When I met DJ, producer, and label boss Rhenalt Rimple for a drink at a cafe in Union Square last week, it wasn’t far from where, as a teenager with a fake ID, he went to his first club, Palladium, in 1992. That first venture to the disco was in the waning golden age of New York’s club culture, when kids would pack massive venues like Sound Factory and Tunnel, dancing into the dawn to the new sounds of house and techno.
After pursuing careers in acting and dance, Rhenalt was inspired to take up DJing and production himself in the mid-2000s. He toured in Eastern Europe and collaborated with the legendary figures Todd Terry and DJ Pierre before recently launching his own label Rebel Eye. In the last couple years, the label has curated shows at TBA Brooklyn, Space Ibiza, and the defunct Verboten, as well as in Miami.
Magic seems to happen around Gerardo Cedillo, the young, humble, and intensely brilliant Mexican house music artist, with whom I met last weekend at his New York debut, surrounded by fog machine mist and disco lighting. He was in a corner hanging out on the couch when I found him, speaking intently to a friend. We were on the top floor of an industrial building in Bushwick with a rented sound system blasting, and I approached to ask if he was indeed the mastermind behind the records that have emerged recently as among the most exciting dance floor numbers on the scene. When we spoke, he was cheerful, despite nursing jet lag and a hangover. He was excited to be in the city, he said. It was only his second visit, and earlier he’d made the trek to the diner from Seinfeld, his favorite TV show, on West 112th street.
Coming from Tijuana, Cedillo, better known under the moniker Soul of Hex, is part of an emerging scene of house artists based in the Mexican hotbed of renegades and excitement. Lately his efforts have gained momentum through sheer artistic ingenuity, and support from recognized European labels, propelled by crushing house rhythms made palpably vivid by analogue synthesizer lines.
Based out of Subotica, Serbia, near the border with Hungary, Frikardo creates grooving house music with chopped, hip hop inspired samples. His debut LP Smoovin’ High garnered the attention of influential DJs such as Coldcut and Seven Davis Jr., who featured tracks from the album in their mix celebrating the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking electronic label Ninja Tune. Last month, he followed up in style with the new EP Way to Katanga, released on Belgian label Gents and Dandy’s. I asked him about the development of his style, and what’s unique about dance music in Serbia. Continue reading “Interview: Frikardo”→