The Mix 021: CRRDR - Music - Mixmag

The Mix 021: CRRDR

CRRDR has taken the post-pandemic dance music scene by storm with 'Latin Core', a high-energy style that blends Latin rhythms, global club sounds, high BPMs and post-internet aesthetics

  • Words & translation: Alejandra Cabrera Abasolo | Photos: Juan Avella
  • 10 July 2024

Francisco Corredor, self-dubbed as the 'Latin Core Legend', is reshaping club culture with his innovative approach to electronic music under the alias CRRDR, blending genres such as guaracha and deconstructed club into high-energy, boundary-pushing tracks. A multidisciplinary artist who also works with design, he is a driving force behind Latin America’s post-pandemic club scene.

Originally from Bucaramanga, Colombia, and now based in Berlin, his journey began in Bogotá, where he moved at a young age and later navigated a burgeoning music scene. Fuelled by a love for music yet hesitant about the viability of making it a career, he earned a business degree that left him unfulfilled. Over time he progressed from making music as a hobby to venture into event programming in 2021, driven by a frustration over the scarcity of platforms for his music, organising events in Colombia under his label, FKA Mothership, now called Traaampaaa.

“It was eye-opening to see that fast music, combined with Latin rhythms like accelerated guaracha, could captivate people,” he says. “This realisation sparked my exploration throughout 2022, blending faster beats with Latin influences, particularly guaracha.”

Inspired by his Colombian roots, global club sounds and post-internet aesthetics, Corredor has pioneered 'Latin Core'. Musically it blends Colombian guaracha, which originates from Medellín and fuses trumpets, accordions and drums from traditional cumbia arrangements, with propulsive beats and hardcore influence (across the spectrum of electronic to metal). The latter genre bleeds into the imagery, with artwork featuring skulls, barbed wire and indecipherable typeface, but it's also heavily informed by the stylistic mesh of online connectivity. CRRDR also describes himself as a 'Godfather of UwUaracha', seemingly a portmanteau of the cutesy, anime-inspired UwU emoticon and guaracha. His social media presence maintains a playful tone, frequently sharing memes related to his music and parties, while his merchandise bears slogans such as “sorry but Latincore stays on during sex”. In doing so he's stripping the seriousness and elitism that often goes hand in hand with the clubbing scene in Berlin, where he relocated this year after first visiting in 2023.

Read this next: How sounds from the Global South stopped club culture stagnating

Berlin’s diverse music scene has proved to be the ideal next step for the artist, who moved in pursuit of a Master's degree in Digital Arts to be able to enhance his performances. The German capital has provided ground for Corredor’s artistic growth, enabling collaborations and expanding his global reach with party editions that only grow in popularity for their unique sound and fun atmosphere.

“From my personal experience, I got into experimental, alternative electronic music because I was very tired of the dynamics of the techno scene, which is very classist, elitist, and [self-ambitious]. In the end, the values of what this culture truly represented were lost,” CRRDR says. “It turned more into a culture of show-offs.”

Looking forward, Corredor aims to elevate Traaampaaa as a platform to uplift and give visibility to Latin American artists, fostering cultural exchange and showcasing diverse voices within electronic music. His dedication to community-building and innovation underscores his commitment to shaping the future of Latin American music on the global stage.

For The Mix, CRRDR delves into Latin Core’s inspiration and future, his outlook into the Colombian and Berlin scenes and his future projects. Check out the mix and interview below.

How did you begin your journey as a DJ and producer?

I've always liked music and since 2015 I started to be influenced by EDM and names like Skrillex, Martin Garrix, all this wave, and I was like 'wow, I want to be a DJ and I want to make music'. Then I tried to learn how to produce, I was trying to learn from tutorials and everything, but nothing flowed. I was trying to mix, like on VirtualDJ and so on, but thought I will never be able to make a living out of this. I was telling my mum that I wanted to study music but she said that I needed to study something real, so I actually studied business. I graduated from that career in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic.

About halfway through my [career], I was very frustrated, I was very depressed. It was like I didn't find myself in this path, and I started to go more into music. There was a subject at my university called Appreciation of Rock. Through this class is how I understood the music business and music as an art. I said, well, maybe I'm not going to make music any more, but I'm going to work in the music industry.

I was already very tired of everything, I had been studying and working. With the money I had saved I said I'm going to start, I took a course in electronic music production and sound design, and decided I was going to make music, at least as a hobby.

I have always been influenced by hip hop and rap, particularly from Colombia. There are many artists whose work I admire, and I've wanted to create experimental hip hop by fusing it with ambient electronic music. I feel hip hop in Colombia is quite stagnant, with few mainstream artists doing anything different.

