In 2010, Racioppi joined Carlos Lopez for his DJing gigs at Havana Club and Koo Koo Room. Then Lopez, who spins as DJ Los, landed on an opportunity to host his own monthly, tech house party at The Sound Table's Space2.
"[Lopez] started in mainstream arenas like Opera," Racioppi said. "Me, I was always looking at these tech, house, and underground tracks. I was trying put that on him, and he was trying to put his music on me. Eventually, we would meet halfway."
As proven each month at Space2, they've struck a similar compromise, and so far, their cooperation has paid off. On Saturday, December 15, Lopez and Racioppi celebrate the one-year anniversary of Veneno, or "venom" in Spanish. Percussive rhythms meet remixes by producers from around the world, while tribal and tropical mash-ups hearken back to both DJs' Colombian roots.
DJ Los and Racioppi chatted with CL about how a Veneno party goes down, their greater aims for the monthly party at Space 2, and how they want to shape Atlanta nightlife.
On how Veneno fits into the larger context of Atlanta nightlife:
Racioppi: We were talking about it the other day, when everything revolved around downtown and Midtown. Now, everything is more around this area, which is East Atlanta, Edgewood. The Sound Table has brought in so many DJs that you never think would be in Atlanta. Most DJs don't come to Atlanta, because they think there's no scene. But now, the other day Shaun Reeves from Visionquest, who's huge and worldwide, was here. I guess we're involved in the right scene.
Los: DJ Chus is one of my favorite DJs out there right now. I opened for him last year when he came to Havana, and we were having a conversation about the scene here in Atlanta. He said that he never heard anything about Atlanta, but when you go to where he's from, Madrid, there's a scene and everybody knows there's a scene in Madrid. Somebody took the initiative and went the extra mile to go kind of against the grain and build a brand new scene that hasn't been around before. So he was telling me, just try to become the first one to bring the scene to the city. There's already a scene, but let's have everyone start branding it, so that anyone from outside the city will take that and know there's a scene from Atlanta. And when they come back, they already know what to expect.
On the importance of incorporating Latin sounds into their sets:
Los: It just comes naturally, I think.
Racioppi: Of everyone we were involved with, a lot of people were Colombian, Spanish, Venezuelan. That's a part of [Veneno] too, because we wanted to make sure we provide what they like. If it's something new, it's with this thing you like, so then you can like it even more. Adding that influence caught everyone's attention fast.
Was there something for them before?
Racioppi: I don't think so. For the most part when we would go out, there were these really big DJs that were Dutch, like Fedde Le Grand. We would go and check them out, because that was pretty much the house scene back then.
Los: There was always, at the same time, a very underground scene. There was a big gap that was there, where there really wasn't something in between that big room sound and the deep, dark underground. There was that very gap in between us. So that's what we're trying to do - we're going to get into the middle, for that underground feel but at the same time bring that high energy, that upbeat stuff that most people like, and bring a whole new sound. That's why when you asked whether there was really anything like that before, [I said] I don't think so.
How a set goes:
Racioppi: We just pretty much wing it the whole night, every month. If I hear him coming to a little more darker, heavier sound, I know he's introducing me to my sound, so I bring that. And if I'm about to go off ... I introduce him and bring him back to the mix. It's literally just like that for four, five hours, and at the end of the night it's always like, "Phew" - a moment of relief. We've had tough nights where we don't meet because I'll be in my mindset, I want to play with this kind of sound, and it feels like we're taking the party up and down. The past three four months we've been right here, where it's just ...
Los: He'll play a song, and then it's like, "Ah! I got one!" Sometimes we'll play a song at the same time; he's got a beat going and I'll think of an acappella or a vocal sample, so we can be up there for two three songs at the same time. That's another thing: when one of us is playing our songs, the other will be up there manipulating effects, looking for the next track or hyping up the crowd, The fact that our hands are crisscrossing over and above the mix - that's a fun experience every month.
Veneno's one-year anniversary at Space 2 is Sat., Dec. 15. $10, 10 p.m. 486 Edgewood Boulevard.
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