ZZK Presents 'The Nu Lat Am Sound' Doc Series

Mora Bowen
Nicola Cruz photographed in 2015.

Pioneering Buenos Aires-based Latin electronic label looks to Ecuador for fresh inspiration; creates doc series

Nicolá Cruz is the latest artist to release an album on ZZK Records, the Buenos Aires indie label synonymous with the new wave of Latin American electronic music that label founder Grant C. Dull refers to as “digital folklore,” among other things. That’s become most widely recognized by the less inclusive name Nu-Cumbia.

“The main secret to this strain of music is it speaks to both the Latin crowd and the electronic crowd,” says Dull, who’s also been known as DJ “El G” since he and his partners started doing the parties in Argentina about a decade ago that led to the founding of the ZZK label in 2008.

“Nicolá is the 2015 representation of these kids who have embraced their roots with an electronic musical production,” he says of Cruz. “He’s not just making electronic music, he’s bringing the Ecuadorian sound to the world.”

If the phrase “Ecuadorian sound” just perked up your ears, you’re not alone. Dull’s discovery, through Cruz, of an emerging scene in Ecuador that’s virtually unknown outside its borders injected new energy into ZZK.

After over a decade launching Buenos Aires artists like Frikstallers and Chancha Via Circuito, creating a collective that has brought musicians and producers from different countries together, and promoting electronic cumbia through label compilations and tours that took the music and DJs to other continents, Dull was experiencing typical indie fatigue, and struggling financially to keep the label going.

The prospect of recording Cruz’s first album motivated Dull to launch a successful Indie Go Go campaign early this year, which in turn lead to a grant from “radical funding organization” the Kindle Project.

Cruz’s entrancing album, Prender el Alma, was released Oct. 30. And Dull’s excitement about the artist’s native country has led him to create ZZK films,  and produce a series of short music documentaries called “The New Lat Am Sound.” The first episode, whose setting could have you packing your bags for Ecuador, premieres on Billboard today.