The 8-track LP, set to be self-released on September 24, uses Krautrock rhythms and stacks of arpeggiating Soviet-era synthesizers to spin Space Age sci-fi for 2013. Equal parts Jacques Cousteau, Carl Sagan, and Stanislaw Lem, the album's cosmic feel evokes unknown worlds both macro and micro, from the most celestial of cosmos to the tiniest of petri dishes. Colonies marks a shift for the Mexico City-based duo, from straight dance music production to an enhanced live act perfectly suited to rock a laser light show at the nearest planetarium. I got on the phone with Marbeya's Abraham Dichi y Alan Rabchinsky and talked to them about other dimensions, the electronic dance community in Mexico, and magical watering holes.
THUMP: How did the band get started?
Abraham: Back in 2006, I was living in San Francisco and I went with some friends to Acapulco, which is where Alan and I met. We started talking about music. We just vibed. And then from there, we started making some tracks and became a long distance kind of band. That worked for a little while as we worked on the album and then I moved here.
Where are you originally from?
Abraham: I’m from Mexico, but I was living in San Francisco. Before that I lived in Mexico City my whole life.
Alan: I was born in Houston, but spent most of my childhood and life in Mexico City.
Why is the band named Marbeya Sound?
Abraham: Marbeya means beautiful ocean. We’re very much interested in other worlds besides this one.
In your album’s description, it also talks about being rooted in the streets of Mexico City and real places like the Roma District.
Abraham: That’s just an everyday influence. Walking the streets and seeing people. The Roma district is a place where, basically if you know anyone in the scene, then you will find them right here. Everybody kinda knows each other around the area. It’s a small scene within a big scene. Everyone who does something knows each other.
Do you guys feel a part of an electronic dance community in Mexico City?
Abraham: There is a very prominent electronic music scene coming out of Mexico right now. It’s going international as well. Colonies is very much influenced by band culture, but all of our previous releases went towards the dance genre more than anything. We’re working on the band set for the album, but generally we’re on laptops. We enjoy making music for people to dance to as well.
Do you have any Mexican influences?
Alan: There are a few friends making music right now, like Avanti, who are helping with the album. Also, anything from the label Electrique—Bufi and Eddie Mercury. Eddie is kind of doing tribal music mixed with house.
What kind of venues do you perform at?
Abraham: There’s an after hours club called M.N. Roy which is a good, small place to play. We played last year in a stadium for a festival. There are a lot of festivals going on right now in the city. Rhodesia is another place.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the concept of the album?
Abraham: Well in concept, we layer a lot of things. It was very much influenced by synth-oriented rock like Alan Parsons—
Alan: And Vangelis.
Abraham: This is us being fans of analog synthesizers. And we wanted to put something new into it. Keep it old school, but add something new.
Alan: Add something modern.
Do you feel close to the international “Latin electronic alternative" scene?
Alan: I was thinking yesterday that this album is more universal. It could be from anywhere. Maybe it has Latin percussion or something like that, but the song structure and messages are universal to me.
Can you tell me a little bit more about how the ocean theme effects the music?
Abraham: Water and space and other dimensions are major influences, but it’s not like we purposefully project those themes into the individual songs. If you do listen to album in these environments, i think it’s best suited, like on the beach looking up at the stars. This is where these things make the most sense.
What are your favorite “water” places?
Abraham: There are two places in Mexico I can think of, because Mexico has some of the most beautiful beaches. Tulum is very impressive, but two hours away from Tulum is this place Bacalar, which is a lake of alkaline water. There’s no marine life, but it’s beautiful weather, the perfect temperature and it’s an amazing place.
Alan: I went to Egypt once and got to see the Nile. You can scuba dive in it and it’s pretty nice.
Alexis Stephens writes about African and Latin American diasporic music that’s heavy on beats and bass. She also writes about pop culture, technology, and place - @pm_jawn