Cultura Dura is a Remezcla and Mike’s HARDER content and event series highlighting emerging Latin urban culture. We’ll be exploring scenes that haven’t really gotten any coverage anywhere else – from block parties and street art to underground sports and raw, young artists making movements pa’ la calle.
Meet Boom Full Meke–a.k.a. the neo-picotero duo of Monosóniko Champetúo and Bclip–a pair of relatively recent transplants to the capital from their shared home city of Barranquilla, where they were raised as witnesses to and participants in the Caribbean picó soundsystem culture. Champeta, the style of music associated with picó soundsystems, was for years marginalized as a “low-class” culture, but has more recently found new levels of visibility thanks to migration from the coast to urban centers, as well as remix culture that draws heavily from the rich sample bank.
For a primer on picó culture, check out the ¡Sabroso! short documentary that was released recently, which connects the dots between the Caribbean coast’s soundsystem culture with the new school of artists drawing from techno, dub, UK bass, and more, creating a collision with regional sounds like cumbia, bullurengue, and guarachero.
This is exactly where Boom Full Meke have found their place: as innovators of the sound register they’ve grown up with, while they themselves simultaneously encounter and mutate influences in their new homes. This sincerity has gained themselves an instant following, both for their nuanced production skills and also for their raucous live performances, which recently brought to the main stage at Barranquilla’s Berbetronik and Bogotá’s Más Bass parties.
Get to know Boom Full Meke here, and don’t miss out on their exclusive #CulturaDura mixtape.
What’s the story behind how you started working together?
We were both looking for a collaborator without having yet met each other, knowing that one of us wasn’t complete without the other. We’re sons of the same city, Barranquilla, a melting pot of some of the best sounds on the planet. We have similar feelings about music in common– we’re both relating to our background in picó culture and the necessity of evolving it.
In our case, Bclip brings skills to the table as a producer, live sampler, and emcee knowing the structural arts of champeta, and then there’s Monosoniko, born into the picó culture, and also an emcee, and master sampler of champeta’s signature perreo catalog.
“We’re practitioners of champeta culture, we have our own language and lingo.”
How would you describe your sound?
We call it neo-perreo picotero, something we’ve come to label as MEKE, because where we’re from it means the hard hits of a beat– it’s Colombia’s own style of electronic music, created with bass elements, with the influence we were born into. It’s a genre of music that has its origin in the effervescent live show of the picó, that combines world music loops, with live percussion using sample keyboards like the Casio SK5 or the Yamaha DD14, combined with live emceeing and improvisational lyrics that have been recycled over 35 years.
We’re this, but also looking to the future of global music, as something that in its essence is mutating, making itself cybernetic, emerging from the barrios to find other likeminded crews, knowing that we haven’t been alone.
What does it mean to be a champetero urbano?
We’re sponges in the way we look for influences– we’re practitioners of champeta culture, we have our own language and lingo, our own specific dance, our own music, a form of dressing, or walking, of interpreting the world. We invented a culture, not just related to the soundsystem aspect, but rather a particular way of living.
How would you describe Bogotá’s nightlife scene?
Open, receptive, multicultural. It’s all due to the nature of living in the capital city as opposed to the coast, which has given birth to an opposite pole of culture for us. It’s keeping in mind that Colombia is unique, in that it’s a country with various countries within it. Bogotá is rapid, chaotic, dark, with high-voltage parties–and that’s what’s inspiring us right now.
“Bogotá is rapid, chaotic, dark, with high-voltage parties–and that’s what’s inspiring us right now.”
Can you tell us a bit about the mixtape you recorded for Cultura Dura?
It’s an amalgamation of our influences– the strong global sound that has its roots in something local, along with some selections that we’re eager to share, and clips of three of our unreleased tracks.
What’s up for 2015?
We’re looking forward to releasing our EP, and finding a bass label to call home. We hope that people really feel the MEKE vibe, and we want to find ourselves working with other artists who understand it around the world. We’re hoping to bring new levels of visibility to the contribution that Colombia’s Caribbean culture has made to bass culture worldwide, to soundsystem culture, and to electronic music.