Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on November 2011

Courtesy of Womb

It has been an eventful few years for Luciano, the Chilean-Swiss DJ who will headline this year’s Womb Adventure, representing his label Cadenza’s Vagabundos party based on Spanish clubbing isle Ibiza. After gaining attention as an ambassador for both minimal techno and the Latin American sound along with Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano’s career has taken off. But holding his events at storied venue Pacha has caused challenges for the DJ.

The Vagabundos party takes place throughout Ibiza’s summer season at a club more commonly associated with cheesier acts such as the Swedish House Mafia and David Guetta. When launched in 2009, many eyebrows were raised and accusations leveled that Cadenza had sold out.

Luciano, however, defends his decision to stage the party at a place more associated with handbags and dodgy dance-pop. “I’m very conscious of my critics, but the way we decide things… I’ve always tried to please the people I work with and myself,” Luciano says. “I’ve played the best clubs in the world and it was not an easy decision (to go to Pacha). I have 20 people behind me and they believe in me strongly, and if I have a chance to make things happen, I have to take it.”

Luciano feels the venue was the right choice for the event, giving his label a chance to experiment and develop a different kind of party on the island.

“We were searching for a night. We had offers from Space, Amnesia, from all the clubs really,” he says. “But our friends were performing in these other places, and we did not want to get into other people’s business. Eventually, we decided Pacha was right for us, first of all because it is completely different to my background. But also Pacha has a long history, it was one of the biggest clubs in Ibiza since the seventies. When we went there, we wanted to try and revive that feeling, which had perhaps gone a little in the last 10 years. The energy there felt like the right thing in the end.”

Cadenza’s party, which will be emulated at the Tokyo event, is perhaps a lesson in modern dance music promotion: The event grabbed attention due to the venue, and has since provided plenty of attractions other than music. “This year we really pushed the visual side of the club with old-style circus acts—freak shows—and mixed that with our event. Basically, that’s what it is, a kind of crazy lifestyle,” Luciano says. Adding to the novelty, Cadenza encourages people to attend the party in fancy dress.

Sound cheesy? It very likely could be a bit much for some. However, it gets the customers through the doors, and few doubt Luciano and Cadenza’s ability to deliver quality music. Evolving from the minimal sound of a decade ago, Cadenza is now associated with rhythmic techno that combines samples of live percussion and jazz with more synthetic beats and effects, taking in influences from Detroit, Chicago and Latin America. The sound was recently showcased in a live Essential Mix [http://soundcloud.com/r_co/luciano-essential-mix-01-10] from Pacha.

Speaking of the seeming disconnect between the more commercial aspects of the party and the underground sounds that can be heard there, Luciano says: “I always saw myself as a producer, but of course you cannot make a living out of that. You have to go and perform at concerts as a DJ.”

It is clear, however, that Luciano does get a reward from his live performances. “Techno music opens so many different doors. In the past with, say, reggae and pop, the language was important, but there are generally no words in techno. What is really interesting is seeing people from different places and different cultures responding to the same songs, getting goosebumps to the same things.”

So what’s different about playing in Japan? “You see people sleeping on the speakers. You never see this anywhere else.”

Makuhari Messe, Nov 26 (listing).