For nearly a decade, the "laboratory of dance" created by Villa Diamante's fresh take on the experimental mashup has amounted to nothing short of a cacophony of dancing bodies and fresh sounds. With musical tastes as wide ranging as dancehall to dubstep, electro reggaeton to digital cumbia, pop music and hip hop, the experimental sets get the crowd going at whatever cost.
Also a resident DJ of Zizek Club, and a founding member of ZZK Records, the international waves being made by some of Buenos Aires' finest musical artists can most certainly be attributed to characters as devoted as Villa Diamante.
What does "Villa Diamante" actually mean?
Villa Diamante is the name of the neighbourhood where my grandparents and my mother were born, where I lived for 6 years, since I was 18. I played around with my computer around this time making "mashups" and experiments with bastard pop when one day I crossed over the Alsina Bridge and saw a spray painted tag that said Aguanta Villa Diamante (translated to something like, "Long live Villa Diamante"). There, I clearly saw the relationship I was putting out there with the mashup style, with two words that mixed the poverty of the shanty town (villa) with the ostentatious quality of the Diamond.
How does the name relate to the music?
I don't really know how it's understood, maybe something exotic, like a luxurious tourist's destination someplace in the caribbean! When you stop to listen or dance, it turns into something totally different. Maybe it's the sound of Bastard Pop from a South American perspective, where things like hip hop, dubstep, world pop music, and a references to my own homeland like cumbia, folkloric music, Argentinean rock and other artists around me.
What is unique to Villa Diamente's sound? First and foremost, Freestyle, with many musical influences but always coming back to the idea that you can dance to it- that in one night, you might hear hip- hop, cumbia, moombahton, electronic, and then cumbia again without loosing the connection, the thread that ties it all together, with music from different vocal artists like local Argentinians Fauna or Miss Bolivia, to Kanye West or M.I.A. Then there's the whole history of Zizek and ZZK Records, myself as one of the representatives and curators of Zizek Club, a party that introduced a freestyling spirit to Buenos Aires' nightlife, and then went on to become one of the founding pillars of the new wave of Digital Cumbia that's now playing around the world.
And from Villa Diamenta, a club and record label was created... There's a whole history of Zizek and ZZK Records, myself as one of the representatives and curators of Zizek Club, a party that introduced a freestyling spirt in the Buenos Aires' nightlife, which then went on to become one of the founding pillars of the new wave of Digital Cumbia that's now playing around the world.
What do you do that stands out? With ZZK Records, we put together discs, vinyls, and digital editions of artists like Fauna, Tremor, Chancha Via Circuito, El Remolon and many other artists- who we also go on tour with around the world, accompanying them in their careers and generating a musical scene in B.A. that is defined by the dancing experience, the good energy, and a good sense of friendship and brotherhood.
Would you live in any other city in the world, why? I always fantasized about going to live in my favorite cities for a few months each; to feel the experience of being able to live in LIma, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Barcelona, Mexico City or Copenhagen, but the truth is that I like Buenos Aires with all the good and the bad that has to offer. Here I feel at home, walking down the streets, I know everything and I feel like a fish in water.
What's the most unique thing about Buenos Aires?
B.A. has a weird mix of Latin America that at one time thought it was part of Europe, but still doesn't quite fit in to either place, it has a cultural scene and a musical variety for all tastes.
...and the dancing?
My second disc of mashups was called "Bailando se entiende la Gente" (Dancing, you understand the people). I think that this type of communication, through dancing, continues for me. That people should dance, communicate, and enjoy to inform and experiment with music that they didn't know before, or in a new way through mashup and strange remixes that aren't often heard. I always try not to seem like anyone else, even though, in this global period, it's harder than ever. My goal: Surprise.
What was one of the best "Villa Diamante" shows so far?
V.D. 2012, the ones we did with Bien Warrior, a project with Miss Bolivia where she got on stage and put out every ounce of effort in her voice and onstage presence while I put out beats and some moments of rapping. Beats with a lot bass and cumbia, hip hop and moombahton rhythms with the lyrical power of Miss Bolivia. 200% Danceable.
In the last few years, how do you see Villa Diamante and the ZZK movement growing? It's well-deserved growth after years of work in the underground Buenos Aries scene - making music that looked toward the future and experimented with the dance floor. Beyond the fact that we're a group of friends and collegues - we're all going in the same direction, forward, but with our own unique style that distinguishes each of us.
What are some of your new projects for 2012?
After doing a tour through South America with Cater_Sys (RIP) of Fauna, and then with Bien Warrior, the project with Miss Bolivia- I feel the impulse now to grab the microphone. So 2012 is a time for me to explore this. I use it in my sets now, to communicate with the crowd, to rally them up and throw out some rhymes…. but I think I might be editing some more concrete material this year with my own lyrics, some Argentinian rock and invited friends.
Any new character, musician, or place in the Buenos Aires scene that we should keep our eyes out for?
This could be a really long answer since B.A. is full of some real talent. Without a doubt, you don't want to miss the live shows of Tremor, Fauna or Frikstailers- nor that of Miss Bolivia. Or if you're in B.A., go dancing at a ZiZek or Bully Bass party, the two guys that organize that are from Cordoba, Argentina and have invented their own unique style of dancing bass. And then there are also artists like Catnapp, Daleduro, Chancha via Circuito, El Remolón, Sara Hebe and a ton more. There's no shortage of great shows to check out in B.A.
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