My aim has been to bring something new to local music. I started creating IDM, ambient, and downtempo tracks. After the pandemic, I decided to release my music on Spotify. I realised it wasn’t worth having a polished product if no one could hear it, so I put it out there to see how it would develop.

Ultimately, I’m not sure if I’ll make a living from this or where it will lead. I just want to create and share my music.

Was it then that you started putting up events?

In 2021, I started organising events because I realised no one would invite me to play my music, which was very unique. There weren't many spaces for it, so I decided to create my own. During the national strike in Colombia that year, I released some music and began managing collaborative spaces for various forms of art, not just music. I wanted to build a community around art, incorporating music, design, clothing, and more.

I aimed to fuse my hip hop influences with other disciplines and local brands. I organised my first event with a friend under the label I now have, Traaampaaa, which was called Mothership at the time.

We held our first event at a cultural house in Bogotá featuring a blend of hip hop and electronic music— a showcase with invited rappers and an open mic. Around 30 to 40 people attended, which exceeded our expectations. Encouraged and a bit naive, we decided to expand to Medellín, despite its predominantly mainstream party scene focused on techno, house, and reggaeton.

Our Medellín events were challenging; attendance varied significantly, from small groups of 10 to 50 people spread out through the different parties we put together in several days. This experience taught us valuable lessons about event dynamics and audience engagement. We adjusted our strategy, reducing the frequency to about one event per month and focusing on educating our audience about our sound.

By late 2021, I began developing my own musical approach, initially centered on live performances using instruments like the [Roland] TR-8 and [Korg] Volca. However, I eventually shifted towards DJ sets due to the logistical challenges of transporting equipment.

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What inspired you to blend Latin and electronic genres in your music?

In my DJ sets, I draw influence from post-club and deconstructed club sounds, along with reggaeton and downtempo elements. In December 2021, our collective organised a party where we booked different artists through [Colombian label] MUAKK, expanding the musical spectrum. I've always had a fondness for hardcore, tekno, drum 'n' bass, and gabber, although in Bogotá, the reception to fast music was mixed; sometimes it intimidated people. I've strived to balance catering to audience expectations while also innovating.

At this event, the artists we booked played at 150-160 BPM, and the audience danced enthusiastically throughout. It was eye-opening to see that fast music, combined with Latin rhythms like accelerated guaracha, could captivate people. This realisation sparked my exploration throughout 2022, blending faster beats with Latin influences, particularly guaracha. This journey continues to shape my evolving musical identity, challenging the notion that genres must conform to a specific BPM range.

What pushed you to move to Berlin, and what has the experience been like? I know the city can be quite tough, it was for me.

Yes, I moved here about three months ago. I came to study a Master's degree in Digital Art. That was the excuse to have a visa for a longer time.

I came to Berlin last year and spent a couple of days there. I’m a believer of the signs that life gives you, quite a few friends told me to come back and that it would be quite very good for me. So when I got back to Colombia I started to organise my things and I decided to come to Berlin to study.

I wanted to have more things for my performances, like art direction, creative direction and so on, because the Master's degree I'm doing is very focused on visual installation and visual art.

I think that the scene here is quite diverse. There are a lot of things to do, and there are plenty of spaces to do those things too.

Can you describe how the cultural and musical aspects in Colombia compare to the scene in Europe, particularly in regard to what you have seen during your time in Berlin?

Well, let's say that people always look for something, but it also seems like in this moment people are starting to wake up. Because, in the end, there has always been a sort of Eurocentrism in a certain way, and Colombian culture is very whitewashed. It might be the case in South America too, but specifically in Colombia, I know there's a lot of aspiration and classism. So, people always want to be like an American or a European without even knowing it. They only think that what is built or made there matters and is right. And that's the order of things.

With techno specifically, the techno scene is always quite strong, and now with hard techno and such, a lot of people are very purist in that aspect. So, in the mainstream of the underground, which is techno, people only know one type of electronic music and people aren't open to listening to other things. There are people who talk to me today, but when I sent them my demos before, they would just leave me on read. In the end, either people opened their minds to this genre or it simply became a trend.

Before 2020, there weren't many spaces for other types of electronic music and people didn't have access to it. I think there are many cultural factors because internet access in Colombia is a privilege. In the end, only part of the population has it, and that's why specific types of music like electronic music can reach them, because what's played on the radio is more traditional music, popular music, reggaeton, maybe some pop, but electronic music is very specific. So, it gets reduced to a niche, and then another niche, until you get to alternative, experimental electronic music.

Little by little, people are getting tired of the same techno sound and are opening their ears to something else. For example, from my personal experience, I got into experimental, alternative electronic music because I was also very tired of the dynamics of the techno scene, which is very classist, elitist, aspirational, and in the end, the values of what this culture truly represented were lost. It turned more into a culture of show-offs and such.

