Poll Clubs 2009: Hardpop | DJMag.com Skip to main content
Hardpop
Position: 
32
New Entry

Don't be deceived. Hardpop might sound like the trashiest gay disco this side of Soho but scratch beneath the name to uncover one of the globe's most unlikely outposts of underground techno. Located in the volatile Mexican border city of Juárez, this small unassuming rave-box is every bit as explosive as the city around it.

Forget the diluted hip-hop and US pop that seeps across the border and saturates elsewhere in Mexico, at Hardpop it's all about a young crowd reacting to a dark DC10-esque soundtrack with the sort of fervour you'd expect at a Prodigy concert.

Indeed, Juárez might have more chance of topping the world's most dangerous cities list than one for the world's greatest club, but that's part of the reason that DJs like Magda and Damian Lazarus have been put under its spell. In a city where gang slaughters and warring drug cartels are part of everyday life, Hardpop is a hedonistic release as pure as the powders these cartels are fighting over.

But whilst DJs often require gun-wielding bodyguards as precaution, the only protection they usually need is from the hoards of fans treating them like megastars.

"The crowd are so into the music and they respond to the DJs like they would at a concert," explains Hardpop founder Ricardo Tejada. "We open at 9pm every Friday and Saturday with queues from the very start. And we only go on until 2am so the crowd really let go and are full of energy from the start."

Born in Paris of Mexican descent, Ricardo now resides in the modern Mexican city of Monterrey, but his Juárez baby was first conceived during his clubbing experiences whilst living in London. Inspired by the underground techno he heard at venues like The End and Fabric, the veteran clubber felt determined to provide both an outlet and a platform for underground techno in his homelands.

First opening its doors back in October 2006, Hardpop has been synonymous with techno as raw as its rugged interior. Guests like Deadmau5, Jesse Rose and James Lavelle all frequent but its pedigree is best rubberstamped by its tight association with ultra-cool Berlin label Get Physical and Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels, the latter holding a bi-monthly residency with guests like Pier Bucci, Jamie Jones and Matthew Styles.

"It's kind of in this shopping mall and you arrive there thinking, 'So what, this is a club?'" explains Get Physical's Heidi. "But inside it's the most intense atmosphere I have played. The soundsystem is great, the crowd are mainly under 25 so they're young, intense and crazy. But most importantly they really know your music, they're grateful and they thank you for coming over to their city and shedding some light on the dark city that is Juárez. It's been one of my best gigs of the year."

1
BERGHAIN
2
FABRIC
3
SPACE IBIZA
4
WOMB
5
AMNESIA
6
MINISTRY OF SOUND
7
PACHA IBIZA
8
WATERGATE
9
D-EDGE
10
The End
11
Cocoon
12
GUVERNMENT
13
ZOUK SINGAPORE
14
SUB CLUB
15
WARUNG
16
SANKEYS MCR
17
DC-10
18
Plastic People
19
SIRENA
20
21
Paradiso
22
Pacha Buenos Aires
23
Beta Nightclub
24
ROBERT JOHNSON
25
Ruby Skye
26
Matter
27
The Arches
28
Space Miami
29
Club Volume
30
Pacha Miami
31
AGEHA
32
Hardpop
33
RAZZMATAZZ
34
CIELO
35
Eden
36
Alte Börse
37
The Rex
38
Batofar
39
Studio Martin
40
Avalon
41
Club JB's
42
My House
43
CAVO PARADISO
44
FABRIK
45
Noxx
46
TENAX CLUB
47
Fuse
48
Clash Club
49
PRIVILEGE
50
Onzi-eme
51
ANZUCLUB
52
52 Crystal
53
Vanguard
54
Villa
55
Metro City
56
Kristal
57
Club Midi
58
360°
59
Harry Klein
60
MANSION
61
Circa
62
ARMA 17
63
Club Der Visionaere
64
Vision
65
Vinyl
66
Caves
67
CHINESE LAUNDRY
68
Goa Club
69
Stereo
70
Bar 25
71
Byblos
72
Warehouse
73
Heaven
74
Air
75
Florida 135
76
Culture Box
77
MINT CLUB
78
Dirty Dancing
79
Circus Afterhours
80
Tribehouse
81
Cabaret Voltaire
82
Pacha Sharm
83
1015
84
Haoman 17
85
Prince Of Wales Bandroom
86
Numero Uno
87
MOTION
88
Barfly
89
Café D'Anvers
90
Stiff Kitten
91
Factory Club
92
93
TRESOR
94
Global
95
YALTA
96
LUX FRAGIL
97
Sq Klub
98
Le Queen
99
Weekend
100
Le Bataclan