The Carlos Barbero Interview
27 April 2022

Great to have Carlos Barbero back on Selador. We wanted to celebrate the release of Closer to Closure by digging a little deeper with our man in Panama…

Please tell us how you first discovered house / techno / electronic music?

I discovered the genre by going to a party. I had no idea what music it was. I remember I was saying, “this music is very repetitive”. This was back in 2013 when I was 17 years old, and I was still in high school. Little did I kno! I started to find more music like this and liked it a lot. I still remember the first track I heard was “Stranger” by Adana Twins. After that I just fell in love with the style, simplicity and great musicality it has. Of course, through the years it has evolved and now we know it really divides into so many sub-genres. 

What can you tell us about the scene in Panama and Central America in general, how has it evolved?

I’m relatively new to the scene compared to other friends I have. I can say I joined the scene when it was already starting to grow (2014). I remember hearing stories that there was one good venue where people would go and listen to electronic music, but that was mostly it. Since I was underaged, I was not even able to go to clubs, but I knew artists like Dixon, Nicholas Jaar, Anja Schneider, Francesca Lombardo, and many more were coming to Panama to play at what I considered our temple “Teatro Amador”. This place ended up being in the top 100 clubs (2015) according to DJ Mag. After that it just kept growing and today there are a lot of crews around with different styles and different venues to go to. I find this very cool and I’m really happy to see this because all those people have worked really hard to provide people with different types of genres of electronic music. Now, people can go to several places to dance and listen to electronic music. I think we owe it to those people who really worked hard to provide us with the best talents. In the end, Panama is a small country and the city even smaller, so we kinda know who everyone is and the different movements that are around. Hopefully this is just the beginning, and we can keep on growing and have another festival like Resistance.

Who have been your main inspirations as both a DJ and a producer?

My first inspirations were the KEENE and Gio Vellojin. Actually, those were the ones who I first saw playing and the first people who believed in me when I was trying to play for the first time. They gave me the chance to play at Teatro Amador on their concept Late Night Music. After that we have become good friends and little by little, I have been able to be a regular in their parties. Then I met a brother from another mother called George Olmos. George and I clicked the first time we spoke, and that friendship has evolved so much we even have a side project called “Lost Machines” where we have been able to combine both our styles to produce music and even DJ sometimes. For producers, today I look up to Innellea, AFFKT, Jonas Saalbach, KEENE, Los Cabra, RUFUS DU SOL, WhoMadeWho, Eagles & Butterflies, to mention just a few.  I try to make a combination of all of what I hear to create my own productions or style. 

Both your Selador releases have been vocal tracks, with Closer to Closure being a fully-fledged song – can we expect this to be a trademark of yours?

I think it is safe to say I like vocals hahaha. In fact, the Selador session I did has several tracks with vocals. I just find it very nice to add some story to a track sometimes. Of course, there are some tracks that work as instrumentals, but I think sometimes a good vocal can be a replacement for a synth or melody. Just add that cherry on top of the cake. Even a textured vocal with a lot of reverb creating a long release is a very powerful thing to my tracks. It just gives me the chills ;). I think it’s more of a 50-50 situation. I’m not sure if it will become a trademark, but I can be sure I will be releasing more tracks with vocals and hopefully more tracks with the Selador Family which has twice opened the door for me, so I hope I can just keep bringing more tracks to the table. 

You get the chance to curate your dream festival, who is on the line up?

Well, my dream festival will probably last 2 weeks, but in summary I think it would be something like:

Innellea, AFFKT, Jonas Saalbach, KEENE, Los Cabra, RUFUS DU SOL, WhoMadeWho, Eagles & Butterflies, Musumeci, Frankey & Sandrino, Shai T, Lehar, Dave Seaman, Stereo MCs, and many more. I would also have my friends from Panama – George Olmos, Gio Vellojin, Kimao, Funky Josh, Gerard R…Ah…wait…and…Carlos Barbero ;). 

‘Closer To Closure’ is out now: https://seladorrecordings.com/release/carlos-barbero-feat-dom-fricot-closer-to-closure/

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