Story: Annika Wittkowski - AGENT-Music
The Dominican Republic - a Caribbean island nation, a tourist magnet due to its heavenly beaches and Agent!’s home away from home. His debut concert took place in November 2014 and since then he’s played seven more gigs there because he loves the island’s everlasting sunshine, exotic food, pristine beaches, the Caribbean way of life and the exciting mix of vodoo and pirate history.
The music of the Dominican Republic is based on pervasive Latino influences like Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton and Salsa and mirrors the islanders’ casual lifestyle. This music is omnipresent - it hits you wherever you go, whatever you do. Recently though, electronic underground has been gaining ground, too, and the scene is constantly growing. Meanwhile, Fact Resident DJ Andre Buljat calls the island his home and you will also regularly meet other DJ celebs like Jamie Jones, Marco Carola and the Martinez Brothers here.
Agent!'s tour started with a relaxed beach holiday including surfing, snorkeling and yummy exotic drinks - “muy tranquilo” as the Dominicans would say - in the coastal town of Bravado, close to Punta Cana. After this short vacation the first gig took place in the Huracán Café, adjacent to the gorgeous Los Corales beachside. The event series “The Dark Side Of The Beach” regularly invites people to dance here on the beach till the sun comes up. Inspired by the West Indies’ special attitude towards life, the events make it possible to enjoy first-class food during the day and dance to techno music on special event weekends.
On the next day (certainly tired but happy), we stopped in the capital Santo Domingo. The historic old town (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is really worth seeing and, accordingly, strolling about the cobblestoned streets is an absolute “must”. Amongst other things, you can discover the first and oldest Latin American cathedral and the “Columbus House” (Alcázar de Colón). Directly opposite you will find the Garabato Lounge. This location has been tending to the aficionados of electronic music for one year and 4 months now (rather a long lifespan for a club in the Dominican Republic). The main floor (open air) is encircled by countless Areca palms. UrbangTV streamed Agent!’s complete show live via video and audio. You can watch and listen to it under:
After the first two gigs we enjoyed some R & R at the “Soles Beach Bar”, appreciating not only the stunning white beach but also refreshing fruit juices, fresh fish, aqua sports and, alas, some rather dubious beach peddlers, too. Every Saturday and Sunday DJs put on electronic music there. Beach gigs rank among Agent!’s favorite events and so we all looked forward to the event, which faintly reminded us of the Ibiza parties of “old”. People happily danced barefoot up to 10 p.m. Then, we unfortunately had to stop partying because of complaining neighbors - and that reminded me of Germany! So, we went straight on to Juan Dolio, to the “La Pina” (pineapple) hotel. Juan Dolio is about a 60 minutes drive from Punta Cana and about 40 minutes from Santo Domingo and so has become one favorite weekend destination for Santo Domingans. “La Pina” is a small (party-) hotel located close to the beach and, luckily, without any grumpy neighbors. Several times a month people from all over the world party there and dance to electronic music. The events start on Saturday evenings and often don’t stop before Monday. Agent!’s gig was, spontaneously, extended from 2 to 4 hours.
The last day was spent in the nature reserve Ojos Indigenas. Following small beaten tracks led us to stunningly beautiful freshwater lagoons with crystal clear water, inviting you to swim with the omnipresent turtles.
Naturally, we had to deal with some customary Dominican chaos on the tour - the cabling of the gigs often seemed rather bold and adventurous, but Dominicans are used to that and made do with simple improvising skills to overcome deficiencies, e.g. often utilizing bicycle and bike inner tubes for insulation and cladding. In the end, somewhat miraculously, it worked. In general, the hardware was always challenged severely by high humidity, sand and flush rust and so, just to be on the safe side, standby generators were used all the time. Our Cordial cables, though, proved to be as resilient, flawless and reliable in the field as usual.
So, despite all these minor flaws, mosquito bites, delays and bad faucet water, Agent! will surely tour the Dominican Republic again soon, accompanied, as usual, by his long-standing friend and local DJ Felipe Alemais.
Panama - another beautiful location! We spent a week in modern Panama City, enjoying its modern skyline as well as its old quarter Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal. In November, the country celebrates its independence (Independencia de Panama) and the people there wear traditional outfits, their national flag decorating most houses and sometimes you happen to find yourself involved in one or two parades, too. So, November is a great time to visit Panama City. At the end of the week we attended shows in the Red Lion Beach Club, which is located right at the beach of Veracruz. This club, which serves as a bar and beach restaurant during the day, at night metamorphoses into a striking party location patronized by a stylish crowd from all over the world. By all means: Party till sunrise!
Touring, touring, touring. 4 nights, 3 parties. Agent! played the Club Room and the Misa in Santiago de Chile and the City Hall in Concepción, together with the “TechThisOut” crew. We were thrilled by Santiago de Chile with its dazzling buildings, the stunning mountain backdrop and its delicious avocados. What really mesmerized us, though, was Thursday night when, just before midnight, 1,000 people raised the roof of the Club Room. Shortly before his gig, Andi had given an interview at the professional DJ School Chile, which can also boast of DJ greats like Luciano, Pan-Pot, Juan Atkins and many more hosting master classes there.
The tour through Colombia started with some sightseeing. Our little journey through this breathtaking country took us to Cartagena - possibly the town with the most beautiful old quarter in Colombia -, then to Isla Fuerte - probably the most adventurous trip of the journey because we had to board a tiny fishing boat to get there - , then Palomino, a fantastic little surfer paradise on Colombia’s Caribbean coast -, and, finally, the Caribbean port of Santa Marta. Then we hit the clubs.
After gigging at the Electronic Art Festival of Barranquilla, we went to Medellín and did a show in the legendary techno club Calle 9+1. Our final destination was the crazy location “La Fabryka” in Cali, situated in a factory still in use.
The hardest DJ life ever - spending the nights in clubs, the days on planes. Our tour plan: Techno Taco Tuesday in Las Vegas, the Motiv in Santa Cruz, the Monarch in San Francisco, Charlie Unicorn and the Dirty Beetles in Los Angeles, the Kettner Exchange in San Diego, Temple Tuesdays in Los Angeles, the Fleetwood’s in Lahaina (Hawaii), the Asylum Afterhours in Honolulu (Hawaii) and the Ritual in Kauai (Hawaii).
Hawaii, of course, made us feel the surfer vibes and good ol’ hippie spirits and allowed us - inspired by its impressive nature and tropical climate - to take a welcome break from the tour stress.
Text: Annika Wittkowski - AGENT-Music - Booking I Management
We at CORDIAL thank Annika Wittkowski for this travelogue.