If you are even remotely plugged into the "scene" in Austin, you have been touched by Miguel Angel. He's either taken your photo at an event or provided the soundtrack to one of your wild and crazy Saturday nights.
Angel, also known as DJ uLOVEi ("I love u" backwards), has made a living creating and capturing moments in Austin as a DJ and photographer. On any given week you'll find him spinning hip hop at the Eastern, Cumbia at Takoba and "booty music" at Barberella. You'll also see him around town taking photos for Tribeza, KLRU and dozens of other organizations. "I love that I get to showcase Austin's unique personality through my music and photography," he says.
For someone so connected to the Capital City, it's hard to believe he's not from around here. Angel, 28, was born in Del Rio, served in the Marines and stumbled across Austin with no real plan. "After I got out of the military I had to find some place to live. I visited Austin a few times and felt like it had the right vibe and style for me," he says. Not only did he move to Austin, he's now part of the vibe and style that attracted him in the first place.
Angel was a photographer for the Marines and added spinning to his skills when he arrived in Austin. After successful shows at SXSW 2010, he decided to take a leap of faith and turn his hobbies into a profession. It meant leaving behind a steady job and income to follow his passion.
"At night everyone was patting me on my back, giving me high fives and buying me drinks," he says. "It was totally different during the day at my tech job where I had people yelling at me to fix their computers and treating me like crap." The only yelling Angel hears now are his fans shouting out requests for songs or trying to get his attention for a photo. He loves honoring both.
"I like to DJ because it allows me to express myself. It feels good to be in control of the music and the party. I also like that I can go to any party with my camera and meet everyone. They remember me and look for me and the photos I take."
Angel prides himself on being inclusive both professionally and personally. You'll find him spinning oldies but goodies for a swanky VIP party one night and then grunge music for a crowd of sweaty hipsters another. Plus, you can't help but notice the Human Rights Campaign
logo displayed on his Mac during each show. The HRC is a national civil rights organization fighting for LGBT equality, and he is an advocate. "I don't understand why people's sexuality is still an issue. It makes me mad that people still hate on other people."
With so much going on, the busy DJ admits finding his soul mate has been hard. "Most girls can't handle the texts, photos and late nights," he says, but it's a part of the job he's not ready to give up. While he could easily play and photograph weddings and private parties, his preferred space is out in the community. "Austin is changing so much. I just want to keep the party going and make sure we don't sell out."