Thanks to the power of online forums, local Machu Picchu guide Jesus Vargas Rodriguez is a massive fan of Rupture, AKO, Good Looking Records and more. I was curious to find out how these sounds are consumed in the ancient mountains, so we connected to learn more about the DNB scene in Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Hey Jesus! How did you discover UK Jungle and DNB?
I was always interested in punk, or bands like Napalm Death. So the hard drum & bass was similar to punk, it has the same energy. In Lima, they organise DNB events too, but they weren’t the most creative. So I moved into slow and dark drum & bass, starting with Technical Itch. From there I discovered Moving Shadow, Renegade Hardware, Good Looking Records, Metalheadz… these labels are really interesting. Really hard sometimes. I love the British sound!
When we connected on Facebook you mentioned that you loved Decibella’s new tracks on AKO, that’s so underground!
You really think so? Yes the internet and forums connect with a lot of people, and Rupture and AKO are really popular. And I think Decibella recently published her tracks on AKO Beatz no?
It’s so cool because we live in London and we live our lives, and it’s so cool to hear how the scene has travelled across the globe…
I think Rupture today is the finest drum & bass crew. The most interesting. I love Loxy, Gremlinz, Digital, Mantra, Djinn and I was so sad about Spirit who passed away.
How do you consume these sounds on a daily basis? You live in Cusco right, which is in the mountains?
A few years ago I started running. And drum & bass is the best music for running. I run one hour and 45 minutes a day, around the safe neighbourhoods in Lima and on the coast. Renegade, Therapy Sessions. Some liquid, Makoto is great for running. It makes you so happy, more focused.
What’s the Peruvian DNB scene like in Cusco, do other locals like similar music to you?
DNB is not popular here. Maybe you have to get access to publicity, but I think Peruvian people are not really attracted to bass music. Latino music salsa or reggaeton is more popular. It’s hard to make drum and bass commercial.We try and get optimistic because people around the world visit to reach Machu Picchu. So actually early British dubstep is more popular here in Cusco. Psychedelic trance is the biggest. It’s more the British or Brazilian tourists who listen to drum & bass.
So do you rely more on tourists to keep Cusco’s DNB scene alive?
It’s not easy to promote. In Peru, the politicians put reggaeton, Salsa and Cumbia in discotheques because they don’t want people to think. Because they want to manipulate the people.The experience was different when I lived in Chile four years ago, they are more enthusiastic and promote more dnb parties. They are more positive – DJ Marky’s organised events in Chile. I want to collaborate more with Chile, and Colombia too.
I recently joined a crew called We Love Cusco Drum and Bass, founded by m4thik and Kobra Kai. The first one was in October, and we’re planning to organise a third event in the middle of March. We organise the party in the downtown area here in Cusco.
Sick, what style of DNB do you plan on playing?
I think it’s better to promote all kinds no? Because I really love Loxy, Rupture and AKO so I’ll probably focus on that. But like a movie, when you start a sequence, I like to create a journey for the people. I also think mixing jungle with reggae would be received well, and you must mix to the environment that you’re in.
For real!! So what’s the crowd like in a Peruvian DNB rave?
It’s a mix, they come from all over. I think DNB ravers are so curious about music… they’re positive people. I think it’s a friendly scene.
What makes the Peruvian DNB scene unique to anywhere else in the world?
I think Peru is interesting because there are a lot of ancient civilizations. It was the place where William Burroughs tasted the Yage/Ayahuasca. So Peru is one of the main influences for the counterculture. It’s why psychedelic trance is so popular here. You could also say there’s the altitude. In Cusco, the tourists who come here get altitude sickness. We are 3,400 metres above the sea… so the elements really intensify the rave experience.
I bet, I would love to come and rave in Machu Picchu. Thank you for sharing your community with us Jesus… good luck with your DNB event in Cusco, and it’s an honour to connect!
If you’re in Peru and want to go on an Inca trail to Machu Picchu with a junglistic tour guide, contact firstname.lastname@example.org