Photo by Natalia Dymkowski
If you partied anywhere in Europe this summer, you know dance floors all over the continent are pulsing to the beats of South America. The influence is impossible to deny, with tracks of Baile Funk and Guaracha being seamlessly mixed into sets in clubs of all sizes, making Latin Core one of the buzzwords of 2023.
As you can imagine, South America is way too big to be defined by one single musical genre. The 'Latin Core' often used to describe parties and sets popping all over Europe is an umbrella used in attempt to capture the energy that comes from the region, but the richness and abundance of its sounds is far more complex and wide-ranging.
A few selected names are already top of mind to the average raver in Europe. Namely, Mamba Negra from Brazil and Tra Tra Trax from Colombia. Both collectives absolutely deserve their recognition as trailblazers, but we want to keep digging into what the continent has to offer.
We sat down with the Berlin-via-Argentina DJ Loui from Jupiter4, a genre-defying selector known for his innovative approach. DJ Loui, recently acclaimed for his album 'Impulsos Alternos,' sheds light on South American collectives and producers, offering insights into the future of the Latin Core wave, the impact of visibility for artists and his take on cultural appropriation.
->The conversation is edited and organized by topic for clarity.
Scroll down for a TL;DR with links to the South American collectives and producers mentioned in the interview.
DJ Loui from Jupiter4 - Latin core is more than a genre; it's a vibe like we are talking about. Calling it Latin Core is like saying bass music, right? Bass music can mean dubstep, drum and bass, breakbeat and other types of bass-based genres. So we’re trying to capture the general energy with the term but it's also slowly starting to become a movement, right?
I think in the next year or two it’s going to be very challenging for this movement because we are going to see if this is just a trend or if it really becomes something long lasting.
"What is happening in South America right now is very exciting, because it's not just in one place. You can see it everywhere. There are interesting things happening everywhere. And this is what defines a movement, right?
It starts to spread and your neighbours see it, and somehow you inspire other collectives or other labels so they can think, “okay, if they are doing it, we can also do it”.
DJLFJ4 - In Ecuador there is an amazing label there called C_T_M that is run by three amazing people: PVSSY, a trans producer from Guayaquil; NTFL and Entrañas - who for me is on a really high level. He’s constantly constantly releasing music, and each new release is over my expectations. The three of them are really amazing producers and I've been following them for a couple of years now. It makes me happy and excited to see where they’re going.
In Chile, one of my favourite labels is called Infinito Audio Network, with an amazing curation. And also there is a collective called Fiesta Dame that puts on a massive queer rave, probably the biggest rave in South America right now.
Four floors, four to five thousand people - and more, 95% of the lineup is from Chile, with only one or two international guests. Considering the size of the party, that’s pretty impressive.
More than just words, we see them putting decolonization into practice, it's that’s what fuels their movement. It’s important when collectives start looking more to local talent instead of only outside.
In Argentina, there are a lot of really, really amazing labels. One that comes to my mind now is HiedraH Club de Baile, that is a queer label and rave.
Talking specifically about raves, there is also 999, a party organized by really nice people from la Plata. The rave is super well produced, which is difficult to achieve in South America where prices increase all the time. Watching them from afar and also being Argentinian, this is very inspiring to me. I have a lot of admiration and respect for them.
In Brazil there’s of course the big institution that is Mamba Negra but the movement they started is spreading to other places.
There are very exciting projects in other cities that are not Sao Paulo like Kode Fervo in Rio de Janeiro, which is a great queer party.
They’ve been organising it for 7 years now but in the last few years it's starting to get massively accepted, with raves for 2 thousand people. Yeah, and then you have Banana Frita in Amazonas that is also amazing. And there are a lot of events happening in Belo Horizonte too, like the ones organized by Function FM and there’s Amplo putting on raves in Porto Alegre.
Thinking of producers, I really love Kontronatura, there is a special type of feeling behind his productions. You can feel this freedom behind their music.
And yeah, there is another producer that I love, it's called EVEHIVE.
DJLFJ4 - We talked about visibility before, and how important that is for these artists in South America to have an income from their music. If they get enough visibility to make considerable sales on bandcamp, they can support themselves without needing a shitty side job that is going to kill their creativity.
Sometimes people don't realise the importance of sharing their track lists because they don't want other DJs to know their "secret weapons". But it's very important that European DJs always include and name their tracks on the track list when playing music produced in South America.
Because of the difference in currency prices, it can really make a difference for them.
Sharing is caring at the end.
It's also really important for DJs from South America when they are invited to play and tour in Europe or to record podcasts for European radios to include music from their South American colleagues. You can open a door for yourself or open it and invite more people to come through.
DJLFJ4 - When they start their own record labels or self-release, they can also balance this by trying to release in European record labels or to try to make podcasts for European radios.
Self-releasing and independence is, I think, the key for the future for artists. Get rid of the middle man.
But it's also true that if they are interested in getting acknowledged by the European market they have to try to participate in this market as well. So trying to collaborate with European DJs producers and not only antagonise them - drop the “it's them or us” mentality.
There's a lot of discussion around cultural appropriation, especially now that all these Latin sounds are coming to Europe. And there's a lot of people, as you said, that are very protective, saying Europeans cannot play Latin sounds because it doesn't really belong to them or whatever. But it's impossible to really say who’s allowed and who’s not. Because at the end of the day, there's a lot of sharing and there's a lot of people from South America coming to Europe as well. So how do you determine this?
The question is not if certain DJs are allowed to play Latin sounds or not. Everyone should be allowed to play music. Music doesn't have an owner.
I don't know what is the world that we are expecting to have with this kind of attitude. What is the electronic music scene that we want to have - do we want to build it together or not? So in the end, if you find someone who loves electronic music like you do, why not collaborate and learn from each other?
Links to the people and collectives mentioned above: