Embodying a melting pot of global genres over the past five years, Tropixxx has become a local hotspot for musical discovery. Its original curators—Billy The Gent and Cam Jus—laid the groundwork for a small-scale version of the popular Moombahton Massive party. But in 2013, they passed the torch to Mathias and The Clown Prince—Mathias Broohm and Marvin Lopez respectively—who expanded the forward-thinking dance party over the years to include innovative interpretations of global bass music like, U.K. grime, Carribbean zouk, and underground club music.
Held at U Street’s beloved Velvet Lounge, Tropixxx’s musical focus has evolved from a desperate need for something more unique in D.C. “People don’t wanna be at a bar [where it’s] gonna be wall-to-wall people listening to [the same songs] every fucking night,” Broohm explains. “People love Tropixxx because we open their ears to something else.”
Each core member of Tropixxx adds their own essential element to the party. Packed to the gills with sweaty party people, Tropixxx is famously known to be intensely energetic and this is primarily due to Lopez’s shameless vigor. Often seen jumping around while he spins hyperactive jungle terror and Latin American cumbia, Lopez projects his charismatic energy into the crowd with ease.
“[Lopez] can be extra hype but he’s not scared to play what he wants to play,” Broohm says. “He takes chances to the extreme.”
As an undeniable party-starter and staunch advocate for U.K. sounds like grime and garage, Broohm—often cool and collected—balances out Lopez’s chaotic energy. He takes a more calculated approach to DJing, which allows him to intimately understand and play to the interests of his audience.
“[Broohm] is the spine of any party,” Lopez says. “He might not be animated when he DJs, but the crowd is enthralled and magnetized to him because he lets the music draw people in.”
Naturally, Broohm and Lopez have recently added steadfast supporter of Tropixxx and one of the most genuinely spirited DJs in D.C, The Lothario—or Paige Plissner—to their team. “I felt [her addition] was just necessary based on [her] energy and what we wanna do with the party,” Lopez explains. “I’m blown away every time she DJs [and] have the time of my fucking life.”
Plissner has allowed Tropixxx to double-down on underground club music, a nebulous genre largely unexplored by D.C.’s nightlife. Plissner’s definition of club music extends far beyond the traditional interpretations pioneered by Baltimore and Jersey to include a more up-tempo, industrial vibe, adding an entirely new dimension to party’s musical identity.
For the third annual Labor Day Party, Tropixxx is hosting a nine-hour marathon of some of their favorite global party sounds. Rizzla, a Brooklyn-based artist with the Fade To Mind crew, is no stranger to the dembow riddim, but truly thrives in the sphere of sexy, late night, future R&B. Luny P, an Australian transplant living in L.A., produces frenzied booty music perfect for peak time in club. Oso Blanco, a Bronx-based production duo consisting of Bassbear and El Blanco Nino, seamlessly combines frenetic footwork with heavy bass music. Vermilion Bird, another Brooklyn-based artist, fits right in with the party’s archetype with her classic moombahton productions. Flash Frequency, a D.C.-based visual artist, creatively decorates time with intricate, textural soundscapes.
As unintentional tastemakers with a simple desire to showcase the music they love, the members of Tropixxx have seen many of their special guests, like Manila Killa, G-Buck, and Choppa Dunks, achieve worldwide success through major record labels. So, despite facing challenges from the bridge-and-tunnel crowds and restrictive noise ordinances of “New D.C.,” the members of Tropixxx remain confident in their approach to bring groundbreaking music to D.C.’s nightlife.
“We all believe that the artists we bring in are gonna be something someday just based on their talent,” Plissner says. “But a lot of it is just staying true to ourselves.”
The Tropixxx Labor Day party takes place on Sunday, Sept. 4 at Velvet Lounge at 6 p.m. 915 U St. NW. Free.