Mike and Charlene Alcanices, or better-known as SOULMAT3S, have been rocking Downtown San Jose’s nightlife scene + beyond since 2016 as the only married DJ duo in the Bay Area.
Through 23 years of marriage, the couple has found themselves raising three children, managing a female-first DJ club, running a plant store in Campbell, and sharing their love of music throughout the South Bay.
Let’s dive into the first installment of our series, “Local Love,” with a couple who’s become trailblazers in the San Jose DJ scene.
💞 A powerful meet cute
Though the two have different versions of how they first met at a San Francisco club in the summer of 1999, it was clear it was love at first sight.
Mike recalls, “I see this beautiful woman just dancing [...] and I told my friend, ‘Yo, man, if that girl gives me her name, I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with her.’”
After they exchanged numbers at the end of the night — which they still keep as memorabilia after all these years — they were engaged a month later, and married six months after that.
🎧 Getting into the scene
Before Mike met Charlene, he was heavily involved in the DJ, hip-hop, and breakdancing culture of the mid-1990s. However, after the couple became parents, he was forced to sell his turntables.
It wasn’t until 10 years later that a family trip to the Tech Museum inspired a reentry into DJing. “The Tech Museum had a little controller and my kids were playing around with it. I was like, ‘this is pretty cool and the kids love it, why don’t we get one for our living room?’” Mike said.
As Mike found his footing on the turntables again, Charlene kept him booked and busy at several local nightclubs + lounges — but Mike soon realized he didn’t want to go without her.
🖤 Becoming “SOULMAT3S”
Understanding that being a nightlife DJ could affect his marriage in the long term, Mike convinced Charlene to take a spin in his role — thinking it could be a fun hobby to do together (and having a backup to relieve him every now and then didn’t hurt either).
It became clear that Charlene was a natural, and the couple knew their place was behind the DJ stand, together. “Me being also very business-minded, I was like, ‘I think we could do this together and book ourselves.’ But never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be where we are now,” Charlene said.
Since creating their brand in 2016, the couple now has five residencies at 55 South, Five Points, Nomikai, Cardiff & Cocktails, and Nighthawk, and is continually booking gigs for large companies like YouTube, Hitachi, Adobe, Cisco, and more.
“This was supposed to be a ‘just for fun thing,’ [...] It was like, ‘Yo, maybe I can hang out with my wife like once every three months and we’ll have fun DJing together,’” Mike said.
🎶 Leaving a legacy
Although the couple talks about expanding their brand to Oakland or San Francisco, they first want to make an impact in the city that so graciously embraced them.
Just over a year ago, Charlene started the Bay Area chapter of Ladies1st DJ Club, an inclusive DJ collective that works to elevate female representation in the club circuit. Now, Charlene (and with Mike’s help), is leading a 6-week DJ program to help foster the next generation of female DJs, right from her plant store, Momstera.
“We want [DJing] to affect the culture, not just in a way of a good time. But also in a means of education, or even just creating some sort of equity or equality,” Mike said.
Their adventure never stops evolving, and whether it’s being a support system to their children, to the club-goers, or to their mentees, it’s a journey that they’ll always face together.
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