Photograph by Adam Wiseman
If you think Mexican music is defined by sultry boleros, you must be going to all the wrong places. There are as many musical styles as there are neighborhoods in sprawling Mexico City, but in the clubs around posh Condesa and boho Roma, electronica prevails. It hasn't always been that way. "For a long time, the clubbing scene in Mexico was really bad -- at least for us," says Julian Placencia, frontman for Disco Ruido, an electronic dance band that could be the Mexican love child of Gary Numan and the Chemical Brothers.
Like many excellent bands, Disco Ruido emerged from the urgent need of three young men to find a party they could call their own. Frustrated by a lack of options, they started DJing in basements and at parties, playing the kind of house and techno they'd heard on their travels to London and New York. Their parties were popular, quickly spawning imitators. "Suddenly everybody started putting on parties," says Narino Tierno, at 35 the oldest member of the band (the three met at school; both Placencia and Jeronimo Reyes, a.k.a. Peto, the band's youngest member, dated Tierno's sister -- at different times, they hasten to add).
Disco Ruido's graduation from club DJs to full-fledged band was inevitable, though it took four years for them to release their first album, Sistema Solar, in 2010. "For a long time we didn't even consider putting out an album -- we just liked the idea of playing live," says Placencia.
It's tempting to ask whether Disco Ruido would have a bigger U.S. following if they came from Europe, which we tend to associate with dance music. You can find many of their songs on SoundCloud, and I dare anyone to say that their ethereal dance track "Le Baron," booty-shaker "Lover/Brother," and Cocteau Twins-style makeover of Corona's "The Rhythm of the Night" do not deserve heavy rotation.
As for seeing them perform, do yourself a favor and book a flight to Mexico City. "Electronic music can be very boring live," says Placencia. "That's something we never wanted to become." They haven't.
Listen to Disco Ruido's "Eclipse Uno," below:
Listen to "The Rhythm of the Night below:
Listen to "Lover/Brother" below:
Listen to "Le Baron" below: