2C Perrea: “We wanted to throw a party for the girls”
This is Signing Off, our year-end series with the artists who defined 2023
Clubbers holding on to the shaky deck tables for balance while they split-twerk. No eyes, lips or baby hairs left unglossed. Bedazzled crop tops emblazoned with Good Girls Go to Heaven. Bad Girls Go to 2C Perrea. These are just a few of the glorious scenes you can expect to witness at 2C Perrea, the London-based Latinx queer party that is prioritising pleasure.
Formed in 2022 in reaction to an unwelcoming cultural landscape, the founding members of 2C Perrea created a much-needed space where their music, cultural roots and esencia could flourish. Since then, the club night has become both a community and hotspot for Latinx queer talent, spotlighting not only the heady, underground Latin sounds that have been making headlines in dance circles this year, but the artists behind their creation.
For us, by us – that’s the ethos 2C Perrea live by. And it’s a phrase more pertinent than ever in 2023, when the shift towards the independent, the authentic, the sincere has seen underrepresented scenes and communities rise to the top. According to two of 2C Perrea’s core members, Chilean multidisciplinary artist Josefa and Venezuelan DJ Tedesco, this is only the beginning.
Crack: What’s the 2C Perrea origin story?
Josefa: I moved to London from Chile in 2019 with one of my close friends, Fran, who is also part of the crew. We’d always listen to reggaeton, but never had anywhere to go dance it. Around this time, we met other now-members of the collective – Carlos and Yampi – and became a little group. One day, our friend was like, “Why don’t we throw a party?” There are no places in London where we can go and dance to this music while feeling comfortable. There are obviously other underground reggaeton collectives, but where was the one for the Latinx queers, specifically? We wanted to throw a party for the girls. Our first event was at a warehouse in Hackney Wick. It was pay-on-the-door.
Tedesco: We didn’t know any reggaeton DJs – I come from a techno background – so people were making it up on the spot, or had just started to learn to use CDJs.
J: We were creating a sense of community. By 11 p.m., the entire house was full. We had a massive queue of 100 people that went around the block twice, so obviously, the police came and shut us down, and the landlord claimed that everyone was getting evicted. No one got evicted, luckily. The day after, no one asked for money back. Instead, people just said, “When’s the next one?”
These kinds of queer spaces are few and far between in Latin America – a party like this could be a lifeline.
J: When we were growing up, it wasn’t openly discussed. Queer women hide. I remember my cousin’s best friend came out as a lesbian, and I remember how my mum or aunt would talk about her when she wasn’t in the room. They’d say, “Is she going to come with the girlfriend? How are we going to explain that to the kids?” When I moved to Europe, I started being more open about it. But then there was a different problem – where were my Latinx queers in the scene that we could relate to?
T: But there are still a lot of Latinx cis gays who are very close-minded, especially towards trans and non-binary people. They still make their comments about us. I moved out of South America because I knew exactly how I wanted to express myself. As soon as I landed in London, I said, “OK, long hair, miniskirt, earrings, tattoos.” Back home, I would beg my mum to drive me places. Even dressed ‘normal’ on the bus, I’d get weird looks – it’s just my presence.
J: I remember the first big party we had on Halloween last year. There were so many Latinx queers walking through the door in looks. I remember thinking, “Where did you all come from?!” It was amazing. Latinx queer people exist – and a lot of us don’t like techno!
T: Most queer scenes are very techno heavy. As a Latinx person, it can be very intimidating, but this is where you can meet other gay people.
“WE WANTED TO THROW A PARTY FOR THE GIRLS”
What’s the vibe like at a 2C Perrea party?
T: Sensual – not sexual. Free, booty-shaking.
J: Fun, sexy, authentic, respectful. People feel safe to be themselves and they’re not just there to be seen. Everyone’s sweating because they haven’t left the dancefloor. It’s loud and chaotic, because so is our music and culture.
Do a lot of non-Latinx people go to your parties, too? How do they cope on the dancefloor – be for real!
J: They jump a lot.
T: Like, shoulder movements.
J: But they love it! Who doesn’t love feeling sexy?
Maybe you’re unlocking something in them.
J: Or they trash talk reggaeton. A lot of people here have this white saviour complex, saying, “Oh, how can you listen to old reggaeton, it’s not feminist.” There’s loads of music that is still celebrated that isn’t feminist. This is my culture. You can’t talk down on my culture because you feel like I should be more woke. It’s a double standard, conveniently only applied to non-western art. No one has boycotted Under My Thumb.
J: I remember a friend was living in Hackney Wick and there were pubs that literally had signs that said ‘No Reggaeton’. When we’d hang out in her house, we would have to play reggaeton low because her flatmates would say, “Why are you listening to that shit music?” But Bad Bunny came along and then reggaeton was amazing.
How do you feel about the attention underground Latin music has been getting recently?
J: I love representation. When you see someone like SPFDJ playing it, you’re like, “Yes, the people want it.” But it’s important that the people that are making the music – the Latinx producers and DJs – are still part of the conversation and getting booked, too. Being Latinx is cute now, I get it, but pay us and book us.
Best musical discovery of 2023?
J: Low Income $quad – their EP LI$036 introduced me to so many new producers from LATAM.
What important lesson have you learned this year?
J: I’ve learned that what we do and how we do it has an impact on the community we represent, which has been challenging to navigate at times. There are expectations placed on us now.
What are your aspirations beyond 2023?
T: To keep experimenting with music. Why not mix this Latin tech with some acid? It’s so important to have a space to do this in, where you don’t have to make it easier for the
J: Continue to grow while we protect the space and community that we have created. We also want to continue to be a platform for Latin music in the UK and beyond – to keep spreading the good word of perreo.