Interview by
Danny Calvi
Photography by
Joseph Echenique
Mixtape by
DJs Pareja

A Couple of Deejays

Mariano and Diego, AKA DJs Pareja, are a bit like the Argentine Pet Shop Boys. They've been deejaying and producing their own music since 2004, and after two LPS and six EPs they are still going strong, both as a couple and deejay duo. Their song titles and lyrics are sprinkled with references to old school gay culture. Who else can work in a reference to both Gore Vidal and 'My Own Private Idaho' in one song? Their more dance-floor-ready tracks on Comemé, and more recently Turbo Recordings, are playfully lo-fi with a bit of drum machine fuckery.

You won’t find Club Mate — although Argentinians are obsessed with mate tea — in the basement of The Shamrock, the Irish pub they take over for their monthly club night, Fun Fun, but you will find a group of socialable Argentinians. I make a Skype date with Mariano and Diego, in which Mariano, who is also taking vocal duties on their records, does most of the talking, and translating Diego’s Spanish responses into English.

Danny: Hi Mariano. How’s it going?
Mariano: Very well. Diego has just come back from the gym.
Oh, really? I was going ask you about your workout routine because in all the photos that I have seen of you two, you’re wearing sportswear. Would you say you have a sportswear fetish?
Not really. We really just like the logo thing, like Fila or Nike or Adidas. We are into these kinds of logos.
So it’s not a sexual thing for you?
No, we are not into that kind of sexual fetish. And it’s not that we want to shape our bodies, or be big guys. We just do it for health. Diego says, we love eating and we eat a lot, so we have to burn those calories, you know.
Okay, and for how long have you been together as a couple?
Since 1993.
Twenty-two years… Wow, congratulations!
Thanks a lot. We have always thought having this music project, DJs Pareja, is quite important for us as a couple.
And have you been deejaying together as long as you’ve been boyfriends?
Not really, we started deejaying in 2000.
Where did you guys meet?
We met on the rooftop of a club called The Age of Communication here in Buenos Aires.
How do Argentinians party differently than crowds in other clubs you’ve played?
In Buenos Aires, you enter a club and you kiss everybody. It’s always more of a family thing. People here are more social maybe, because in clubs, people chat quite a lot. In Europe, or in other countries we’ve played, we have noticed that people just go and dance and are into themselves — and they get into the music much more. If you play a more mental set, or more introspective, it doesn’t  work very well here in Buenos Aires. People here don’t like deep dark sets.
For how long have you been doing Fun Fun?
For five years.
In which neighborhood is it?
It’s in this neighborhood called Recoleta. The neighborhood is quite posh, I would say.
Máxima Queen of the Netherlands grew up in this neighborhood.
Yes, but it doesn’t affect the club or the people who go there. The basement has a fantastic sound system, it’s amazing.
Now that she has left Argentina and moved to the Netherlands, what do Argentinians think of Máxima?
Nothing. She doesn’t really exist here. I mean, she appears in Hello!, like those magazines for old ladies. Or maybe she is in the news when she comes here to visit her family or something, but no, she’s not important.
Do you think she is quite the dictator in bed? King Willem-Alexander seems very passive.
You mean sexless?
Yes, sexless. He’s a very plain man, almost like an overgrown child.
It’s true. Diego says that they might not have sex. I mean, they have children, no? Is she gay-friendly?
Apparently. That’s what you read in the papers.
Maybe she cannot say any other thing.
Tell me about this song you wrote, ‘Llegaste’, which is an homage to ‘Smalltown Boy’ by Bronski Beat.
Yeah. It is like the inverse, or the happy ending to ‘Smalltown Boy’. Kind of like, you’ve arrived in the big city, and you can be yourself now.
Would you say that gays are living their lives offline in Buenos Aires, or is everybody also on those dating apps?
Do you mean to find a date, or just sex? We really don’t know much about it because we don’t do it. You don’t really get a date on the street, do you? We have this song about that called ‘Perfecto Radar’ from the first album. ‘Perfecto Radar’ is like a kind of Grindr, but on the streets. You know, when you go out walking, and you look into some guy’s eyes…
Oh, you mean gaydar.
Yes, yes, yes… Gaydar! Like when you are cruising… But lately, we have noticed that when you walk down the streets here in Buenos Aires, nothing happens.

Catch DJs Pareja (with Dintun and Sascha Karushima) from midnight tonight until 6 A.M. at their monthly club night, Fun Fun, at The Shamrock, Rodríguez Peña 1220, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Published on 06 November 2015