When it comes to electronic music, there are so many crews constantly emerging in NYC and LA, that it can be easy to overlook the city that started it all – The Second City. In Chicago, even though it’s freezing over, things are starting to heat up in the underground much like they did when house music first hit their clubs in the 80s.
A fresh and exciting music collective that goes by the name of Them Flavors has burst onto the scene, operating as both a label and event promoter. Founded just over a year ago, they’ve made a splash by bringing in a wide range of top underground talent to Chicago on a weekly basis, such as Kingdom, Evian Christ, Princess Nokia, Kill Frenzy, MikeQ, Nguzunguzu, and many, many more. Their most recent booking was Mixpak’s very own Dubbel Dutch, a favorite of ours, who truly kicked off their 2015 with a bang. His commanding set had the whole club bouncing along to a hammering mix of futuristic dancehall, grime, club and some adventurous reggaeton. This made it a special and rare night for Them Flavors, although this year, it appears we’ll be hearing a bit more of this twisted tropical sound from them.
Although Them Flavors has thrived off bringing stellar grime and club artists to their signature “Them Flavors Thursdays” night at Primary Nightclub, in 2015 they aim to switch things up a bit.
“We are looking to diversify the types of shows we put on by adding more acts that mix live music with electronic” says Anthony Argentine, label manager and music director of the collective, “We also want to experiment with new venues and underground spaces so that we can create and place people in a atmosphere created specifically for each event”. They started to branch out late last year by putting together a charity concert with Multi Kulti, a community organization and event venue that pushes all sorts of world music from Cumbia, to Reggae to Afrobeat. Argentine praised the openness and warmness of their space, declaring “I am really excited to get live world music groups mixed in with electronic artists we bring to give solid options for the listener on two separate dance floors.”
In a city like Chicago, where there’s a heavy Puerto Rican and Mexican population, it’s impossible to avoid the sounds of reggaeton or salsa – even at the club. However when it comes to Latin electronic music, what Argentine prefers is the darker, deeper stuff that eschews the played-out epic drops of EDM for something a that sounds a little more authentic. “Finding scenes like this is hard as the producers come from not just Latin America, but anywhere from Eastern Europe to Borneo to Philadelphia,” Argentine says. “It’s truly a global scene because Latin music, like most music, finds its influences in Africa – it’s infectious and is a part of us from birth.”
He’s been on the hunt for music that fits this mold for upcoming releases, but in the meantime Them Flavors is gearing up for the unveiling of Montreal-based Foba’s Drop Down EP, featuring remixes from Aztek, Krueger and Equator Club, which is due in late January.
Like this project and many future bookings will show, they’re not going to abandon the blasting club sound that made them legends at Primary. After all, the team-up of the two was praised by recent visitor Dubbel Dutch, who remarked, “it’s a great match – this club has an amazing vibe that you can’t really find anywhere else in Chicago.” Now Them Flavors will develop more unique spaces to add to their repertoire, where we’ll be hearing some more diverse sounds.
As the crew with it’s finger on the pulse of Chicago’s underground, we’re excited to see what comes from Them Flavors this year as they continue to globalize the dance floor.