Toto “Mr. Pauer” Gonzalez is the face of Miami’s forward-thinking, Latin alternative scene. As the founder of Fabrika, a weekly newsletter and frequently updated web site, he’s something of a curator, charting the cultural landscape of next-gen Latin-Americans in Miami. His audience has little use for language or scene boundaries, and you’re as likely to find English synth-pop as rock en espanol on Fabrika. The common thread among all the content therein — and the events that Fabrika sponsors — is a love of smart, creative, boundary-pushing music.
But Gonzalez’s work in this sphere, which we can loosely term “Latin alternative” goes beyond his site. Under the moniker Mr. Pauer, he’s an artist in his own right, creating funky, loungy electro-pop in a style he’s dubbed “electropico.” “Alternative in the Latin world is totally different. Our alternative is more like a fusion. It can have indie rock mixed with cumbia, or reggae with salsa, or electronic music with tropical beats, which is what I do,” says Gonzalez. “My sound is a personal experience of growing up in South America as a rocker by choice and listening to salsa, merengue, house, cumbia, and any other beat coming to Venezuela by influence.”
The fullest realization to date of this particular brand of fusion was Mr. Pauer’s debut solo artist album, Soundtrack, released last year. The seven-track collection took off internationally, particularly in his homeland, enough to score him a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album. It also scored him three nominations in Venezuela’s Pepsi Music Awards, a highly anticipated musical event in the country. (It’s an awards ceremony with such wide cultural reach there that its telecast this past March was largely censored by Chavez’s government, as musicians spoke against the country’s street crime and violence.)
Back in Miami, a city he’s called home for 18 years, Gonzalez continues to perform around town as an especially popular warm-up performer for out-of-town acts. He’ll repeat this feat on Saturday, June 30 at Grand Central, when he opens for Spanish rapper La Mala Rodriguez.
Mr. Pauer first-timers can expect a one-man live set that falls somewhere between DJing and live performance, with Gonzalez looping personal favorites and his own tunes, warping them with MIDI magic and broadcasting a corresponding visual show. “I always do a mix of world dance, electropico, and pretty much anything I feel like playing,” Gonzalez says. “I’m very unpredictable and do not plan ahead for a gig. I love to read the vibe of the venue and have that improvisation guiding my set.”
Mr. Pauer. With La Mala Rodriguez 10 p.m. Saturday, June 30 at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission costs $25 in advance; age 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277, or visit grandcentralmiami.com