JS: Just recently, on Dexter, the journey my character [D.A. gone bad Miguel Prado] took—he went to this very dark place, and there was a lot of guilt attached to it. I would have Latin music playing in the trailer. But there was a time in the last four, five episodes where my music got very religious. I was listening to a lot of chorales.

NH: It’s not something I'd think of—you know, religious music to get yourself in the emotional place to be ready to kill somebody. [Laughs.]
JS: It works! Maybe it had to do with the Crusades or something...I don’t know.

NH: How did your involvement in the Conga Room come about?
JS: This whole thing about finding ways to give back to your community—it’s always something that runs in me. It’s important to have this music. It’s educational for the larger community to know it exists, and it can be just as classy—it doesn’t have to be marginalized. It really made sense when we went to see Buena Vista Social Club in Beverly Hills and were the only Latinos in the theater. My lady and I saw how some of the younger people were into it, because Ry Cooder was involved and kind of legitimizing it, you know? And there were older people remembering doing the mambo at the Palladium. I met [developer] Brad Gluckstein, who was starting this nightclub, and it just so happened that when we were talking, the whole Ricky Martin and J.Lo thing was happening, and it made sense that a club like this could be successful.

NH: The original location was in the Miracle Mile, but as the lease was coming to an end in 2006, you were already thinking of bigger things.
JS: We decided if we were going to make the move to L.A. Live, we would take a hiatus.

NH: Now that you’ve reopened, what are your goals for the new club?
JS: We’ll always have salsa music. We’ll always have Latin music. But you know, we are also planning to have Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and I would love to see Santana play there.

NH: I could talk to you for ages, because your story and how it all connects are so fascinating.
JS: Thank you—just send me the therapist bill.


Artist: Thomas Tantrum
Track: “Rage Against the Tantrum”
Album: Thomas Tantrum
Out of Goatee Beach in the south of England, the band serves up a hodgepodge of sounds with playful lyrics and catchy-as-hell indie disco pop that’ll make you wanna dance. That sets them as one to watch, methinks.
For Fans Of: The Ting Tings, Lily Allen

Artist: Sophie Zelmani
Track: “The Ocean and Me”
Album: The Ocean and Me