The Robin Hood of Dance Music: How Discos Pegaos Helped Democratize the Electronic Scene in Chile
Chile has a tumultuous history that has left a heavy mark on the country's cultural scene, but there are those trying to create new memories in the diverse South American country.This article originally appeared on Bandcamp
During the mid 2000s, Chile began appearing on the radars of Latin American music bloggers and fans after a long period of radio silence, and soon established its reign as South America’s pop music factory.
Acts like Javiera Mena, Alex Anwandter and Gepe stormed onto the scene with a sound that unabashedly repurposed the most kitsch elements of disco, Eurohouse and early ‘90s techno and turned them into shiny, new gems that had a distinctly Chilean flare. These artists found value in music that the world had grown tired of and labeled trashy, and used these styles to break into the mainstream completely independent from the major label system that had crumbled years before.
Behind the scenes, a similar repurposing was happening in the independent electronic music circuit in an even more nuanced manner. Even though these artists shared bands, parties, venues and stages with Mena, Gepe, and many of the indie pop stars that are the best-known international representatives of Chile’s pop music renaissance, their journey into the public consciousness has been tougher. “In Chile, electronic music has been around for a long time, but the thing that I remember most from those early years is that it was all about extremes,” Mario Martínez, aka Motivado, says from Santiago, Chile’s capital.”There was a purist techno, house and minimal scene, and that was a very closed, upper class circle. There was a stigma that electronic music was for people with money, so the scene had an unsavory image. It wasn’t necessarily related to anything that was happening in the underground.”