This Saturday marks a milestone for L.A.’s global bass/latin dance scene as monthly party Tropi-Cali will celebrate its one-year anniversary. The shindig, founded by DJs Gozar, Kid Gusto and curator Vivek, returns from a brief summer hiatus to a new, temporary home in a warehouse in downtown L.A.
The party is a return to Tropi-Cali’s roots as the first party the trio hosted was at a warehouse. “We will probably keep doing underground / warehouse nights for the mean time, and should be settled into a new, steady eastside home real, real soon,” says Gozar of the move from the party’s former home at The Industry Cafe on the west side.
“The Industry was great as it really went along with the house-party vibe,” he says of the party’s former venue. “It was almost like a speak-easy back there by the time people walked through the restaurant and found the party. We loved doing it at a restaurant with great food too. But, we outgrew the spot.”
Tropi-Cali evolved from a house party he and Vivek hosted out of their former home in Mid-City in 2008. They, along with Kid Gusto, later formed a group called the Carmona Project. “We only did a couple shows together,” recalls Gozar, “but we had a lot of fun, and the lasting effect was the community that had grown around the house parties and shows.”
Gozar got his start as a DJ while studying at Santa Cruz where he was a host on KZCS’s Nocturnal Emissions program. “We were playing all kindsa crazy stuff,” he remembers. “Lee Scratch Perry followed by Coltrane followed by Public Enemy followed by Fela Kuti.” His style continued to grow over the years and, by the time he moved to Guatemala in 2007, he had already incorporated lots of latin sounds into his sets.
“While I was living down there,” he says, “lots of experimentation was happening in the scene, especially with Cumbia sounds…and all of that figured pretty large into my sets. I came back to the states with a heavily latin sound that continued to grow as I played out more and more in L.A.”
Partner-in-beats Kid Gusto began his DJ career in 1999 back when he still lived in Washington D.C. He was originally a drummer for various bands there including jazz cover bands, a ska/rock steady trio and a punk/hardcore group.
“The problem I was facing in a conventional band environment was that I couldn’t move fast enough,” he explains, “discovering and trying new rhythms while learning to play the Wurlitzer EP-200, a classical guitar, and a Fender Jaguar in a half-digital and half-analog setting. At the same time, I knew I had to shift gears and get familiar with records from around the globe, specifically in rare groove, so I started DJ’ing house parties around town with a group of friends named the Northwest Collective, which later branched off as FunkDC.”
Gusto immersed himself in the sounds of Sergio Mendez, the Sambalanco Trio, Jorge Ben, Baden Powell and others while hanging out with the Nayas crew. “The exposure I got from all the amazing musicians and artists from Central, South America, and Africa was so incredibly inspiring,” he says, “that I quickly fit in and began playing all types of styles from cumbia/ska/reggae as well as recording and performing a broad scope of music around town. Over a decade later I’m still fascinated by music from the Latin and African diaspora and am always searching for new sounds, inspirations and cool people to work with.”
The diversity of sounds can be heard not only in his and Gozar’s DJ sets but also in music provided by their monthly guests. Artists and DJs such as Premasoul, Bateria Blocura, Righteous Trash, Nohea Soul and others have shaken the walls and dance floor at Tropi-Cali with their diaspora of sounds.
Tropi-Cali’s anniversary party will feature guest DJ sets by Yosaku and Glenn Red, favorites of the global bass scene, and will bump into the early morning until 4 a.m.
For more details, check out the event here!