Experience Costa Rica’s devoted underground on Frisky Loves Costa Rica

Lauren Krieger

FRISKY Loves is back with a huge lineup from Costa Rica

The FRISKY Loves series returns with the next leg of the global underground electronic music showcase, with a visit to Costa Rica. The Central American country known for its diverse landscapes, beautiful beaches, and scenic volcanoes, also has a thriving dance music culture with passionate DJs and fans. It’s no surprise that the peaceful country is also full of music lovers, the scene going strong since the 90’s, and continuing to grow through its large and dedicated community. Tune in and get the inside perspective direct from Costa Rica’s underground.

Saturday October 29th @ 12PM EST / 10AM CST [convert timezone]

Do Not
Mobius Strum
Lawrence Casal
Lippa & Nochi
Dyan K
Richard Salazar
Javier Portilla

To dive deeper into Costa Rica’s scene, we caught up with Rolando Sotela & Javier Portilla of MoonChild Records:

What do you think the rest of the world should know about Costa Rica?

Sotela: I would say probably, first the most important and that we are most proud of is that we are a peaceful nation, we don’t have an army ever in our history, we invest most on free education and social security. Our people are hardworking warm welcoming people, some say we are one of the happiest country worldwide I think it might be related to our way we see life (Pura Vida). We love wild life and nature and we struggle to keep it safe.

Javier: People are warm and friendly like most of the Caribbean countries, we have pretty nice beaches and mystical forests but at the same time an incredible nightlife where people have an amazing taste for house and techno music. People like to dance until the morning.


What is your favorite thing about living there?

Sotela: Its People, we Ticos are relaxed warm people, who celebrate life and also work hard. Also the fact that the country is small in size you got beaches from pacific to Caribbean to Atlantic and cross it over on a matter of a few hours by land or you can go to mountains or even rain forests, volcanoes, waterfalls.

We’ve got a bit of everything here.

Javier: I’m a nature lover so for me this place is perfect. The fact that you have so many different places to go not too far from each other is what makes Costa Rica so special. You can be in the Caribbean in the morning, then you can go to a volcano or the rainforest, find a waterfall, swim in turquoise lagoons and the same day you can be in the pacific coast at night if you want.

What is the best part of the local underground electronic music scene?

Sotela: The best part is that we got a pretty good educated crowd here. See when the scene started to form here most of the parties here where old school raves with proper djs like Sasha, Digweed, Nick Warren, GU parties , etc. Lots of that influence came here on the late 90s and we’ll when bigger clubs like Vertigo opened it really brought us a proper club experience. So people here are really music knowledgeable and there’s a cool healthy underground dance music culture.

Javier: A good thing here is that our main electronic music venues doesn’t have specific time to close, so if there is people at the dancefloor the party can continue for hours. For example I’ve been dancing to Hernan Cattaneo ’til 10 or 11am. Then if you still have energy you can go to a river, rainforest or the beach just to chill.

Have things changed in the Costa Rican dance music scene since you began?

Sotela: Yes when I started (+12 years), dance music big party bookings where done like every 3 months. The club scene was smaller but more intimate and maybe I will say more curated in a way of the exiting for the unknown and new. I guess for me it felt more cool because Internet was not a big deal music was really hard to get so when you listen to a dj playing it was sort of the sense of I never heard this before you know? Parties used to last longer it was really another time.

Now we have many clubs some of them are underground like Antik, Vertigo and other that are Commercial stuff which is really what I see more change really, see when I started Costa Rica is a latín tropical country so lots of the clubs and bars will pretty much only focus on Latin music back then, now it’s almost certain that you will listen some sort of shape style of dance music on the bars, clubs and even radio. Before this music was a tabu.

Javier: Totally, everything has changed actually, for good. When I started listening to electronic music there was not specific clubs for that, it was more like underground raves at warehouses once in a while, which was great, I loved them, but now you have plenty of great options to go every weekend.


Are there any unique challenges or advantages working as a DJ in your country?

Sotela: Well it’s a challenge for non commercial music for sure being a underground dj here will not be enough here for a living. Most of us have to play the role of dj+promoter to be able to get the scene going. For me it’s even harder since I produce music as well so I have to have a day job to pay the bills.

As an advantage since it’s a smaller country you have more chances to get your name known and if you play your cards right.

Javier: Probably the same challenges than other small countries; having an small audience (compared with other cities) it’s a little bit hard to dedicate 100% to only make or play music, but is not impossible. 
An advantage can be that you get to know everybody so you won’t be alone at any party. Also it is easy to make collabs with different producers and musicians since we all live relatively close from each other on the same city and we are all good friends.

Where are the best places to play or go see a DJ?

Sotela: If you are in the country go to club Vertigo or Antik, both are specialized on underground well curated dj events.

Javier: Every year the last weekend of February we have the Envision Festival, a world famous transformational/yoga/arts and music festival that attracts people from all around the globe with amazing line ups, that’s one of my favorite gigs of the year. 
We also have great venues like Club Vertigo or Antik where you can see great Djs all the weekends.  
I personally love to play at the beach every time I can, I love that vibe and energy that we can find there.


For a full day of underground sounds, tune into FRISKY Loves Costa Rica on Saturday October 29th @ 12PM EST / 10AM CST [convert timezone]

FRISKY Loves Costa Rica