It is always said that “past times were better”, but despite this, there are reasons that allow us to be optimistic about what we find today in Barcelona. The Catalan capital boasts a variety of events and promoters rubbing up against record numbers, with new parties constantly appearing on the radar and artists from all over the world taking the opportunity to settle in the city. That’s why, taking the most of the meeting point that BRIDGE Festival 2.0 turned into, we chatted with some of those responsible for the fact that Barcelona has been, is and remains one of the European cities with the greatest diversity and projection towards electronic music.
The first of them is an eminence in Barcelona. With decades of experience spreading his musical knowledge in the clubs that have come and gone, Lancaster is undoubtedly one of the most authoritative voices to talk about the evolution of the city’s disc jockeys. In our chat, Michele Tabucchi -the artist’s original name- drew us with melancholy the landscape of what the Mediterranean land was when he landed in Spain. With a clear predominance of mákina music, the first international artists getting booked by Nitsa Club and a young brand called Sónar starting to bet on unorthodox sounds, that was the moment when electronic music stopped being something merely underground in Barcelona.
Nitsa were the first ones to invite people like Jeff Mills. Then it was Sónar’s first years. And that was the big change.– Lancaster for Xceed
His words allowed us to relive in a matter of minutes the evolution of the scene. A survivor of the trends that have stalked the clubs, but someone who stands for the authenticity of the artist and the respect for the roots and culture of the 90s that have laid the foundations of what clubbers enjoy nowadays. A path that has resulted in turning Barcelona into what Lancaster literally defines as a “party town”, with more DJs than ever eager to share their music in the dozens of first-class booths that inhabit the Catalan capital.
One of those DJs who has managed to carve a niche for herself and we often see her on Catalan stages is Mona Lee. Coming from Belgian lands, she has found in Barna a home where she can express her style through the decks with total transparency, with an audience that understands the vocal house that she proudly represents and that has become loyal to her DROP family. With BPMs accelerating exponentially in his homeland -and all over Europe-, beyond the sunny landscapes that attract any northern inhabitant of the continent, his needs as an artist are once again covered. A place where, as she herself defines, the devotion to house music is still on point.
People go for the music but you end up knowing everyone within this community. You build something together.– Mona Lee for Xceed
Despite the large number of DJs that the Catalan capital hosts, there are still some who choose to create their own opportunities in the form of collectives. La Aso, led by Pisano and Hugo Esmeraldo, is one of those groups that have been really notorious since its early birth. What began as a mere coincidence between students at a party, has ended up organically becoming a project that, in just 3 years, already has held several gigs all around the world, from Barcelona to Tulum. A community that places House and Minimal at the epicenter with which they strive to bring back the essence and energy of the old-school raves of yesteryear.
The question is: Why choose Barcelona to settle a project like this? The answer is clear: not only because one of its members was born and raised here -which is also a great reason-, but because they see the city as one of the world capitals of underground electronic music, with a unique “Spanish vibe” and a contagious open mindset that can be felt in the atmosphere of any party. A beautiful love story that also has had its ups and downs, since in a space where collectives are often created from a simple group of friends with a sound in common -like them-, this also makes the list of competitors longer within an increasingly saturated ecosystem. A competition that the DJ couple itself sees as something positive, as it brings motivation to all promoters to do things better and that, in the end, adds value to the city itself, helps it to shine brighter on the map and builds a sound of its own.
There’s a lot to be done in Barcelona. We have parties on point but we can really make a Barcelona sound.– Hugo Esmeraldo for Xceed
Three points of view of the same object from different angles allow us to have an accurate X-ray of what Barcelona has been, is and probably will be. A consolidation of the Barcelona sound, an international reference that supports the authenticity in large part thanks to the mentality of its public, and a meeting point for new musical talents both in the artistic and business side to develop their projects. A city that takes care of its roots but lets emerging currents emerge, creating a unique ecosystem in the world that doesn’t surrender to mainstream trends -while still having spaces to embrace them- to preserve the essence of what really matters in art: the love for it.12