NADASTROM at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Saturday (June 2), 10 pm. $15. RT, SS, TW. See listing.
New dance music genres don't come around too often. Yes, there's a long history of incremental variations on established formulas, but it takes a while for a completely different rhythmic template to take shape and succeed. Dubstep, the most recent, is now at least a decade old.
This makes the strange case of moombahton even weirder: not only has the nascent genre grown from a regional Washington, DC, style to a global underground phenomenon in just a couple of years, but it might be one of the first cases in history where the origins of a new dance movement can be pinpointed to an exact moment.
The official story is that Dave Nada (half of DJ/production duo Nadastrom with Matt Nordstrom) was hired to play a small DC party. He quickly realized that the electro house he'd brought wouldn't go over well with the Latin kids going ape-shit for reggaeton, so he slowed down his club tracks. The dance floor loved it, and almost immediately producers around the world were coming up with variations on the idea.
"It's crazy how it's developed in the past two and a half years," Nada says from a tour stop in Chicago. "It went from a few edits and DJ tools to original productions, and now it's infiltrating different music scenes all over the world."
While that sound is what Nadastrom are now best known for, both members come from diverse musical backgrounds and share an unlikely and deep affection for the legendary DC hardcore scene. Just search for their Salad Days punk rock DJ mix if you doubt their passion for it.
"Punk and dance music have the DIY thing in common - people releasing their own records, starting their own labels, doing their own bookings and all that kind of stuff," Nordstrom says.
"There are also similar vibes in how the movements come from cultures clashing," Nada adds. "You think about punk and hip-hop in the 70s and 80s, and over here in DC in the 90s we grew up with rave culture cross-pollinating with the hardcore scene.
"There's a connection between movements of kids who feel passionate enough about the music to make their own records, start their own labels and bands, build sound systems, throw their own shows and parties. It bridges different scenes, for sure."