041 - Villa Diamante
As the host and resident of the original Zizek Club parties over a decade ago, Villa Diamante began his stint as a pioneer in the Latin underground music scene. His now famous mashup DJ sets brought new artists to prominence, showcasing their music to previously uninitiated audiences throughout Latin America and beyond. The Zizek events helped give a new wave of producers and DJs a platform that would only grow as the project gained momentum. Diamante himself was instrumental in founding the now internationally renowned label ZZK Records which was born in the wake of those parties and remains a foundational part of the Buenos Aires scene. Alongside these ventures he continues to DJ and produce his own music, his 2016 LP 'Lanus Oeste' is well worth digging up for a taste of his love for Cumbia and Hip-Hop.
For his fantastic Métron Musik Mixtape Diamante journeys away from his familiar mashup style to a more traditional and organic approach. Nonetheless those mashup skills are evident throughout this gorgeous set of folkloric Latin sounds. Transitions are seamless and when tracks play simultaneously they bring new life to the original compositions with each new selection complimenting its predecessor. It's a mix that stays true to Diamante's geographic roots, showcasing new faces alongside many of the prominent names in the latin electronic music scene. Rising stars Carrot Green and Nicola Cruz, whose reputations continue to expand beyond their continental homes, feature alongside some of our favourite past contributors, El Búho, El Buga, Barda, Lido Pimienta, Chancha Via Circuito and Kaleema. It's not a huge leap to attribute some of these artists successes and flourishing musical careers to the foundations laid by people like Diamante who helped build the scene from the underground up. It's a true testament to his reputation that when we reached out to his younger peers they were thrilled and honoured to be featured in his set.
The artist, promoter and curator's passion for music clearly remains undiminished, with a new club night and 'music lab' 'Club de Baile Villa Diamante' growing by the day, it stands to reason that he will continue to support and showcase emerging and prominent Argentinian artists for many more years. Treating dance-floors and bedrooms around the world to fantastic musical moments.
I got a chance to speak to Villa Diamante about his plans for 2017 and what it's like running a label. Check out what they had to say below.
Can you tell us a bit about this mix?
Since last year I have organised a series of electronic nights in a bar called Avant Garten in Buenos Aires where I'm the resident DJ and I invite folkloric, organic and electronic producers to present their work. Artists like SidiRum, Barda, Barrio Lindo, El Remolón, Rumbo Tumba, San Ignacio, R Vincenzo and Dengue Dengue Dengue have been all played here.
In Argentina I'm well known for my mixtures of cumbia and hip hop, but the organic electronic sounds are my new love, and I wanted to do a mix with artists from Argentina and the world that I really like.
You’re a producer, DJ, label founder - music clearly means an awful lot to you, can you remember when and how music became your passion?
I have always been always a meglomaniac, listening to lots of music. Some day it occurred to me that the music I was hearing at home was not sounding in the dance floor. That's how I became a DJ, and with time music gave me a lot of satisfaction: founding Zizek Club and ZZK Records, working with producers I really like, that were doing new and fresh stuff. Then I started also experimenting working with dancers in Combinado Argentino de Danza and many other projects as Mercurio Disqueria, a new folkloric - electronic ensemble I'm coordinating, and of course, Club de Baile Villa Diamante, my own new party and dance lab, all that makes me fall in love everyday more and more with dance and music.
What is your earliest musical memory?
Listening to Argentinean rock on vinyl at home with my Dad. My first CDs of Fito Páez or Guns N Roses, the first mp3s that I downloaded from Napster - illegal mashups, or Grime music.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with ZZK Records?
Im one of the founders of the label, along with Grant Dull and DJ Nim. I used to be like a artistic director the first years, accompanying artists in the development of their records, sometimes as a consultant, some times as a therapist.
Since 3 years ago I'm not that active part of the label since new projects came in and I decide to focus my time on them.
To carry on a record label is a tough work, but when after a process of several months or years, a record form someone like Chancha Via Circuito, El Remolón, Faauna or Frikstailers is launched and you see people dancing to that music, it's total satisfaction.
Just how tough is it running a label like yours right now and what would you say to people looking to start a label?
For years, when someone asked me how to start a label I always answered: are you sure you want to have it? Don't rush into it!
I ended understanding that is hard work, badly paid, many nights writing press or news releases and answering mails, organizing many people to work together to let a record to be born. Every effort pays off when you see that piece of art finished, you might not earn much money, you might lack sleeping hours, and get a little stressed but you heart fills with joy and that worth it all.
What are you and ZZK up to in 2017?
ZZK is launching the new record of genius Dat Garcia, and starting to work with a colombian artist soon to be revealed, also working hard on ZZK Films and developing new audiovisual projects. Grant Dull actual director for the label also developed AYA RECORDS, an ecuatorian label brother to ZZK Records that edited the group Rio Mira and Mateo Kingman, one of the most gifted young musicians of the new generation.
Can you recommend a couple of records for us that we might have overlooked over the past few years?
There is plenty of music from Argentina of different styles that I liked. So much to recommend! The Folkloric/Chamanic beat scene is the most widely spread now: Lagartijeando, Rumbo Tumba, Alejandro Lauphan, Barrio Lindo, Dat Garcia, Uji, Barda, San Ignacio, Guazu have really good new material to check. Special attention to new release of Kaleema, soon to be edited, one of the most beautiful record I've heard lately. Also I really recommend to check out the live set of FEMINA in KEXP radio.
Alejandro Lauphan - Gurisito Cosmico (El Buho Remix)
Mateo Kingman - Sendero Del Monte (Uji Remix)
Uji ft. Femina - Romper el Hechizo (El Búho Remix)
Kaleema ft Sara Hebe - La Pregunta del Millon
El Buho - Pavonine Quetzal
Nicola Noir - Yupanki
Nicola Cruz x History of Colour - Paruma
Coconutah Kaygee - Okilomba
Chancha Via Circuito - Jardines (Thornato Remix)
Mario Agata - Onna No (R Vincenzo)
Los Incas - O Cangaceiro (Santarico Remix)
Kraut - Lentamente
Carrot Green - Encanto
Natalia Lafourcade - Recuerdo (Kraut Remix)
Rodrigo Gallardo - Hay que será del Sol
Tribilin Sound - LSD
Matanza, Sabo - Marimbora
Paloma Silencio Fértil (Matanza Remix)
Sonora Mercedes - Sosa
El Buga - Mini Conga (Larry SKG Remix)
Bebe - Busco Me (Daniel Zuur)
Jose Larralde - Quimey Neuquén (Planeta Loco Remix)
Simon Diaz - Garcita
Words & interview by Jack Hardwicke