was born. Ever since then he has been around coffee, immersed in the operation and sensory experience from his parents making coffee at home to his dad roasting coffee with him in tow. If anything, these moments will leave a lasting impression on him. There is a lot of photographic proof to help jog his memory when he forgets! His curiosity with machines leads me to believe his options are bountiful.
VCR // Verve and music are married. How does that inform the culture at Verve?
AR // We are just a whimsical bunch! Diverse, eclectic, harmonious groovers and shakers. We extend our nature into our product and watch it dance throughout the globe.
We believe the coffee experience is our responsibility from seed to cup. Coffee is our craft, our ritual, our passion. It drives us and inspires us. With this simple truth and responsibility we are bridging the gap from farmlevel to streetlevel. We are verve. Made in santa cruz.