Feature Stories

Be Ready To Clean and Bring Church Clothes If You Plan On Hanging Around The Secret Factory

Clockwise from top left: Carl Craig, Sept. 8; Rebekah, Feb. 23; Audiojack, May 19; Anna, March 3; and  Stefano Noferini, March 30.
Clockwise from top left: Carl Craig, Sept. 8; Rebekah, Feb. 23; Audiojack, May 19; Anna, March 3; and Stefano Noferini, March 30. courtesy The Secret Factory
The two-hour deep clean at The Secret Factory starting at 6 a.m. Sunday mornings is of paramount importance. The Secret Factory transforms from techno den to place of worship. Yeah, from nightclub to a church.

Disco balls and the massive Fulcrum speakers that push 118 decibels of techno sound are removed, and a preacher’s pulpit is installed. A crew enters to cleanse the space of spilled drinks and removes shuffling shoe-marks from the floor. At 8 a.m., the preacher takes the podium and speaks: “We are gathered here today …”

The club shares a rented event space in a gated business park on Walnut Hill, but its roots stretch to Detroit, techno’s birthplace, and the impetus for The Secret Factory parties originates in two dissimilar cities, Berlin and Juarez, Mexico. Germany’s capital city is techno global headquarters and home of Berghain, a nightclub warehouse conversion where self-expression is infinite. Techno starts there Friday and ends sometime Monday.

Perhaps Berghain’s influence arrived at Hardpop nightclub in Juarez. This is where Murad Gastelum, founder and CEO of Cross Border Warriors — an event production and artist management company that hosts parties at The Secret Factory — fell in love with dark tech beats. He has a techno tattoo on his left arm to prove it.

“I’m from Juarez and went to Hardpop when I was younger," Gastelum tells the Observer. "A lot of techno DJs were playing there, and it’s my music. I created Cross Border Warriors to bring different artists to Dallas, and it’s happening at The Secret Factory. Hardpop is definitely an inspiration. They have a Fulcrum sound system — that’s why we have it, too."

Cross Border Warriors has delivered some of the world’s best techno artists to this intimate venue. Max capacity is approximately 400 ragers. It’s a cozy space, and you need a PIN to get through the complex's gates. Artists such as Luigi Madonna, Anna, Rebekah, Marco Farone, Dave Seaman, No Regular Play and Stefano Noferini have come through.

Deborah De Luca, Audiojack, Carl Craig and other techno monsters are on the slate. Cross Border Warriors throws around three parties per month, mood and theme are remixed accordingly. Hito, a Japanese-born and Berlin-based DJ-producer, was on the controls last week. The Secret Factory space was transformed to a black light and neon utopia.

Gastelum has grand goals and is always expanding. He took his party to Miami for the Miami Music Week dance music global gathering in March. He is hosting a Movement Festival after-party in Detroit on May 29. His first Cross Border events were early last year, and he says he’s evolved.

“Early on, I was enjoying our events and partying a little,” he says with a smile. “Things are different now. If I have a beer at all, I’ll only have one or two. I get more satisfaction from throwing safe and quality events where others are having a good time.”

“PLUR” is a cheesy yet accurate pseudo-credo used in the electronic dance music community. It stands for peace, love, unity and respect. From a music standpoint, Cross Border Warriors’ aim is to deliver PLUR-laden techno events.

“It’s a small scene here in Dallas, and we need to be respectful of one another," he says. "Different artists and more venues are good for the culture, and that’s what it’s all about.”
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Elvis Anderson has written for the Observer since 2016. A music fan, he's an advocate for The Woody Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that improves the lives of the paralyzed.
Contact: Elvis Anderson