Celebrate Day of the Dead With Meth Math’s Rave-Ready Mix
The Mexico-based trio stitch together a mix that celebrates the departed, as well as the joys and contradictions of life.
There’s something phantasmagoric about Meth Math’s sound. The trio – made up of vocalist Angél Ballesteros and producers error. error and Bonsai Babies – have created a sonic universe that feels fitting for a slamming perreo party but wouldn't feel out of place during the final hours of our planet's existence either. Blending together electronica with trance, reggaeton and hardcore, their rave-ready tracks come laced with gossamer light vocals from Angél Ballesteros.
For the latest instalment of our specialist mix series, we asked the trio to create something to help us celebrate Mexico's Day of the Dead. From lilting, sorrowful folk music to euphoric trance and the Mexican singing tradition canto cardenche, this mix is a distillation of the trio’s expertise in weaving together contrasts to celebrate life, death and its nuances. Tap into the mix below and read on for their interview.
Can you walk me through your interpretation of the theme?
Cemeteries get full of people on the Day of the Dead. Families get together to visit their deceased ones, offer them whatever was their favourite food or drinks while they were alive, sometimes even hire musicians to play their favourite songs. The mix combines danceable music with traditional chants that people sing at funerals. We wanted to contrast those two things because we embrace the contradictions in life.
How do you usually celebrate Day of the Dead and do you have any personal ties to this tradition?
We usually make an altar de muertos for our relatives and pets that are no longer here. We put together their photos, give them flowers, candies and catnip.
I read that you formed over a horror film you shot. Which film was this and what was it about?
The short film was called Duerme and it was about a girl who was trapped in a loop of waking up to realise she was just in another dream. A contorted shadow was stalking her inside this loop. We are kind of shy about showing it to people nowadays because we now feel it’s sort of cheesy, but it’s still somewhere in the intertubes.
How does life, death and horror tie into your work?
Death and life are the ultimate contrast and contradiction. We’ve always been fascinated by opposites, that’s why we picked Meth Math for the band’s name, it has somewhat of a ying yang ring to it. In our work we sometimes try to combine beautiful lyrics with sad or aggressive music and other times we mix beautiful music with lyrics about horrible things.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
We think existence comes in many forms in this universe and others. You could still exist in people’s minds long after you’re gone from this dimension. Your creations could still provoke beauty in living beings even after you no longer roam this planet. We also believe in reincarnation and we believe in a multidimensional universe. As to what it feels like when your spirit leaves your physical body, we cannot tell since our memories were wiped out the last time we died.
What’s your favourite horror film?
Best horror movie villain?
The Shimmer from Annihilation.
What about horror movie soundtrack?
Cannibal Holocaust’s OST.
Which spooky albums should we revisit today?
Jinx by Dani Shivers and Silent Shout by The Knife.
If you were writing your own horror movie, what would the villain be like?
It would be an entrepreneur with no heart who spends his days thinking about making more money at the expense of helpless humans while pretending he is saving the world with artificial intelligence.
What’s happening in Mexico’s underground scene right now? Is there anything tying it together sonically and aesthetically?
The underground is really dynamic here, we’re not really sure if that’s any different from other places. There’s always interesting things popping up, but these trends die very quickly so if you blink, you missed it. I guess that’s part of the magic, things don’t happen twice. These small groups of people come together to express themselves through weird and awesome art, fashion, music, conversations, etc. All happening in just a handful of underground gigs, all of them are unique and none of them will happen again, you have to appreciate the moments and taste the nostalgia of what you missed when you weren’t present in the moment.
Who’s an artist or act we should be paying attention to within Mexico’s underground scene?
There’s actually a few of them here in our town: Mareaboba, Gatamarina, and Atosigado are some of our favourites.
What's your best travel story?
All of our first European tour was such a surreal experience. We got to meet very interesting people and truly connect with audiences at our shows. We were super tired when we arrived at a hotel in Bordeaux and we had a little fight. After we played the gig, we took a walk at night by the sea and came to the hotel to talk things out and apologise for things we said that we didn’t mean and the misunderstandings that that caused.
The three of us went inside a cute photo booth at the hotel and took some pictures. One of those pics has been our band’s WhatsApp group icon ever since to remind us that real friendships aren’t about not having problems or differences at all, but to overcome them with love and empathy.
What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
We want to keep playing shows around the world, bonding with beautiful souls and hanging around in breathtaking places. We want to continue making music for people to experience intense emotions that make them feel more human, even after we’re gone.
1. Hatsune Miku – La Llorona
2. B From E – In My Hive (ft. Soho Rezanejad)
3. Karenn – Raz
4. Timmy S & JB – I Got You
5. Los Cardencheros de Sapioriz – Ya me voy a morir a los desiertos
6. Dani Shivers – Graves
7. Meth Math – Catastral
8. Meth Math – Muro de los Lamentos
9. Angerfist & Drokz – Deathmask
10. Santa Sangre – La Barca de Oro