D espite the bone-chilling winter season in the UK, it seems that London’s underground music is taking off in a tropical direction – Latin beats are now the ‘in thing’ to groove to. We had the opportunity to talk to two of the hottest DJs in the Latin London scene, Cal Jader and La Salida of Movimientos London, a record label/music agency focused on bringing Latin music into the London clubbing scene.
Meet the DJs
Cal Jader (left)
Signature style: ‘classico’ Latin beats, uptempo carnival rhythms, tropical bass and fresh global sounds.
La Salida (right)
Signature style: flute melodies, Caribbean carnival anthems, Mediterranean music, Latino-Balkan, global dancefloor.
Here’s a sample of Cal’s mixes:
Now, on to the more serious stuff…
Tell us more about Latin London music.
Cal Jader (CJ): A lot of the music we play is strongly rooted in Afro-Latin rhythms, plus we also mash up African, Caribbean (dancehall and reggae) and other global and tropical flavors, alongside a whole host of electronic and urban ‘soundsystem’ styles like house, drum ‘n’ bass and hip hop. Many people think of Latin music as just Salsa and Samba, but there’s so much more and I think we try to reflect that.
La Salida (LS): We both grew up in London with its amazing history of urban music like drum ‘n’ bass, hip hop and garage, So when we both got into DJ-ing in global and Latin Music, it was natural that our DJ sets would combine different sounds within that, inspired by the foundation of our musical education.
How did you get into the DJ-ing scene?
CJ: I started out playing hip hop, drum ‘n’ bass, and rare grooves in bars. Then I developed an interest in Latin American politics and culture, which led to the discovery of Latin and tropical music.
LS: I had always been into vinyl records and mixing differents sounds. While working in one of London’s finest record shops, Disque (now no longer in operation), I developed a taste for DJ-ing, and as they way, the rest is history.
How do you find inspiration for your music?
CJ: I get inspired by the love from the regular crowd at our events, plus educating new audiences about our styles of music, and by the amount of brilliant music still being released despite the difficulties in the music industry.
What are the perks of being a DJ?
CJ: Being flown out to perform at international gigs in beautiful places like Kuala Lumpur! This year, I’ve also been to Beirut and Edinburgh, among other cities. I’m lucky enough to experience lots of great festivals in the UK and Europe.
Proudest achievements so far?
CJ: I’d say providing a platform for the development of new acts and talents from the London/UK scene. Music-wise, playing DJ support to Manu Chao (Latin alternative musician/singer) was a nice moment for me.
LS: When my band, Los Desterrados, got nominated in the Songlines (top world music magazine) awards.
When you’re not spinning the decks, what do you do during your free time?
LS: Producing music from my two bands, Los Desterrados and Eva Abraham, working as music editor at SOAS radio, shouting at footballers whilst watching Tottenham FC, and baking muffins!
CJ: Working on the other side of Movimientos (being a label manager and booking agent for new Latin and global music acts), programming festival stages and venues around London and the UK. There’s not much time for me to relax after all, so DJ-ing ends up being a nice release. Oh, and I’m an Arsenal fan, so we clash football-wise!
Advice/tips for budding DJs?
CJ: Stick to what you love and believe in it. Don’t compromise your style just to fit into the latest trends. It’s better to find a unique sound as a DJ as no one will remember you for playing top 40 hits.
LS: DJs shouldn’t be afraid to mix up the tempos and styles rather than purely mix tracks into one another just for the sake of it. Plus, don’t forget vinyl!
Malaysians, you’re in luck – Cal and La Salida will be spinning the decks at Laundry Bar tonight (30th Nov).
You can also catch them at Bedroom KL tomorrow (1st Dec).
About the Weekend Series
Each Friday, we share a collection of our fave picks, ranging from books, to music, to blogs, and also videos. Watch this space for updates!
(Photos: movimientos.org.uk, youtube.com)