DJ EL FRESCO
Richard “El Fresco” (NL) is the resident DJ at You-Tango in Haarlem. He’s a regular DJ at festivals and milongas in The Netherlands and abroad. In 2017 and 2018 he also DJ’d in Buenos Aires. El Fresco will take you on a journey through the world of tango, and its musical layers. His starting point is the epoca d’oro and the great orquestas, but he’s not afraid of some sharp edges. Be prepared to dance all night!
TEN QUESTIONS WITH:
DJ El Fresco!
– a question of taste
Origin: Haarlem, Holland
Rank your favourite music style when playing: Primarily Golden Age (1935-’55). Maybe one or two earlier tanda’s and two or three later. The Big 4 of course (Di Sarli, D’Arienzo, Troilo, Pugliese) – and I have a soft spot for orchestras like Laurenz and Demare.
Are you dancing yourself?
Yes, tango since 2010.
Which year did you start to Dj?
My first DJ set must have been in 1980 or ’81 at a school party. Stuff like Madness, Specials, Police, Ramones, no tango at all… I started as a tango DJ in January 2015.
What was the trigger that made you start DJing?
While dancing tango I dove deeper into the music, up to the point where I started gathering tango music, and trying to find out how other Dj’s constructed their tandas, what works and what doesn’t. Then I realised I might as well start to DJ myself.
What is the main quality a DJ needs to have from your point of view?
As a DJ, put the dancers first: it’s not about the DJ, it’s about the dancers. So you have to put your own ego and preferences aside, while maintaing your own ‘style’ at the same time. And maintain the flow. That’s a balancing act.
About cortinas: how long, why and kind of music?
I prefer energetic cortinas. Since in my experience cortinas with low energy tend to kill the mood. I have them in very different musical styles, with a slight preference for fifties and sixties soul/rhythm & blues. The cortina should be long enough to clear the floor, at most Dutch milongas that’s about 30 to 40 seconds. If it’s very busy it may take up to a minute.
What is your playlist system? Always the same or do you adjust it; when and why?
With traditional sets I always follow the TTVTTM structure, in general with 4 walzes whereas most DJ’s play 3 walzes in a tanda.
I usually prepare the set in advance, or the first part of the set, so I know I have a good foundation to build on. At the night itself I adjust where needed or when I feel like it.
Sometimes I end up playing abt 80 per cent of the tandas I prepared, sometimes just 50%.
Somebody comes to the Dj booth and asks you to play a song. Your answer?
I will see if I can fit it in. I will play it if it matches with the rest of the set and when the timing is right.
So if you ask for a Pugliese at the start of the milonga you may have to be patient. Btw, most requests are for neo/nuevo songs. I won’t play them at the Tango Beach Festival.
What would be your last song you played on a Tango Festival or Marathon?
La Cumparsita. Juan D’Arienzo 1963. Definitely.
If you would have a free wish, which Festival or Marathon would you like to play at?
In Europe, the Lódz Festival. Let’s aim high 😉