One Former Miamian Strikes Party Gold on the West Coast

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Since leaving his hometown of Miami, Segundo Casalis has built himself a proper home in San Francisco, where he's better known as the architect of Candy Rain, a bimonthly trap and R&B party.

In recent months, Segundo has taken his show on the road to his new environs in Los Angeles. But though he's fully settled into his life on the West Coast, Casalis has never lost sight of his Miami roots, to which he credits for his start in the music world.

On a recent trip, we stopped by to experience our very first Candy Rain, which boasts an impressive number of highly curated Instagram grids under one roof.

Having already DJed for an hour, Casalis hands the controls over and walks up two flights of stairs, where a group of confused women watch as he approaches the table next to them.

He takes a seat, the red hues from the strobe lights providing just enough light to see a few feet in each direction. Thumping 808 drums can be felt throughout the venue, traveling from the DJ booth to the front door. The place is packed to the brim, the closest thing to a “sellout crowd” one can expect at a dive bar in one of San Francisco’s seediest neighborhoods.

Casalis is a long way from the homes of his youth — both Caracas and South Florida. He spent his childhood in his native Venezuela, but political turmoil forced his family to leave behind a comfortable life. Starting over in Miami, Casalis initially found the transition difficult, but it eventually helped catapult him into a career in music.

“I migrated from Venezuela when I was nine," he says. "In Venezuela, I grew up pretty middle-class, but circumstances forced my family to leave.”

He says that last bit with gravitas, as if still fresh in his mind — even in the middle of one of San Francisco’s biggest parties. His first years in Miami were a culture shock.

“When I got to Miami, it was a different story. I went to Booker T. Washington High School and in Miami, having a lot of my dad’s more European features in a rough neighborhood, I had certain privileges. I was treated differently than others in my neighborhood even though I identify a lot with my mom, who’s half-Black, half Venezuelan.”

He pauses before exhaling, relaxing slightly.

“If the cops came, the homies made sure I was the one talking to the police.”

Speaking with the urgency of someone very much still on the job, Segundo explains the blueprint that led to Candy Rain.

“Back in Miami, I had access to DJ equipment and I started DJing for punk bands and I think Candy Rain is DIY in that way — like a punk show that plays rap, or a rap party with a punk attitude.”

He makes sure to distance himself from the “trap party” label often placed upon Candy Rain.

“We knew we didn’t want to be a ‘trap’ party — that sounds super corny. We hate all the aggro shit and so – the flyers, the music – they’re like inside jokes that we let everyone else in on.”

Segundo finishes his thought and walks back downstairs. The night is a blur until right after last call, when a girl asks Segundo to play a song from the Weeknd.

He cuts off the music. Perhaps inspired by the memories of Venezuela dredged up by our conversation, or maybe thinking about the years he spent in Miami merging punk leanings with his love for hip-hop, Segundo grabs the mic.

“I know you wanna hear 'The Hills,' but I’m Latin American as fuck!” 

Aventura’s “Obsesion” comes on and Segundo flashes a wide grin.

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