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This Nightclub in Juarez became an EDM Hot Spot in the Middle of a Drug Cartel War

There’s a little nightclub in Ciudad Juarez that’s become one of the hottest electronic music spots in the world. It’s called HardPop.

#nofilter ivan smagghe @ #hardpop #juarez #ciudajuarez #mexico #hardpopclub #party #dj #music

A photo posted by Patricia. (@pa_ttyy) on

Somehow, it survived and earned its fame during the height of drug cartel violence in Juarez.

People have packed the 500-person-capacity club to dance to DJs such as Nina Kraviz, Tiesto and Sasha.

#buenanoche #hardpop #hardpopclub #ninaKraviz

A photo posted by ivan bojorquez (@zisor5_15) on

How did such a small club become such a big deal? NPR’s Latino USA headed out to Juarez to investigate.

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Mexican DJ Broz Rodriguez Talks Helping Latin EDM Go Global and New Single “Closer”

Latidomusic

Mexican DJ Broz Rodriguez Talks Helping Latin EDM Go Global and New Single “Closer”

Broz Rodriguez is leading the way for electronic dance music in Latin America. This month, the Mexican DJ and producer released the refreshing “Closer” with Belgian act Dennis Cartier. In addition to his Latin EDM tracks, Rodriguez is supporting the next generation of DJs in Latin America as the CEO of XDM Records and MDX Agency. In an exclusive interview with Latido Music, he talked about his journey to spinning for thousands of people, his greatest hits, and the ways he is highlighting new talent.

Rodriguez’s love for putting on a good show came from overcoming a family struggle.

“I started as a DJ, not as a producer,” Rodriguez tells mitú. “I started [out in EDM] because I found out that I was good in reading crowds as a DJ.”

Rodriguez is a product of his environment. The Guadalajara native moved with his family to Monterrey because of a new IT job that his dad found there. When that job fell through, Rodriguez supported his father in supplying the city with karaoke entertainment. First, he was setting up and breaking down the equipment and later he playing mixes for those crowds. He adds that was a positive from such a negative moment in his family’s life.

“It was a resilient kind of thinking that we needed to move on,” Rodriguez says.

Burned CDs of megamixes from the flea markets, Napster, and MTV Latin America were outlets for Rodriguez to discover new music, especially EDM. He abandoned his role as drummer in a punk rock band to pursue this other genre.

“I said f*ck punk music and I started thinking digital-wise,” Rodriguez says. He cites Dutch DJ Tiësto’s Elements of Life album as an influence. “He was the first guy to say this is not underground. This is not just drugs. This is a show.”

Rodriguez also put time into understanding the business behind putting on a good show.

Rodriguez grew interested in creating and designing events as he performed at karaoke gigs. He pursued a few degrees in that field while studying in Melbourne.

“I was not just focused on music,” Rodriguez says. “I was also thinking about putting on big entertainment experiences like Pasquale Rotella.”

During that time, Rodriguez was also a voice for Mexico in the Australian EDM scene. He met Carlos Anaya through an internship, who put the aspiring DJ in his first big gig as an opening act for French superstar David Guetta in Mexico.

“I was feeling how the people were accepting the sound, how they were getting into it, sweating, and giving themselves to the dance floors,” Rodriguez recalls. “[Playing shows] is one of the most special feelings in my whole entire life. It’s like being able to control, to be the MC of a moment. I’m very good with crowd control.”

That joy comes through his live sets when the Broz flow comes alive and rubs off onto the crowd.

Rodriguez hits include EDM remakes of some Mexican classics.

Since then, Rodriguez has played shows in places like India, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia. He’s proudly Mexican in his work with his house music remakes of Latin classics like “Tequila” and “El Jarabe Tapatio.” The latter Rodriguez released last September during Latinx Heritage Month.

“I wanted to try to make folkloric, traditional Mexican songs into my vibe, into my kind of dance floor, and for the clubs,” he says. “You know that DJs are always messing around with things that exist. We make a lot of hybrids.”

Rodriguez adds with a laugh, “We have fun destroying stuff.”

“El Fieston” is Rodriguez’s collaboration with his wife, who is also a DJ.

Another one of Rodriguez’s signature hits is “El Fieston,” a collaboration with his wife Momis Alanis. She’s a Mexican DJ as well.

“The passion and the way she was into dance music for me was wild,” Rodriguez says. “After working with her, we just started having some attraction and boom! Now we’re married. I think she was the first girl that understood my kind of life.”

“El Fieston” was born out of their time together in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It happened when we were having our weekends at home partying during the lockdown,” he says.

When this pandemic is more under control, hopefully, this funky dance track gets a chance to shine in the clubs too.

To help support the Latin EDM talent, Rodriguez launched XDM Records and MDX Agency.