From my principles or values or what I was looking for in music, I wanted to find spaces where I could really go to listen to music without having to think about who is dating whom, or who is talking about whom, or who is dancing behind you. Now, I even feel that these things are starting to replicate in the scene here in a certain way. In the end, it’s something very cyclical and funny, but the point is that I feel it has been a progressive evolution of the music scene. I also feel that Colombia, in general, is behind in many cultural, musical, and industry aspects. So, I feel like this is it; little by little, a step is being taken to start showing people the spectrum of music as an art and not just as something that has to be only music defined by a genre.

I feel that maybe it's also because there is a longer-standing culture of music consumption and partying in Europe, where people started building spaces a bit earlier. But I don't know. For example, this particular scene and this specific music are something I constantly mention as being very pandemic-driven. It really started to gain strength after the pandemic, when people started connecting more to the internet and spending more time there, searching for or discovering things, or maybe just stumbling upon them by chance.

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I think this ties back to the theory of internet access. Here in Europe, there are many more privileges, including better access to connectivity and easier information sharing. This facilitates the construction of spaces collectively. I feel there's a greater sense of community here, and people are more willing to build communities, which allows for a more progressive or faster evolution.

Additionally, people here can afford to organise an event and lose money without it affecting their month or year. This reflects a certain privilege in being able to organise events, throw parties, or build spaces. There's also more support from the state. I've played at public events or festivals that are directly funded by the state, which is still very difficult to achieve in Colombia. Accessing such funding requires being part of certain circles, and not just anyone can do it there.

As a pioneer of 'Latin Core', how do you see this genre evolving in the future?

Well, I feel that little by little it's growing more. Also, I don't know, since last year, or rather, for a couple of years now, I've seen these figures touring all over the world. My friends and I feel that gradually more spaces are being created. The thing is to keep doing things, because the problem with scenes sometimes is that they stay more on social media, with gossip and all that, and then people stop focusing on creating things. For me, the most important thing is always to create and build spaces.

So right now, it's like we're just planting the seed and the little tree is growing, and we need to keep watering it with many people. In the end, I feel it's not about one person having visibility, but rather the whole movement and all the people who are building things. That's how scenes are sustained and continue to grow.

The most important thing, I feel, is for it to keep growing and for more people to get involved and do things, because that's what will renew and allow it to keep growing, rather than stagnating with just one or a couple of people doing the same thing all the time. In the end, that would become tiresome and wouldn't lead anywhere.

I loved your latest release 'Tu vacilatela que yo estoy en otra', can you tell me about the process and inspiration behind it?

Well, this release is really a culmination of the work from several years, especially after 2022. In 2022, I was fired from my last job and decided to give music a try. I went to Mexico, stayed there for two months, and for the first time, I was able to focus solely on being a DJ. I met people there, particularly Zerena Morena, a friend who runs a collective called Po$$$ole. She was one of the first people to open doors for me outside my home country. She encouraged me to take this more seriously and showed me that it was possible to succeed.

She explained that it's not just about playing music, but also about diversifying. So, I started thinking about selling merchandise, music, giving courses, and finding ways to make a living within the arts without having to finance my music career with another job. I decided to keep pushing forward with this idea. I then did a tour through South America, visiting Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. During this time, I got to meet artists I admired, people I considered to be my references. Meeting them in person, after having chatted online, allowed me to build relationships with these influential figures.

Seeing how things worked in real life, not just online, influenced my sound. Working with these artists opened up new possibilities for me, making it possible to transcend from the internet to real-life experiences. It was a pretty crazy and eye-opening experience for me, which I’ve tried to capture in my recent releases.

Last year, after one of my tracks got synced for Netflix and I had issues with sample licensing, I decided to be more careful with future releases. I focused on creating more conceptual work based on Latin American experiences and my own experiences within the alternative club music scene. The people who have influenced me and those I’ve worked with have all contributed to this process.

My aim is to continue building a sound that showcases Latin American music from an electronic perspective. I personally feel that this is the golden age of Latin American electronic music. There are many incredible artists and producers in Latin America doing amazing things right now. From my perspective, with the visibility I’m gaining, I want to highlight both my culture and the creators within this emerging niche.

Read this next: How the pandemic connected China's club scene

As the founder of the label Traaampaaa, what goals do you have for the label and its impact on the music industry?

I feel it's more about always being a platform. My projects and what I've done have always been about trying to be a platform to give visibility to artists from day one. When we started this project with my best friend, we thought, "Well, if we don't have a space, we'll create the spaces and also provide a space to anyone."

