"El Nico," runs Clandestino, a monthly DJ night at Crescent Ballroom that specializes in "tropical bass," the umbrella term for the broad genre of music that includes cumbia, moombahton, and other modern amalgamations of various types of Latino music. But Paredes and his partners in crime at Clandestino -- including DJ Melo, DJ Tranzo, DJ Musa, and M. Rocka -- just DJ. The live music component of Clandestino -- that is, bands playing original music in the tropical bass family -- so far has consisted of bands from outside the Valley of the Sun, many from Tucson.
"It has to do with everything [Phoenix] is . . . with the politics, with Arpaio, everything else," Paredes says. "It just keeps the Latino culture down. Tucson has been a city that has embraced Latino culture. People here try to fight Latino culture."
A quick survey of bands to the south seems to confirm Paredes' assertion. Whereas Tucson boasts the phenomenal Latin big band Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta, smooth cumbia rockers Chicha Dust, and Tejano-influenced Calexico, there just doesn't seem to be much demand for alternative Latino music in Phoenix. At least, there's no audience that has yet to jell and unify around the music. And that's where Clandestino comes in.
So, yes, there's deeper motive behind Paredes' dance night. But the number one reason is simply to throw a good party.
Clandestino started in November, and since then, the once-a-month event has pulled upward of 300 people a night. Cumbia has an interesting role in Latino culture, as Paredes tells it: The genre has a reputation as dad rock for the children of Mexican immigrants.
"Growing up, I didn't listen to merengue, salsa, cumbia," Paredes says. "[Modern interest in cumbia] is a renaissance of what your parents used to listen to."
Paredes' interest in exploring tropical bass began after he met Jorge Ignacio Torres (who now owns Palabra Hair Art Collective) at a concert. They didn't get along at first, Paredes says, but they s