DENGUE DENGUE DENGUE – INTERVIEW

DENGUE DENGUE DENGUE – INTERVIEW

“Dengue, is the little bug that gives you the itch to go party,” explains Felipe Salmon, member of the tropical bass duo Dengue, Dengue, Dengue. Of course this is an accurate name for the infectious sound that they create.  Felipe and his crime partner Rafael Pereira blend traditional cumbias, psychedelic beats, Amazonian rhythms generating a literal storm on the dance floor.

In the last three years, since the release of their debut album “La Alianza Profana,” Dengue, Dengue, Dengue has toured all over the world, ambassadors of the digital cumbia sound spreading it from China to Norway. They stopped in Texas for the first time last weekend, a long with VJ Sixta, the magician behind the hypnotic visuals.

Cumbia, from the barrio to the world.

In the 80s in Peru, Cumbia was not cool. Cumbia Tropical and Chicha were somehow stigmatized and relegated. Thirty years later, Digital Cumbia is taking the world. “There’s a movement… trying to revalorize our Peruvian culture. It started with the food. Along with it came the music, so Cumbia was suddenly trending,” explains Felipe.

“We were in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Zizek Club and we heard their music, and we became instant fans,” recalls Felipe. “I started playing their tracks and so did Rafa, shortly after Dengue was born.”

Their peculiar sound, solid visual aesthetic and those tribal masks gain them a name in no time. The fever spread.

Rafael Pereira and Felipe Salmon AKA. Photo by Scott McDaniel

Rafael Pereira and Felipe Salmon AKA. Photo by Scott McDaniel

The friends never thought they would become a worldwide phenomena. “In Lima, you have to create your own platform, everything is do it yourself” says Felipe. “Adversity brings out creativity,” affirms Sixta. “It’s a mix of many things, doing something with all your heart, lots of hard work, and be at the right place and the right time” explains Rafael, “when we started Dengue, Lima need it. Lately, Lima’s music scene is flourishing, it’s vibrating and changing but it wasn’t always like that.”

They know it first hand; Felipe, Rafael and Sixta are part of the Colectivo Auxiliar. This creative community is where they met; together they host the TOMA parties that are transforming Peru’s musical scenery. “Auxiliar is our root project. We’ve been together 8 years. We started doing drum and bass, dub step, experimental parties, but it wasn’t until we started with tropical bass that it boomed” recalls Sixta. “We saw a new crowd, people that like electronic and people that like latin rhythm. We witnessed the encounter of two worlds.”

An Ever Evolving Sound.

Dengue digs down their roots, not only mixing cumbia, but also chicha (a grassroots rhythm from Peruvian mountains) in their productions. On their new album they will include some lando and festejos (examples of the Musica Criolla typical from Peru’s coast). “We want to keep experimenting with different musical roots not only from Peru, but from other countries too. Our trips inspire us; we start collecting sounds along the road and we interpret it our way… for example Kuduro from Angola, Batida from Portugal.” comments Felipe. “What’s cool about this project is that you find something new and it grows on you. You find new patterns and without noticing it’s already changing, mutating. Chevere,” adds VJ Sixta.

The Dengue fever will not stop. They’ll continue touring, they just finished filming a new video and their third album will come out in October, through their label Enchufada Records from Portugal. While we wait, we’ll overdose with their Soundcloud mixes and hypnotic beats.

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Dengue Dengue Dengue and Victor Rimach from Chasquis Group. Photo by Scott McDaniel.

Dengue Dengue Dengue and Victor Rimach from Chasquis Group. Photo by Scott McDaniel.