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Vets by day, DJs by night

Vets by day, DJs by night

José Lacomba and Yolanda Ortiz, who have been together for 15 years, combine work in their clinic in Torremolinos with their electronic music performances

Marina Rivas

Monday, 13 March 2023, 21:35

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Without a doubt, there are some people who are just destined to be together. Not everyone could keep up with the pace of life that José Lacomba and Yolanda Ortiz manage to maintain, but their strength resides in the fact that they do absolutely everything together.

They share both their work and their free time and surprisingly, it has never seemed to cause them any problems. At 42 and 38 years old respectively they have established themselves as two well-known and respected vets in Torremolinos, thanks to their clinic Pinovet, where they see around 30 to 40 animals per day. It might seem like a normal life at first, but not many people are aware of their 'B-side'. The pair are also techno DJs - the true passion that brought them together 15 years ago.

Lacomba was born into the heart of a humble family from Ronda. Having five siblings, he began to work when he was still very young in order to contribute to the family income. Jobs included work in restaurants, cafes and administration, among others. But it was during a period when he was living in Seville that his true career began to take shape. Thanks to the fact that a DJ in the nightclub where he worked chose to give him a chance on the decks, José took the first step towards his dream of becoming a DJ when he was just 20 years old.

Self-taught and with few resources available, he bought his own decks and began to practise at home around the year 2000, a time when such a thing as a YouTube tutorial did not yet exist. Little by little he gained confidence but unfortunately, offers to make his debut as a DJ in his own right never arrived.

Luckily, he decided to turn the whole thing on its head. "It's rare to get calls at the beginning asking you to come and play, so seeing as no-one called me, I began to set up my own parties." What he could never even have imagined was that his very first party would be such a huge success. He rented out a venue, waiting staff, drinks and music equipment; the event brought together 500 people and, to his surprise, it completely sold out.

Due to this huge success, he decided to take a chance and concentrate on his new status as a DJ and promoter. Almost overnight he began to travel the whole of Andalucía looking for nightclubs to work with and to put on nights of techno and breakbeat (a style of music popular in Andalucia in the 1990s and 2000s). And he was not alone. In a playful tone, José recalls: "My father was so excited that he gave up his job as a plasterer and started working in clubs. In the beginning, he would accompany me when I went to talk to the nightclub owners."

SUR

His life changed completely. Under the artistic name of DJ Wono, he made a name for himself in the world of breakbeat and techno in his community. Day by day his number of followers went up and his diary was filled with events every weekend. And in the middle of this whirlwind of events, he ended up meeting the love of his life. José and Yolanda began talking on social media until one day they decided to meet in person in Cordoba where Yolanda, originally from Malaga, was studying to be a vet at the university.

When they met things were not easy. Following the recent death of her father, Ortiz found herself in a difficult situation. Having been an economic pillar of the family and of her education, his passing made it complicated for her to fund her studies.

She looked for casual work as an event steward, but it wasn't enough. "Suddenly, at 23 years old, I met José. We began living together after just a short while and he offered me a job with him." An idea which, as a loyal fan of electronic music, Ortiz was very happy with. She had loved that kind of music since her teenage years - breakbeat, but above all, house. However, unlike her partner she had never thought about creating a future as a professional DJ - "Back then this was a 'guy' thing - it was unusual to see women doing it, so 15 to 20 years ago I never even thought about it."

It wasn't long before their life changed completely. José and Yolanda decided to become a couple artistically as well, choosing the names Donna Cuore and DJ Wono (hence their rebranding to Wo-Core). The novelty of seeing a couple DJing together, and the energy and connection they created, helped get things off the ground. They began touring Andalucía at the request of clubs who wanted to book them.

Marina Rivas

"We got to a point where we were working club nights every weekend. As time passed it became hard to make it work because we were rushing from one place to another, sometimes with more than one event in the same night or in different cities."

The number of followers kept growing (some even getting their artistic names tattooed), and the duo got their own slot on the radio station Loca FM. They became a fixture on lineups at the biggest techno events during the golden era, between 2010 and 2015.

However, burnout and lack of motivation brought it all to a halt. "In the long run we need financial stability, because we can't live off playing music when we're 60 - there's an expiry date for that. We were able to live off it full time for a while, but now it's time to look towards our future. So we decided to set up our clinic and José became a veterinary assistant," explains Yolanda. Over the last few years they have been able to build a successful business with a stable client base of five to six thousand people and five employees.

And while the music might be on hold, it's not forgotten. The couple have learned how to become producers, opened their own Spotify playlist under the name Wo-Core (which has had 139,000 plays and 48,000 listeners from 131 countries in the past year), and have begun playing at club nights again, like the recent one at the end of January at Sala Trinchera in Malaga.

"Our job in the clinic is very demanding, so for us music is a form of escape from the difficult things we deal with at work which can really affect us emotionally, like seeing sick animals," says Yolanda.

José adds: "Everything is compatible, you just have to change your way of looking at it. Right now I'm a DJ, but on Monday it's time to get serious again, because that's what our job demands."

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