DJ Python and Nick León Will Deliver Latin-Laced Beats at Club Space's Terrace

DJ Python (left) and Nick León
DJ Python (left) and Nick León Photo by Lauren Morell
Dembow riddim, cumbia, and reggaetón at Club Space? It's unusual for Club Space to depart from the ironclad techno or festive tech-house for too long. But Miami's ecosystem of young producers who aim to blend electronic music with sounds from Central and South America and the Caribbean see the need to let in some fresh air from the south.

On Saturday, August 27, Space's terrace will see the debuts of DJ/producer Nicola Cruz, DJ Plead, and Bitter Babe, alongside a back-to-back set from DJ Python (AKA Brian Piñeyro) and Nick León.

"We just don't want to play the same techno sound for hours; we want to play something different," León tells New Times. "Blending dembow and house and all these different kinds of things. I think now, more than before, producers from Miami are starting to branch out into their DJ sets."

Of course, there will still be plenty of familiar techno, house, and speedy overtures. However, both Leòn and Piñeyro hope to loop in musical elements hailing from the Caribbean and South America, delivering a sound that hits differently than the usual four-on-the-floor beat.

"I think making music comes with dance-music culture," Piñeyro adds. "Making the music is one thing, but the other part is presenting the music to the crowd. I think it's like the music is a mixture: If you do it in one song, that's cool, but to make stuff to be played for hours is different."

Piñeyro, a Miami native born to Ecuadorian parents, coined the term "deep reggaetón," a percussion-heavy, slower/downtempo sound that incorporates the dembow riddim percussion.

As Collin Smith of Bandcamp Daily put it, dembow riddim is a "four-on-the-floor percussive loop with a 3+3+2 cross-rhythm that places a slight syncopation on every other half-beat" that originated from Afro-Caribbean rhythms and evolved into dancehall with Dominican artists still leading the charge today.

To the layperson, it's the boom-ch-boom-chick that can be heard from Puerto Rico to Syria.
DJ Python's music is often slow and liquid, streaming from an unidentifiable tap. Look no further than his 2020 album, Mas Amable, a seamless record that explores ambient textures, meditative chants, and heady percussion that stomp and scratch via the samples of the güiro, a percussive Latin instrument.

His upcoming release with the electro-pop producer Ela Minus, (AKA Corazón), is set for release on September 16 off Domino Record imprint Smugglers Way.

The album's single, "Pájaros en Verano," is a luscious landscape fortified with long-drawn hisses of a hi-hat, bubbly synth lines, and percussion-focused rhythm alongside Ela Minus's lulling vocals. "All the days that didn't happen/all the nights that didn't exist."

On the other side of the spectrum is León, a DJ/producer and label boss who plays fast and feverish, usually accompanied by his longtime production partner Bitter Babe. It's a good warehouse sound but mixed in are pan-Latin and Caribbean beats.

As Pitchfork's Philip Sherburne noted of León's latest release, "Xtasis," released via Colombian label TraTraTrax, "the Miami electronic musician shifts his attention to sleek, pan-Latin club hybrids that sail over choppy beats like cigarette boats slapping whitecaps in Biscayne Bay."

Naturally, León and Piñeyro connected via the internet over their love of music.

"We met through music: the ultimate bringer-together of people," León says. "We met at the Ricardo Villalobos show at Club Space in early 2021."

The pair performed at Floyd last December, where they spun back-to-back. In May, León and Piñeyro debuted their party series Suero at the 11th Street venue. Named after a Mexican electrolyte water, Suero has no fixed dates. Instead, the shows will be sporadic whenever the appropriate headliner is available or when schedules align.

"It's having a spot to play electronic-whatever, just our version of dance music and mix in dembow and classic hits. We're still feeling it out," León explains.

Acting as one, Piñeyro and León meet somewhere in the middle. Elements of dub, downtempo, and industrial are all fair game.

"You can like Bad Bunny, and that's okay too," León says. "There's a party there if you want it, and I feel like Miami doesn't have both. Maybe some parties do one or the other, but rarely is there one where it's both."

Nicola Cruz. with Nick León, DJ Python, Bitter Babe, DJ Plead, and Miguelle & Tons. 11 p.m. Saturday, August 27, at Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; Tickets cost $20.40 to $26.46 via
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Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert