Beatport Next: The Rave-Ready Concoctions of Confidential Recipe
Beatport Next: The Rave-Ready Concoctions of Confidential RecipeAugust 31, 2023
Hailing from the coastal city of Maracaibo in Venezuela, DJ/producer and member of the Beatport Next Class of 2023 Carlos Siu (aka Confidential Recipe) has been an avid student of South America’s underground club scene since the mid-2000s and has since developed into one of the continent’s most exciting dance music trailblazers. The artist’s growing clubland prowess recently brought him to Europe for his first-ever tour abroad, landing him new legions of fans and growing support from heavyweight DJs across the globe.
Originally DJing and producing under the moniker of DJ Cuyi (and later under the name Sr. Siu), Carlos eventually made the decision to leave his home of Maracaibo to escape the economic and political strife that descended on Venezuela back in 2018 and found himself set up in his new adopted city of Bogota, Columbia. It was here that he reinvented himself as an artist under his new alias, dreaming up a new concoction of dance floor elements with his analog gear in tow. Biting electro, hypnotic techno, mesmerizing minimal, driving house, audacious broken beats… if the electronic music scene was a spice rack, Carlos has pinched, mixed, and taste-tested dozens of styles and sounds over the years to cook up this finely-tuned Confidential Recipe. And if all these sonic ingredients have one thing in common, it is that they are deliciously and undeniably RAW.
Since the release of his debut album under his Confidential Recipe moniker, Passenger, Carlos has picked up releases on labels like Get Physical, Sous Music, EI8HT, Suara, his own Kontra Imprint, and most notably, the Rekids sub-label RSPX — an imprint that has since become his home with the legendary Radio Slave taking a special interest in the artist’s tough-as-nails productions.
On the heels of his latest RSPX release, an extended seven-tracker titled Rave Generator EP, we caught up with Carlos to learn more about his musical origins, Latin America’s evolving underground landscape, the road to reinventing his sound, his battle with cancer, his next moves, and more.
Hey Carlos! Thanks for joining us. How has the summer of 2023 been treating you?
Hey! Thanks for the invitation. This summer has been sweet. I spent all of June in Europe with the best weather and now I’m back in chilly Bogota working on the next moves.
Tell us a bit more about your musical origins. What was your earliest and most influential dance floor memory while growing up in Venezuela?
Everything started around 2006 when I started to attend to rave parties and such; my first contacts with the underground scene where acid, techno, and drum & bass parties in Maracaibo where I saw DJs like Chris Liberator, Dave The Drummer or DJ Marky playing banging stuff and that definitely left a mark on me.
When did you first dive into DJing and production? Who are some of the electronic acts that really helped stoke your passion for the rave?
I started DJing in 2008 playing techno and hard techno, called ‘schranz’ in that era – influenced by the music of artists like Frank Kvitta, Eric Sneo, Mark Broom, Ben Sims, and Chris Liebing, to name a few. I started to listen to house and techno in its purest forms around 2012 when the Detroit and Chicago sounds started to pop again in the scene in Maracaibo, and I started to produce music the same year.
When did you decide to move from Maracaibo to Bogota? How would you describe Columbia’s current clubland vibe and landscape?
I decided to move to Bogota in 2018 because my country was going through a serious economic and political crisis that basically pushed everyone I knew to emigrate.
Moving to Bogota was one of the toughest decisions in my life, but it was for sure the best one I have taken. The city and its people have welcomed me as one of their own, and Colombia’s scene is for sure one the fastest growing and most established in Latin America, welcoming underground and commercial international acts every weekend. It is also the home to many amazing local acts of every electronic genre.
You’ve performed under various monikers before landing on your Confidential Recipe alias. Can you talk us through your journey up until the release of your debut album, Passenger?
I started my music path with the harder sounds of techno; I exclusively played schranz for about six years with my first moniker, Dj Cuyi. I deeply cherish this time in my life because it gave me the chance to learn how to play professionally. I started touring all around Venezuela, met the most amazing people that now I can call my friends, and also gave me my first European tour.
In 2012, I started to open my mind to different styles, and I found Robert Hood’s Minimal Nation EP digging in the web, and that definitely meant a point of inflection in my music taste. I developed a love for House and Minimal music the same year listening to local legends from my city like DJ Pippo, Elektor, Ugly Nelzon, and Mickey Rat. That really opened my eyes to a lot of new feelings and also made me create my second moniker ‘Sr. Siu’, a project I used to play house, UK garage and bass music.
Later that year, I was getting Ableton lessons from Tommy Leb, a local reggae and ska producer, and personal hero of Maracaibo, and he taught me the ways around the daw and basic musical theory that really helped me to start.
My first attempts at making music were hard techno tracks, and not long after, I started to produce hypnotic techno as a duo called ‘Brodaz, also remembered as Consumer Data, with one of my all-time besties Julio, now known in the scene as Dagga.
With this project, we got ourselves our first-ever releases and started playing Live techno with analog gear in events in Maracaibo.
In 2017, the electronic music scene in Maracaibo completely died, and I started thinking about leaving the country for a better future.
I arrived in Bogota in 2018, and I found myself in the middle of this huge scene where I met so many amazing local and international acts that really motivated me to push myself even more.
In late 2019 I reinvented my vision and artist persona, creating a new project that wasn’t related to any genre and could let me express my love for electronic music in general. That was when Confidential Recipe was born.
CR started jamming in the studio making broken beats, electro, jackin’ house and techno. In 2020, I released my debut solo album, Passenger.
You’re a cancer survivor. Can you tell us more about your battle with this disease and how this experience affected your personal and artistic outlook on life?
I was diagnosed in 2020, during the pandemic, and it was a very scary and cathartic moment in my life. And I’m really grateful it was for a very short period. I was really lucky to be treated on time by very professional medical staff that, long story short, saved my life, and to have the support of my family and friends at this moment meant the world to me.
I’m sure my way of seeing life changed the moment I realized I was at risk of losing it, and the thought of life being limited made me understand that we only have one ride, and we have to be true to ourselves and our craft. I think you can find this better explained in my album Passenger, as it was finished at this time and is filled with ten tracks in different styles that I love and represent my passion for this.
How did you first get linked up with Radio Slave and his pivotal Rekids imprint?
Matt, Radio Slave, found my music through one friend in Berlin and he contacted me to release my first EP on Rekids techno sub-label RSPX, that later resulted on joining as an official artist of the label that has become the home of my music, i’m really grateful and proud of being part of such an amazing and mythical label and to work with Radio Slave, one of my favorite producers of all time, that has supported me and have given me the freedom to express myself in any style I love has been a total full circle moment.
Tell us about your latest Rave Generator EP on RSPX.
When I create music, I am always thinking on the dance floor.
All the Rave Generator EP tracks have been my war weapons for over a year now and is also my tribute to the early rave days sound in my style.
It is also my most extended techno release till now, and you can find that CR style in every track of the EP, even though all tracks are different on their own.
I’m very happy about the feedback I got from the crowd in the last months with this EP and I really appreciate the feedback and support I have gotten from many influential artists I follow and from the crowds all over the world now that it is released.
How does being a part of the Beatport Next Class of 2023 feel?
It feels great to be supported and given a light from such an outstanding brand from the industry, and I will always be grateful for this opportunity.
What else can we expect to hear and see from Confidential Recipe later this year?
I have a couple of really exciting remixes coming before the year ends for some artists I look up to, and I’m also dropping a new EP very soon.
I’m preparing new cuts and myself for my next European tour in November/December 2023, so stay tuned because the first confirmed dates for the tour are simply epic!