by Native Instruments

NAAFI: A new wave of club music in Mexico

Artist collective and record label NAAFI is driving a new wave of Mexican electronic music. Discover a future-focused perspective on club music in this exclusive Native Instruments video.

For young music scenes, experimentation is key, and it’s no different for the Mexico City label NAAFI. Originally started by Tomás Davó and Alberto Bustamente (who DJs as Mexican Jihad) as a club night, the association of artists based in the Mexican capital has become synonymous with a voracious approach to production styles. Loosely standing for “club music”, Davó and Bustamente are pushing the boundaries of what this term can mean, with their eclectic stylistic approach to getting a crowd going.


Born on the dancefloor, the collective now calls itself a “production family”, that includes 12 different Mexican artists, including Lao, Espectral, and Imaabs. Their aim is to spread this eclectic and vibrant club sound both nationally and internationally, exposing this exciting new wave of music to a wider audience. And the crew are dedicated to maintaining their wide remit as they grow. “Instead of making music that sounds “Mexican”,” Lao explains, “we use what we have to enter the contemporary club scene.”

For example, while Paul Marmota, the original resident DJ of the NAAFI stable nights, produces with Latin and house sounds to create his seductive jams, Lao has a more risky and promiscuous approach, blending a huge range of different influences together. The result is unexpected production and a cutting-edge sound that speaks to the global club community, but still remains true to this local scene.

Whichever approach to production the members of the group take, Native Instruments tools, such as MASCHINE, are crucial to NAAFI’s members. “The mixture of these sounds is what gives NAAFI its unique flavour,” as Bustamente puts it. In this video, following the Bustamente, Davó, Marmota and Lao around the lively streets of Mexico City, you can also watch the how the production family makes the most of the Native Instruments tools – from MASCHINE’s tempo-syncing Beat Delay module to the polyrhythmic percussion instrument West Africa for KOMPLETE. The options for style are endless, making it the perfect tool for the NAAFI production family.

Watch Imaabs and Paul Marmota from NAAFI perform live on MASCHINE STUDIO at Native Sessions LA here.

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