Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a new series by Nick Bowman, a DJ and Radio Host from England.
You could be forgiven for thinking that nightlife in Medellín consists of bar hopping in Parque Lleras from reggaeton to salsa, salsa to vallenato, vallenato to bachata, bachata to cumbia etc, etc., blah blah blah.
Not that I have anything against the aforementioned genres, I like a lot of old salsa and appreciate elements of the others, but if we’re talking about going out and partying, they just don’t cut the mustard for me. Thankfully, those are not the only options.
Medellín has a thriving underground techno and house scene. It has been dubbed the techno capital of South America, and given the amount of events and international DJs playing in Medellín, it would be hard to argue with that.
In this first post, I will be looking at a recent event I attended, and following it up tomorrow with an interview with the promoter and DJ.
In future posts, I intend to talk about the clubs, bars, promoters, DJs and producers who makeup this vibrant movement.
I don’t intend to look at commercial electronic music, music from the likes of Steve Aoki, Avicii and David Guetta.
There is a commercial scene here as well, but it really isn’t my cup of tea, so I will leave that for someone else to look at.
I recently attended an event put on by Intelligent Division, the longest running techno collective in the city.
The invited DJs were techno heavyweights Drumcell and Audio Injection from Los Angeles. Two DJs with stellar reputations for delivering powerful performances and both with a huge back catalogue of releases under their belts.
When they play together, they play as Cell Injection.
The location was Capital Club (ID Club for Intelligent Division nights) at km 5 on Las Palmas. The club has a large dance floor with some tables and chairs skirting it.
Juli Monslave, one of the best-known techno female Colombian DJs, was kicking the night off nicely with some driving but groovy techno.
The dance floor and the club as a whole were filling up nicely with clubbers full of anticipation for a techno fueled dance fest.
Next up was Deraout, the founder of Intelligent Division. He picked up from where Juli left off, in what was a truly inspired set full of heavy hitting numbers, industrial, but also full of funk that built the crowd up to a frenzy.
Deraout left to the cheers and applause of the appreciative party people as he handed over the DJ booth to Cell Injection.
Cell Injection continued in Deraout’s vein, but now it was later and peak time so they could really go full on, hell for leather.
And that’s what they did, from start to finish their set kept the whole place rockin’ and lost in the music until sunrise, with moody, dark and aggressive infused techno which gave the crowd no respite and left them gasping for air but itching for more.
Luckily in Medellin if you want more, there often is more.
After parties are plentiful, they may not always be advertised but ask around at the club for “El remate” (The after party) and there is a good chance you will be pointed in the right direction.
I was feeling energetic and decided to continue.
The after party was at a finca on Las Palmas with beautiful views over Medallo.
When I arrived, Andres Gil was playing. Andres is a DJ and prolific techno music producer from Medellin.
I have been supporting his tracks for a number of years, and he never fails to impress.
The sun was up, and the music suited the hour, taking on a less relentless nosebleed techno to a more stripped back and groovy techno and tech house.
Camilo Serna followed Andres Gil for a set full of funky, groove based techno for which he is well-known. Camilo is a very well-known techno DJ from the city.
We first met in England, where we played together. We have also since played at several events together here in Colombia.
Camilo had the after party in full swing as the sun started to warm the city and as I began to feel like a vampire.
It was around 8:30am when my bed began calling me, I hailed a taxi and was quickly whisked back home where I collapsed into my bed, still with the pulsating but satisfying four to the floor beats ringing in my ears.
I don’t know what time the after party finished, maybe until midday, maybe all day or maybe it’s still going…..
For your weekly techno fix, visit Mansion Club where Intelligent Division has its residency and where a whole array of quality techno and house events go down every Friday and Saturday.
Intelligent Division members – Deraout, Juli Monslave, Richie, Theo and Camilo Serna.
I will be playing at Mansion Club (Carrera 36 #10-37, Poblado) this Saturday September 13th alongside Puresque from Berlin.
Puresque regularly play at the legendary Tresor in Berlin and also release music on its label.
Just arrived in Medellin. Definetly happy with this post. Thanks Nick! 🙂
You’re welcome Floor!
Thanks for sharing this Nick! I’m planning to come to Medellin in January next year and was hoping to find the underground music scene there! Looking foward to it.
Oh I forgot to ask, Is there a DnB/Jungle scene at all happening in Medellin?
While techno and house seem to have a scene here, and the city attracts big international DJs (for trance too), I’ve yet to see the same for DnB/Jungle, which I use to be into in my early 20s.
If we uncover anything worth sharing, I’ll make sure we get an article written on it.
Much appreciated David, cheers. DnB definitely had it’s prime awhile ago but it still thrives in the underground music scene I guess depening where you live and if the locals are into it, so hopefully it will be discovered there or introduced to that matter 🙂 Also, How’s Colombia on the festival scene? I don’t mean mainstream EDM festivals but more similar to Buring Man/Rainbow Serpent/Boom style (just naming a few) I guess I can say.
