Cutting-edge club sounds from Latin America and beyond.
Though they now reside in Berlin, Felipe Salmón and Rafael Pereira have left an indelible mark on Peru's electronic music scene. The duo's earliest work focused on bringing together sounds from different Afro-Peruvian and Andean traditions, mixing regional instruments in with shapeshifting, often slamming club rhythms. They helped pioneer Peru's digital cumbia sound, which involves not only the kind of syncretic synthesis outlined above but recording with groups like Los Wemblers de Iquitos, a legendary but reclusive band located near the outskirts of Peru's Amazonian region.
Over time, however, Dengue Dengue Dengue have developed an even more idiosyncratic and individual style, as shown on records like Siete Raíces ("seven roots"), Zenit & Nadir and last year's Fiebre on NAAFI. Their music has come to encompass even more styles, rhythms and shapes, each record more bold and confident than the last.
Their RA Podcast shows how their sound, and mission to take the music of Latin America into the digital future, goes beyond just Peru. It features tracks from Mexico's Omaar, Uruguay's Lila Tirando a Violeta, Colombia's Verraco, Brazil's Pigmalião and others. (Plus Aphex Twin and Russian synth head X.Y.R.) This is a mix that contextualizes Latin American club music where it belongs—at centre stage in the worldwide scene—and as something more than just the sum of its influences. Since they first came on the scene, Dengue Dengue Dengue sounded like the future, and on their RA Podcast, they still do.
What have you been up to recently?
With the obvious changes that the pandemic brought, it was a good time to focus on things that we always wanted to do but never had the time for, like launching a record label and producing for other people or projects.
At the end of last year we launched our record label Kebrada with a double-vinyl compilation focused in polyrhythmic compositions by Latin American artists, and just a few week ago we released the debut album from QOQEQA.
We also had time to focus on the production of our next album and a few collab EPs. We also made music for a video game coming soon.
How and where was the mix recorded?
The mix was recorded at Felipe's home studio in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
Can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
The idea was to showcase a few of the artists we are currently working with, most of the producers are from Latin America and are currently involved with our label or lables and crews from that side of the world. It also contains a few upcoming productions from us and lots of unreleased tunes from friends.
Your last few records especially incorporated sounds recorded back in Peru as well as traditional or unique instrumentation—why is it important to you to include these sounds, and how do you incorporate them into dance music?
There are two very interesting sides of exploring this. In one hand learning and understanding the rhythmic structure and metric used in Afroperuvian music completely changed on how we approach production now. We've been composing in a 4/4 structure for years, and through this music we learned how to compose in other metrics.
On the other hand there is the sound palette, a very unique sound universe with instruments like the Quijada (donkey's jaw) or the Peruvian cajon. It's very interesting to work with this sound and manipulate them in new ways.
Though you live in Berlin now, do you still feel a strong connection with the Latin American dance music scene? Is there a sound or idea that connects these artists together across nations and cultures?
Yes, we still get very much inspired from what's happening over there, we feel that since the electronic music industry is not fully developed over there there is a lot of talent waiting to be showcased in a bigger platform, and we are just putting in our grain of sand to help make that happen.
What are you up to next
Working on a new album for 2022, doing a lot of remixes and planning the next releases on our label.