Daniel Villarreal

Drummer and DJ from Panamá City and based in Chicago

Daniel Villarreal

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to Daniel Villarreal, a Panamanian drummer and DJ based in Chicago. Villarreal is a musical polyglot, versed in rhythms from punk to salsa. The aesthetic of the former is present in the actual sound of the latter on this song and album. The groove is funk forward while the arrangement and production twists and spirals out into avant spaces. The whole record is just as exciting.

"Ofelia" by Daniel Villarreal
2022 | Drummer and DJ from Panamá City and based in Chicago

Go deeper with this excerpt from and a link to the liner notes from this album on Bandcamp:

[Daniel] Villarreal may be most known for his big style and magnetic personality, but to musicians on the scene, it’s as much for his talents as a malleable and reliable drummer, with a deep pocket in many styles and sounds. Through [the groups] Dos Santos and Ida y Vuelta, he’s demonstrated a range of knowledge and skill in various stripes of folkloric Latin music; but, ironically, he didn’t really play traditional Latin music until he moved to the States from his hometown Panamá City. His deepest roots in drumming are from the progressive punk and hardcore scenes of Central America, where his bands NOHAYDIA and 2 Huevos 1 Camino were active in the late 90s. Those formative experiences are the foundation of his career in music.

After his teen years thrashing on the punk scene, Villarreal started a life-changing tutelage with Freddy Sobers, the drummer of El General and Nando Boom (both known for pioneering reggaeton music in Panamá). “He taught me how to play all kinds of rhythms and told me I didn’t have to just play punk music,” Villarreal told the Chicago Reader in 2021. “He played everything from Rush to reggaeton to Chick Corea to salsa music… He told me if I wanted to be a good drummer, I had to learn all the styles. He took me under his wing, and I learned a lot from him.”