We catch up with the Mexican trio ahead of their New York Boiler Room show, alongside the likes of Bladee and Eartheater
There’s a hypnotising quality to Meth Math’s music that is simultaneously sensual and dark. Led by singer Ángel Ballesteros and backed by producers error.error (Efrén Coronado) and Bonsai Babies (To Robles), the Mexican trio have taken over the capital’s DIY scene in recent years with their twisted take on reggaeton that feels like it’s been taken straight from the fiery basement of a satanic perreo party.
Ballesteros, who runs cult fashion label Baby Angel, which counts Rihanna as a fan, oversees the group’s effortlessly edgy aesthetic. In live shows, she transforms herself into an alienoid fembot with multicoloured wigs fashioned to anime proportions, while Coronado and Robles lurk cooly behind the decks in latex fetish masks in a sinister twist that only adds to the group’s mystique.
“There’s a specific aesthetic in Mexican soap operas that’s so beautiful to me – it’s a weird telenovela thing,” says Ballesteros. “There’s something very Televisa, very dreamy.” This is particularly true for the group’s music videos, where lo-fi visuals twist and turn as candid scenes, whether that’s a quinceañera in “Catastral” or a late night drive in “Tambaleo”, are warped to surreal heights. The group’s sound is similarly dissociative: an unsettling blend of IDM, deconstructed club and swinging dembow rhythms, it flickers between moments of romantic pop and murky Latin club. Ballesteros describes it as “female cochino” – “it’s both refined and nasty,” she explains.
Formed in 2016, the origins of Meth Math can, incidentally, be traced back to a Facebook post. Having dropped out of art school, Ballesteros found herself bored and alone in her hometown of Hermosillo, the capital of the state of Sonora in northwest Mexico (“I don’t really hang out with the people I grew up with. It’s Catholic and they’re all having baby showers”). “I posted a Facebook status that read, ‘what should I do?’ and Efrén [Coronado] – who I met shooting a horror film – was like, ‘come over to my house and make music!’”
The group released their second EP m♡rtal earlier this year. With track names including “Beso con baba” (“Kiss with slime”) and “Muro De Los Lamentos” (“Wailing Wall”), it touches on themes of love and loss. “There has been a lot of obscure moments from the pandemic that we had to digest, like coming to terms with mortality,” Ballesteros explains. “The contrast between being the life of the party but also the decomposition of the body – it’s how these two worlds collide.” It’s a tension that reaches to the core of the group’s ethos: “We always say it’s the best and the worst, the yin and yang – or Meth Math.”