Since bursting onto the international scene in 2015 via coverage on nearly every music site you could shake a stick at, NAAFI have turned into a musical collective that blaze trails and set trends. This year the group of DJs and producers have jumped from shows in Mexico City, where the group reside, to MUTEK festival in Canada and TodaysArt in The Netherlands.
We spoke with Tomás Davó (AKA Fausto Bahía) for a brief update on the group’s 2017 activities so far.
Describe where you live in ten words or less.
Young, ancient, dark, friendly, energetic, chaotic.
You started off as quite an informal group, but now you have shows on multiple digital stations and have been profiled by pretty much every music site I can think of; how have you experienced that change?
To be honest we knew what we wanted and we worked a lot to get there but we let it happen organically, letting our work talk for us. So there is substance and not only an image.
You labeled a Kali Mutsa SoundCloud upload from earlier in the year ‘Pop’ – was this ironic or are you looking for ways to sonically infiltrate the mainstream?
We did because we don’t think “Pop Music” is the same track over and over again and there a lot of experimental instrumentals in some of the biggest songs these past years. At the same time in Latin America and specifically in México, “Pop” has been sounding exactly the same for ages, so yes we would like to see “Pop” music going into crazier territory.
Back in June you released the ‘NAAFI 2.0’ compilation, talk to us about some of the artists featured on that release…
So “NAAFI 2.0” was a compilation where we showcased some of our newest and youngest artists.
There is Tayhana from Argentina, she is an excellent DJ and we are motivating her to produce more so expect more from her. Wasted Fates from Monterrey Mexico, but living in Mexico City at the moment, produces a lot! We are gonna release an EP by him soon but first we wanted him to be part of this release.
Zakmatic is a good friend of ours who we’ve known for a bit now and have been working together for a bit but we had never released an original track of his and we are expecting to release some originals in the future.
Oly is a super young girl from Estado de México who is playing a lot at the moment and as with Tayhana we are motivating her to produce more and extend her artistic career. There is also Debit from NYC, she has been producing for a bit now but this project is sort of new and we wanted to present with everyone as well and Traxmatik: he is a good friend of ours from the UK who was living in Mexico City at that moment so we asked him for a track since we had been forking for a bit now and he always sends fire.
The compilation sounded like you are now working with more full-frontal attacks than groove-oriented music…
We let every artist send whatever they want and then we just guide them a bit, so they most of somehow agreed on this.
From the NAAFI family and elsewhere in Mexico and Mexico City, who are the top artists MusicMap.Global readers should be listening to?
How is the nightlife scene in Mexico City at the moment, where should music fans head to to hear the best sounds?
It’s very much alive but more than going to clubs it’s about “Club Nights” which are all over the city, looking for new venues all the time where can go and have fun.
Some of the articles on you from a couple of years ago mentioned that artistic circles in Mexico were dealing with a lack of self-esteem, being too focused on trends happening elsewhere. Has this scenario changed at all in the recent past?
Yeah well that’s something we don’t care much about – we prefer be working than complaining =)
Interview by Nicholas Burman
Photo by David Franco