There’s normally a big festival annually in Cartagena around the start of the New Year. For 2015, looks like it’s Summerland from January 3-5.
A big one-day show coming up this Saturday, Oct 4 in Medellin is called Breakfast, and happening in a park in the northern part of the city (first time I’ve seen it used for a big concert in this way).
I have yet to come across a DnB/Jungle scene scene. Will update you if I come across anything.
I was talking to the guys from Intelligent Division today and asked them. Apparently there’s a bigger DnB scene in Bogotá, but it’s not the same kinda crowd you’d find in the US or say London. They described the fans as more “punk” if I heard correctly.
Apparently not much of a scene in Medellín, maybe some house parties, but I’ve never heard it at a club.
great forum, nice to read about the scene in Medellin. I’m in Medellin for a week and wondering if any nice parties happening this week(end).
Saw Gregor Tresher last weekend in Baum, Bogota and was great ! Was wondering if there are any house / techno parties in Medellin ? Or which are the best clubs to go to ? Mansion ? Any other ?
Thanks for your help !
Bart from Belgium
Enjoyed your write up.I respect techno but was hoping to find a place that plays more soulful house. Is there such a place here in Medellín?
Any recomendations for rave clubs or raves happening jan 14-17 weekend 2015 in medellin. Could you point me in the right direction . Thanks for your time
Hey Kev, I don’t know about Medellin but there’s a huge annual EDM festival in Cartagena the first week of every January.
I think you’re less likely to find a big festival in Medellin in January because December is the biggest party month of the year (along with August during the Flower Festival).
Seems like there is a great underground scene there in Medellin! Great article.
Mis amigos y yo will be visiting in early January right after the New Years. We are avid techno tourists and excited to see what your city has to offer. Unfortunately we will only be in town on a Monday and Tuesday.
Are there any techno clubs open these nights or underground events occuring (Jan 3/4/5)? I am sure they are normally ‘dead’ nights but we have our fingers crossed things may be different during the party time for año Nuevo!
Gracias por au ayuda!
Hi there Dave
Big thanks for your article.
I’m a Techno fan myself and sometimes struggle to find clubs abroad satisfying some high standards i have. I really like the underground scene but unfortunately haven’t found something comparably good as in Europe. In May it’s gonna be the first time for me to visit South America. I have very high expectations 🙂 I know it’s still some time to pass but do you have any recommendations partywise or can i approach you right before i leave to colombia? I’m 27 (female) and dislike poshy or EDM places.
I’ve already checked resident advisor, since this has been (mostly) a good reference for clubs and parties i like, nevertheless, even though i’ve heard Medellin has quite an underground scene, i don’t happen to find many clubbing tips.
According to your article you seem like-minded in terms of music and partying, thus i hope you have some tips for me (maybe also for Bogota or the caribean side?)
This blog is absolute gold, and I say that after having only read your post about Audio Injection playing some time ago in Medellín. Like you, I’ve traveled to other countries specifically for electronic music and partying (Amsterdam, Berlin, Torino, Lisbon, Detroit, New York) and like the previous girl who posted, we have similar taste in music. So having said all this, I’m planning to visit Colombia relatively soon-as early as two weeks from now, or as far off as mid-May. I heartily implore you to reach out to me, I would love to make your acquaintance and spend some time exploring Medellín with you when I arrive. In the meantime I’m going to read through your blog cover to cover and drop a little $upport so you can continue doing what I’m so very grateful you are doing. 🙂
Hey there! Read this blog, and your comment! I am from Los Angeles, where they play so much mainstream it hurts my soul LOL. I was living abroad in Australia and traveled a bit of Europe and I absolutely fell in love with the music scene, so much that I decided to start pursuing my passions and a life in the industry. I am fresh to the game and I know I need to get out of LA again to be in the scene. I and want to travel to tech house genre heavy cities. My friend recommended Medellin and it caught my attention. Would love to pick your brain and hear about your thoughts on the travels you have done!
Talk soon! 🙂
looking for a good techno / trance night on 15th or 16th February in Medellin, any suggestions?
Anyone know of a commercial/EDM club in Medellin? Been looking forever and can’t seem to find anything. Appreciate any suggestions.
Here’s my FB if you want to hit me up there:
Need help, this post looks a little old. I’m currently in Medellin and I’m looking for the best deep house spot in town
Nick, are there any clubs throwing parties sunday/monday/tuesdays? Any help is appreciated.
heyyy have a lot of questions about what Medellin is like now going into 2020 for the techno house scene. Great post! I can’t agree with you more about maistream music. being born and raised in LA movie to Australia 2 years ago + traveling through Europe has spoiled me with music.. I just started learning the ropes DJ and will post up in a city where tech house is bumping.. hope Medillin is still thriving in this way.
Talk soon 🙂