MOOMBAHTON – A Primer – Part One
by Marcus K. Dowling
Introducing DC’s Dave Nada. Unaware? He’s the next big thing in underground EDM. Name checked as certifiably dope from as diverse a crowd as Rolling Stone Magazine, Diplo, punk rock heavyweight Johnny Siera of the Death Set, rising rapper Tabi Bonney, EDM kingpin Benny Benassi, and yes, our own Winston “Stone” Ford, he’s stumbled upon a magical sound: moombahton. Blending the finest elements of Dutch house, cumbia, reggaeton and embracing hip hop sampling techniques, it’s a winning combination that in just over nine months has ushered in a brand new era in underground dance music. I’ve been covering the sound fairly seriously at my project True Genius Requires Insanity, and have been asked to educate about its percussive, trance-like Latin excellence. Enjoy!
Are you familiar with the “Dirty Dutch” sound? I’m going to presume that Afrojack, DJ Chuckie and Sidney Samson are all new names to Couch Sessions readers. Well, if your EDM catalogue doesn’t go much further than knowing that David Guetta REALLY likes the Black Eyed Peas, and you have an affinity for the house inspired Baltimore club sound, here comes a quick education.
The Netherlands is a cultural melting pot. Most notably, as with drum and bass and dubstep in the UK, the second and third generation children of people from African nations are the most progressive minds in international dance music. Those children of those formerly sovreign to the Dutch have infiltrated their take on house music. DJ Chuckie’s house hit of 2009 “Moombah” featured heavy percussion, electronic blips and racing synths familiar to what is referred to as the “dirty Dutch” sound. Afrojack is a extraordinary Dutch house producer, and it is his percussive imprint as a ghost producer that informs Major Lazer’s crossover dance hit “Pon de Floor” He got his hands on “Moombah,” “turned up the bass,” switched in that “Pon de Floor” drumline, let those synths work their magic, and it was his remix that became an even larger hit.
Sidney Samson is another Dutch producer. His top hit is a bass heavy rumbler as well, “Riverside.” If you have any any way stepped near a big or small room dance floor in the last two years, you’ve likely heard the track’s familiar tough sounding refrain of “RIVERSIDE MOTHERFUCKER!” It’s an instant electro classic and features more of the same car alarm bleeps and hot synths.
DC’s Dave Nada is a rapidly rising DJ and producer with familial roots in Ecuador. With an unusual pedigree that starts as a teenage punk rocker, carries into being a college hip hop DJ at the University of Maryland, a post college stop in Baltimore where he was an indie dance and club music spinner/producer at the Taxlo dance party when it was considered by Spin Magazine as America’s best indie dance party, a residency at the hipster incubator party Crunk with Jesse Tittsworth in the DC suburb of Bethesda, MD, to the mainstream trending progressive house and electro duo Nadastrom with Matt Nordstrom, he has touched every genre of dance friendly music of the past thirty years.
On a random Monday afternoon, the DJ was performing in a College Park, MD basement at a “skip party” for his little cousin and a group of his rambunctious Latino teenage friends. Of course, Dave doesn’t have much in the way of the traditional Latino sounds they were expecting for said affair on his computer, so he instead opted for the tribal sounds of Dutch house as a substitute. Accidentally, his Serato record was set at a slower speed, and Sidney Samson’s “Riverside” played at a loping pace that closely resembled reggaeton. The kids at the party went crazy, so Nada began to scramble through his crates for as much Dutch house as he could find. Afrojack’s remix of “Moombah” played and killed in the room as well, and this is likely where the name for the new sound, “moombahton” originated.
Taking this curious creation home, Nada busily worked at crafting and honing “moombahton.” By March, he was prepared to release an EP with T & A Records for the initial “Moombahton” track, and at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he debuted the sound to rave reviews, and the race has been on ever since.
What has happened since wil be reviewed over the coming week here at The Couch Sessions. Globally Latin sounds are still as influential as ever. As well, what about in the US, where Latinos are the fastest growing minority with an increased voice in social culture? And let’s also not forget that reggaeton has a history all of it’s own too, and a sound so heavily steeped in it may have already been headed in a house direction as well.