As someone who understands the industry both from an artist and business standpoint, Rodriguez founded XDM Records with Mexican producer Toy Selectah and he also helped launch the entertainment group MDX Agency. Both are channels for Rodriguez to help spotlight and uplift new EDM talent in Latin America.

“We’re always looking to make sh*t happen,” he says.

XDM Records hosts Noches de Dance on Twitch on Tuesday nights. Aspiring DJs can send in their music to be heard and possibly signed to the label.

“It’s a space for upcoming producers, bedroom producers,” Rodriguez says. “We listen to new demos, we give feedback to the artists, and if we don’t sign it, at least they know the opportunity areas that exist in their masters.”

Rodriguez also has a weekly radio show to highlight Latin EDM that includes recent guests like Steve Aoki and R3HAB.

Another outlet Rodriguez has to highlight the Latin EDM scene is his weekly radio show The Happy Hour. The show usually airs on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m. PST/ 10:00 p.m. EST on Dash Radio. Global DJs like Steve Aoki and R3HAB give Rodriguez an exclusive mix to play in the second half of the show. He recently passed the 100 show mark. If you miss any shows, Rodriguez archives them on 1001Tracklists. He reveals that Afrojack and Sam Feldt will be future contributors to the show.

“They know the Latin American scene is important,” Rodriguez says of the support from other DJs. “It’s a win-win situation. They know we’re a movement. When they drop an exclusive mix to us, we have the opportunity to play it for other communities and countries. In the first half of the show, people tuning in can discover Latin talent. It’s synergy. I feel like multicultural relationships around the world are super important.”

His new single “Closer” show more of that camaraderie among DJs around the world.

There’s more synergy between the European and Latin EDM scenes in Rodriguez’s new single “Closer.” He teams up with Belgian DJ Dennis Cartier for the tropical dance track that has a Latin music edge. The two acts can be seen playing the song together in the animated music video.

“One day [Dennis] showed me a W-I-P, a work in progress of ‘Closer,’ and I added some Latin taste to it,” Rodriguez says. “We were looking for a way for Latin music to be accepted worldwide. This is a song that can easily be sung without losing that Latin rhythm. We feel that it’s a cool, chill, and positive song for spring and summertime.”

Broz recently expanded his services with MDX Agency through a new partnership with CAA.

In February, his MDX Agency signed in a partnership with Creative Artists Agency and Global Brands Group. In his announcement of the news, Rodriguez included the hashtag “#UnitedWeAreMoreStronger.”

“This situation is all about knowing how to manage the opportunities,” Rodriguez says. “Just be smart and keep your reputation neat. Don’t f*ck anyone over in terms of business.”

For other DJs from Latin America to watch out for, Rodriguez lists Mariana BO, Mr. Pig, Tom & Collins, and Sinego. As for what to expect next, Rodriguez says there will be more music and that he’s got his first festival of the year and a tour of India booked, but they’re both pending the COVID situation.

“I’m a big fan of thinking in the present tense nowadays, especially after COVID. I think planning is a good idea, but just don’t go so hard on it,” he laughs.

Click here for Latido Music, 24/7 Latin music videos & more

READ: Colombian DJ Sinego on His Potent Mix of Latin EDM and Boleros in “Veneno”

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Run Away From That Toxic Relationship with Dalex’s New Single “Feeling”

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Run Away From That Toxic Relationship with Dalex’s New Single “Feeling”

Puerto Rican singer Dalex is back to his Latin R&B roots with “Feeling“, which is about leaving behind that relationship that made you question everything, including changing who you are to please the other person.

Produced by Dimelo Flow, “Feeling” not only does it get deep about leaving behind what no longer serves you, but it is also packed with punchlines like “Te olvide como El Chavo, sin querer queriendo“.

In our interview for Latido Music by mitú, Dalex talked to us about the feeling he wanted to convey with the song, singing about heartbreak instead of his usual songs that tend to be more intimate.

Watch out interview below:

In “Feeling,” Dalex wants to explore other sounds and try doing a more commercial record that more people can relate to.

The colorful music video was shot in Miami, directed by Adrián Arredondo for Wildhouse Pictures. Dalex and his love interest are seen riding around dirt bikes, which we later found out in the interview was one of his Top 5 Feelings.

Watch the music video below:

Dalex has a busy 2021 ahead, and “Feeling” is the first single from his upcoming album due this year. The Rich Music singer told us that he has a collab with Reggaetón heavy hitters Wisin & Yandel and Zion & Lennox on the way, as well as an American singer which for now he can’t reveal, but we can’t wait to find out.

Click here to watch Latido Music, our 24/7 Latin music channel.

READ: Bolero Meets R&B in New Girl Ultra Single and Music Video for “Rosas”

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