In general, the thing with music, labels, and artistic spaces is that your visibility depends on who you are. What interests me is being a platform, the first event space, for anyone, whether they continue making music or not. Everyone has something to say, and if I can provide the space for that, then I will.

Clearly, my priority will always be artists from Latin America, but there are also people from other parts of the world on the label who are influenced by this sound. I think it's about cultural exchange going both ways, because that's what allows people to learn, say, and create new things.

In the end, what interests me most is being a platform rather than a face saying "I want to do this or that." I'm interested in giving visibility, because that's what it's all about. Fashions pass, people come and go, but what's important is leaving a message, a legacy. I believe that's the essence of Latin American electronic music: the more people doing things, the more it stays alive.

Tell me about the parties you're having here in Berlin, what's the atmosphere like, how has the reception been?

The first party I organised here in Berlin was last year around early August, marking the end of my European tour. It served as a test on a Sunday to gauge reception. We collaborated with three collectives, focusing on artists from Latin America, migrants, or those touring Europe. The response was positive, reflecting a growing interest in this type of music. Recently, I organised another Latincore event that went very well, where we could see increasing public receptiveness to our line-ups.

This momentum in 'Latin Core' or electronic Latin music is buoyed by various factors—internet trends, cultural interest, and Berlin's experimental ethos make it an ideal testing ground. Similar movements started in Bogotá after the pandemic, gaining traction into 2022. Organising such events reveals diverse outcomes—some draw crowds of 20 or 50, while others like this one attracted around 350 attendees.

Navigating promotion and logistical challenges is integral to event planning, yet the accessibility and appeal of mixing genres like reggaeton with electronic beats resonate well in club settings. It's a gateway for audiences to explore new sounds, bridging familiarity with experimentation.

Rea this next: Bogotá nights: Colombia's after-hours scene is an anarchic, cultural melting pot

What upcoming projects or collaborations can your fans look forward to in the near future?

Well, right now I have quite a few projects. I have an album that I’m going to release around the middle of next year. I have a lot of projects lined up. Today [June 13] I had a compilation with Traaampaaa that came out called 'Sudacore', it features artists from various parts of Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela. There are also artists from Russia, Turkey, and Spain. So, it’s a pretty diverse compilation.

Regarding my own releases, there will always be music from me. I have plans and ongoing projects. I also want to keep doing remixes.

The next Latincore event? Well, we’re going [at time of speaking] to do another one. It won’t be specifically Latin Core, but we’re teaming up with four collectives here in Berlin on July 5. The collectives are Deprerreo x Rawa Club x NOFUTURE x TRAMPA. We’ll also have a guest band that’s part of the label Nyege Nyege. This party will be one of the last we do this year because we’re not doing events as frequently. This year, I mainly wanted to introduce the sound and capture people’s attention.

After that, I’m organising another event with only Colombian artists. It will be a collaboration between Puticlub, MUAKK, and Felina, and it will take place on August 1.

Can you share a description of the mix you have prepared for us?

I wanted to show who CRRDR is, the legend of Latin Core and the godfather of UwUaracha. There's a lot to share about me. The most important thing is that I am a multidisciplinary artist from Bogotá. I've developed a unique approach aimed at exploring Latin rhythms fused with electronic music at high BPMs, heavy kicks, and party atmospheres. My work stands out among a wave of post-pandemic producers who embrace art from a post-internet expression. Through this mix, I aim to bring visibility to many producers and emerging artists, especially from Latin America.

'Tu Vacilatela Que Yo Estoy En Otra' is out now, get it here

Alejandra Cabrera Abasolo is a freelance journalist, follow her on Instagram

Brenda x CRRDR - Elma
Oxtek x CRRDR - Loka
Gadutra - Que Isso Poha
ISA GT - Volvi Gonos
Gaty - Entubala
Mije - La Lleva
La Diabla - Front Row
Wost x DJ Fucci - Sol
CRRDR x Jay Mitta - Bulla
CRRDR - Adivina quien llego
Pondi Map - Apricity
Jacks Trip - Unexpected Desire
Senpa Trip - saliendo de la nada
Laura Coch - Never ending feeling
Tokischa - Singamo (Cardozo edit)
Cimarron - Fiebre
Traxxdealer - Diablo
Sanchez Jr x Spiderwarp - Cyberoptix
DJ Kinderbier - Makossa
DJ Cvja - Down the cave
Wiz 808 - 666Million ft. Hozzei
Negraconda x Traxxdealer - El Timido
Zpectrum - Pa'traz
Entrañas - Agachadito
2at - Kremayera Rolling
CRRDR - Leave The Lights
Aleroj x CRRDR - Que guarachita mijo
Genosidra - Hardremangala Hardempujala
CRRDR - Toma
Klandestina x Kasrules - Sacala

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