Cindel

DJ Cindel Is Coming To Serve You Sick Drum Beats5 min read

DJ Cindel is kicking off 2017 with his “Banging on the Drums” tour

The DJ who has been called the “King of Drums” is coming to serve live drum beats at a city near you. OutBuzz spoke with DJ Cindel about starting out as a DJ, his big break and his new tour.

I was always that little boy that people make fun of. While people and other kids were listening to Latin music, I was listening to House music.

 

dj cindel coss

Interview with DJ Cindel

OutBuzz
How did you get started DJ’ing? What pushed you to it?


 

Cindel
I come from a family of musicians. My dad is a professional pianist who’s been doing it forever. That’s how he supported us his entire life—he still does it. My music background comes from him. As a kid I never really paid attention or developed an interest in playing an instrument. But I always did have a passion for music.

I grew up in Puerto Rico. I was always that little boy that people make fun of. While people and other kids were listening to Latin music I was listening to House music. I was being called a weirdo for that. It was always something that I grew up with and that I liked and it went from there.

I started doing remixes for drag queens at the age of 19 or 20. As soon as I was legal, I presented a demo to a club called Sky Bar in Chicago. That was my very first appearance.

dj cindel

OutBuzz
Who were the first Drag Queens you did remixes for?

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Cindel
Nina Flowers was the very first person that ever gave me the opportunity to play. She had an after hours called “Nuestro Ambiente.” It was down in Santurce, Puerto Rico and I used to go see her. I was underaged but I still knew the people that worked the door. That’s the reason why Nina and I have a original track together.

OutBuzz
After that you moved to Chicago?

 

Cindel
I move to Chicago and I went to school for fashion design at the International Academy of Design. That’s where I have my associate degree. But once I got that, I realized I didn’t want to push for a bachelor’s degree because that wasn’t really where I wanted to go in life.

I began working as a barback a club called Spin nightclub, which was in the corner of Halsted and Belmont in Boystown. I remember listening to Danny Tenaglia and all these DJs that I really really love—and being like holy shit, if they can do it why can’t I? It was a big motivation for me.

This was around 2005 and CDs still existed. I would turn mixes on CD and then just get them out to every single club that I knew until I got the first opportunity at Spin.

DJ Cindel

 

OutBuzz
What was your big break?

 

Cindel
I competed in the Matinee Vegas DJ Contest in 2012. It was the very first year they did it and 72 DJs worldwide competed. The prize was that if you won, you got to spin at Matinee Vegas during Memorial Day weekend and also at Circus Festival Barcelona. I won.

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DJ Cindel

OutBuzz
What was it like after winning?

 

Cindel
I remember literally submitting my podcast to the competition, and then I received a call from Fly nightclub in Toronto, which was “Babylon” from Queer as Folk. Then it all happened quickly from there. It was call after call after call. Social media helped a lot. Most of it was from social media—from my SoundCloud page to my Facebook page. From there you know I began traveling internationally.

DJ Cindel

OutBuzz
Where did the title “King of Drums” come from?

Cindel
The title the “King of Drums” comes from an actual track by Genairo Nvilla. He’s one of my favorite producers ever. In Miami it was my staple track to start every set. A lot of friends and followers would come to me and say oh “This is so you, this track reminds me of you.” So that’s where the King of Drums comes from. Other than the fact that I really do play a lot of drums, but I don’t call myself a king of that.

I’m trying to stick with after hours which is my favorite to play. I get to be myself and I get to play darker and deeper and raunchier.

OutBuzz
What are some of your inspirations?

Cindel
Ralphi Rosario—he’s a Puerto Rican from Chicago. I think that Ralphi really speaks to me as far as everything music goes—especially because he’s a gay DJ. Also Oscar G. is kinda like me. We incorporate a lot of our roots into our music. I understand that most of the followers of the circuit music think that music has to be very high energy and very cha-cha-cha. Oscar G pushes me to want to educate the crowd more—that music doesn’t necessarily always have to be that beat.

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DJ Cindel AfterOutBuzz
What beat do you want to push?

Cindel
Right now I’m staying away from the big festivals because I don’t necessarily feel—this is no shade—that there is any room for educating people that it’s OK to go out and listen to something else. Most of the time like you know you go to all these events and they’re amazing DJs but you don’t really get a variety of music.

I’m trying to stick with after hours which is my favorite to play. I get to be myself and I get to play darker and deeper and raunchier. It feels more private and more personal. When I play an after hours usually the rooms are much smaller and usually people that go to these events are there for the music.

dj cindel djing

OutBuzz
I heard you say I have a tour coming up?

Cindel
The tour is called “Banging on the Drums” and it’s starting in Chicago on January 1st. So far I have a few cities that are already confirmed: New York, Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, Mexico City. I’ll probably also do Monterey and Guadalajara.

OutBuzz
What’s the idea behind the tour?

Cindel
I’ll be bringing a live percussionist that will be playing the drums along with the music. So it’ll give it that kick.

Listen to a set by DJ Cindel