José Ramón Navarrete is one of those clubbing figures who deserve recognition from Spanish culture, because the CEO and driving force behind Bigastro’s club has managed, thanks to his work at Metro Dance Club, to spread the love for music to several generations. We spoke with him about his incredible career and our beloved Metro.
Thank you for this interview José Ramón, it is a pleasure to have you in our magazine…
Thank you for giving me the opportunity and space for everyone to know a little more about the ‘Metro Universe’
Before we delve into depth, we would like to know who José Ramón is, where and how did your passion for music begin and what was your professional trajectory before Metro Dance Club.
Well, José Ramón is a person who lives for and by music. From a very young age, I participated in all musical movements within my reach, such as devouring music on the radio where I recorded tapes. My parents had a nightclub and then another, and that’s where I took my first steps, sneaking into the DJ booth and starting to feel the music on the dance floor. Where there was music, there I was. And well, in 1987, at the age of 17, we were opening Metro.
Everyone in this country who loves electronic music knows what Metro Dance Club is, but perhaps they are unaware of its history. When and how was Metro Dance Club founded and why did you choose such a special location like the chalet in Bigastro?
Well, as I was saying, it goes back to 1987. Metro was born in an old cinema on the outskirts of the town of Bigastro. This is where the name Metro was born, from the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, and our logo was the Metro lion. It was more like a cub surrounded by a celluloid film as the original logo, but drawn in a very childish way. The decoration we made was large murals with the most emblematic scenes from the history of cinema. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, or Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford in Gilda filled the large walls of this space, where there was no lack of a large movie screen and a huge satellite dish. And thanks to this satellite dish that connected us with the outside world and the car trunks that brought us the latest music, our journey with music began. We had access to things that were unknown or super innovative in our country. In a little over a year, we were already a successful venue, and for that reason we had to close. Too much success to be located within the town. It got out of hand with so many people coming from outside Bigastro to this breath of musical culture. That’s when I started noticing the chalet that was quite far from the town, and everything was happening and lining up so that we could set up the beginnings of what today is Metro Dance Club. This new location we called “Sigue Sigue Metro” hence our beloved logo of the running little man that was one of the three little men that made up this succession. As for the new space, we wanted to leave everything the house had untouched, without touching anything of its structure or its idiosyncrasy, but we did include the best technology that was available in those years.
“The resident DJs are the flagship of Metro, along with the headliners”
If Metro Dance Club stands out for anything, it is for remaining true to its principles over all these years. Can you summarize the main points of its philosophy for us?
The philosophy has been the same since day one, a passion for what we do, a lot of love and care for the details of each event we invest a lot of time and work in. We want to create unforgettable experiences that make our customers happy, experiences based on happiness, respect, tolerance, and equality, which are the main values on which Metro is based. At Metro Dance Club, we are all equal, united by the same passion, music. Age, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, status… it doesn’t matter at Metro, we don’t have VIPs, everyone is a VIP, and everyone is welcome if they share these values and come with the desire to have a good time. Hence the slogan that adorns our rooms “You’ll never dance alone.” To this we add excellent sound, the best music of the moment, bringing the best world DJs closer, and a good team of work we have, a very human team, which is excited about their work, which is close, pleasant and attentive to our customers… and the formula is infallible.
Another aspect that stands out at Metro Dance Club is the loyalty of its community. How would you explain this special relationship?
Well, it’s very simple, everything we do, we do it thinking about them, about our Metrolovers. How they will experience it and what the result of the experience will be. The respect and tolerance I mentioned before and the closeness of Metro makes our audience feel part of this great Metro family and make them feel at home. Hence our claim “Our home is your home.” Since that is our purpose, to make the music excite them and make them feel comfortable and happy at home.
“The philosophy has been the same since day one; a passion for what we do, a lot of love and care for the details of each event.”
Metro Dance Club is not just a club, as you are also involved in other initiatives within clubbing culture. Metro Dance School is an example, what can you tell us about your academy?
Well, with this project we are about to turn 4 years old and we are very happy with both the work done and our students who are very prepared and motivated. We teach DJ courses, production, and various masterclasses. We have a very professional teaching staff. This is the real added value of Metro Dance School, the teaching staff, their knowledge, and well, the place where the classes are taught of course, since the practical classes are held in the same booths of the club’s emblematic rooms. Upon successful completion of their training, they become part of the MDC events schedule.
At Metro Dance Club, you have a group of resident DJs and regular DJs that bring a different touch to the club. What can you tell us about them and Metro Dance Records label?
The resident DJs are somewhat the flagship of Metro, along with the headliners, they make the events so special musically speaking. Each room has its style and its residents as well, although sometimes we change the format and they become others. All the residents produce in Metro’s labels: Metro Dance Records, which is a more melodic techno, and Metro Dance Records Black Series, which is a more playful techno, more tech-house.
“Happiness is measured in dances at Metro Dance Club”
This past 2023 has been full of incredible moments at Metro Dance Club, can you tell us about those that you hold a special memory of?
All the events at Metro are incredible, it is always a new experience and never leaves you indifferent, but if you have to lean towards one, musically speaking, seeing Amelie Lens super pregnant, giving it her all and enjoying in the booth like a child. To Indira Paganotto, an artist we have a lot of affection for, whom we have seen grow professionally and we are very happy with her achievements. Enjoying Jeff Mills dancing in the booth, taking turns with surprising joy as if he were a kid. All of this conveys a lot and is very exciting. And regarding the public, it excites me a lot when parents and children come together to enjoy the music and experience. And this is another of the peculiarities of Metro Dance Club, as being active for almost 37 years, several generations come together within our walls at the same time with the same purpose, to enjoy music. It’s very nice.
And for this 2024 what will we find at Metro Dance Club?
Well, the best is yet to come. This 2024 will be very exciting. We will have a heart-pounding schedule, great artists accompanied by our cast of residents. And many improvements and surprises. When a team is excited about their work and enjoys what they do, only very good initiatives can emerge.
“The best is yet to come, this 2024 will be very exciting at Metro”
What is the most satisfying part of your work and what is the most thankless part?
This profession has a lot of work and a lot of pressure. You have to feel that passion for music I mentioned earlier in order to carry it out. And the most beautiful, satisfying, and at the same time very exciting part is when you get into the middle of the dance floor and look around and see so many people with a smile on their face enjoying, happy… That’s why I work and will work every day of my life. Hopefully this feeling in the street would be like that. My purpose and that of Metro is to make people happy with music. “Happiness is measured in dances” at Metro Dance Club.
And the unpleasant part is that sometimes all that work and dedication involved in doing things well and with much love are not appreciated. And on top of that they criticize them, but I think that’s part of the game.
Where does the future of Metro Dance Club lie?
Well, I think we are going through the best stage, and the future will be to continue to remain true to our origins as we have done so far, continue to be a club with soul, sustainable, empathetic, friendly, anticipating new technologies and above all trying to listen to the best music and have the best artists in this beautiful world of electronic music. Long live techno!
Club de baile metro