A crew of drummers parades down a dusky Montevideo street, filling the neighbourhood with an irresistible beat that draws every single neighbour out onto their window, balcony and rooftop. A young Raphael Carrau sits at his terrace for the entire procession, entranced by the visceral thump-thump that will lead him, decades later, to where he is now: bobbing behind a pair of decks at Cartulis, his very own contribution to the world of London clubbing. Raised on a steady diet of hip hop, bossa nova and the kind of psychedelic rock that Brazil knows how to do so well, Rapha landed in London in 2011 only to rediscover his love for music, this time from a dance floor. An obsession was born, with the Brazilian-Uruguayan DJ taking his time to pick through any record bin he came across—because “you never know when your lucky day might come”.
It’s this optimism that has infused the way he strings tracks together and become the driving ethos behind his participation in London’s Cartulis collective. Alongside colleague-turned-brother Unai Trotti, the project aims to sensitise the local dance music scene by doing away with the flash and posturing—replacing it with an unwavering dedication to quality music and positive experiences. Rapha’s sound is characterised by an inclination for everything from house and its deeper manifestations to floor-cracking techno, peppered with the odd break and minimal interlude. The underlying theme? “Character”. Character that has, in this case, taken him across Europe and the Americas as he shares his sensibilities with the denizens of dance floors who, without knowing it, might have also come upon their lucky day.