Texas Dude Moves To Argentina and Launches a Latin Alternative Revolution
Texas native Grant Dull is not the guy one would expect to see at the forefront of a revolution in Latin American music. A former resident of San Antonio with no connection to Latin America (other than his hometown's proximity to the Mexican border), he is one of the co-founders of Buenos Aires, Argentina-based record ZZK Records. The label is home to the latest crop of artists from various cumbia-hyphenated genres -- like electro-cumbia and digital-cumbia -- that have come out of South America over the past decade.
Press Junkie PR/Emiliano Granado Grant Dull a.k.a. El G brings the future sounds of Latin America to L.A.
Dull (pronounced "dool") DJs under the name El G. He's currently touring the U.S. to promote ZZK's latest compilation, Future Sounds of Buenos Aires, a collection of songs from genre-mashing artists such as Frikstailers, El Remolon, and La Yegros. He plays on the East side tomorrow night. (Details below.)
"We call it the ZZK sound," says Dull via phone from his parents' home in Texas. The label's crop of Latin alternative artists -- the umbrella term for Latin American music that doesn't fit the traditional mold -- have a sound much different than anyone on the roster of L.A.'s Nacional Records or from anyone in the tribal guarachero scene out of Monterrey, Mexico, such as 3Ball MTY or DJ Vampiro .
The ZZK backbone is traditional cumbia, but the results are as varied as the Spanish colloquialisms and accents found throughout Latin America. No one will confuse the Game Boy-esque, chiptune-cumbia of Super Guachin with the digital, kuduro-cumbia of Fauna or the sampled, indigenous instrumentation that makes up most of Chancha Via Circuito's work.
"If you had to generalize it or genre-fy it," explains Dull, "it would be 'digital South America' or 'digital Latin America.' It's not particular to one region. We've mixed with and experimented with Colombian cumbia and Peruvian cumbia and obscure rhythms from the interior of Argentina and the north of Argentina."
Dull first arrived in Argentina at the turn of the century after years of wanderlust finally got the better of him. "When I was 22, I wanted to get the heck out of America, figuratively speaking," he says.
First, though, he studied at University of San Diego as a humanities major with an emphasis in philosophy. His professor in a course about Buddhism introduced him to the writer who ignited his love affair with all things Argentina: Jorge Luis Borges.