During a recent stay in Mexico City, we went out to La Sombra de Sartre, a bar located on the second floor of a building in the historical downtown district of the De Efe, where Afrodita and the electro-pop group Dixybait were scheduled to perform along with Jorge Gonzalez from Los Prisioneros, who was going to play music from his new electronic project.
I saw Alejandro Mancilla from Dixybait standing next to a window wearing a white turtle neck and holding a half empty bottle of beer in his hand—he looked somewhat bothered and absentminded—we walked up to him, said hello and asked if he was okay, “Jorge from Los Prisioneros, he was just robbed about three blocks from here”, he replied. “What, are you serious?” I asked genuinely surprised since the downtown district has a heavy police presence, and has undergone an expensive process of revitalization during the last PRD administrations “Yes, they took his laptop so he lost all his electronic sequences and some of his money too. He was even going to play new versions of a couple Prisioneros songs. “He was lost and asked for directions, and who knows”, Alejandro said almost to himself as he took a small sip from his bottle and stared at his shoes, “maybe they heard his accent and figured he was from out of town and therefore more vulnerable”.
Crime is common in Mexico City, which is allegedly the most insecure of all Mexican cities. Alejandro has never been the victim of a violent crime, and he tells me that he feels really lucky. The topic of crime leads to a discussion about the presidential elections that took place in July 2006—we share a similar assessment about the situation, but Dixyabit has to do a sound check now, and our conversation has to be cut short. He agreed to do an interview after their performance and walked into the main room.
Alejandro has dark messy hair, a serious expression and a subtle humor that he let’s show with certain restrain, but when he plays he becomes energized and moves constantly. The vocalist, Argelia Rivas is almost the total opposite; she has thick dark hair and wide lively eyes, she keeps a smile on her face and jokes constantly. She remains in constant movement and dances with small quick steps when she performs. Their set was short, and due to the absence of a formal stage, and the enthusiasm of their fans, Argelia had to share the microphone on a couple occasions. “Dias tontos y grises,” the first single from their album “Los Días Geométricos” and a cover of Alaska and Dynarama’s “Ni tu ni nadie” made people dance and sing along as cigarette smoke saturated the room.
“What did you guys think?” Argelia asked us with a wide smile on her face once the show was over. Nice! When did the record come out?” “It has been available for four months,” she replied. “Yes, we released it through Molecula Records,” a small indie label in Mexico City, “and Noise Kontrol distributes it.”
“Alejandro, how do you guys compose and perform the music?”
“We’re a techno-pop and electronic group because we play with virtual, rather than analogous instruments, but we really have the structure of a rock band because that’s how the songs come about. We then adapt the songs to the structure of software—that is—creating the drumbeats with software but when we perform, we play everything, but the drumbeats live. We then integrate the lyrics, which I write an Argelia sings.”
“And how did you become the vocalist for Dixybait, Argelia?”
“Well, Alejandro had a vocalist in mind and we knew she was experienced and had her own band, but when she auditioned for the group we didn’t like the outcome, so he asked me to help him with the vocals and we liked it so I became the lead singer.”
“In addition to the single, what other plans do you guys have for Dixybait in the next months?”
Well, our first single “Dias tontos y grises” is getting some radio airplay, and we’re going to launch the video in January.” And you’ve been touring, right? I asked Argelia, “We’ve also been touring all over Mexico, and we have an invitation to go to Colombia, which is not set yet, but the invitation is there”. “Yes”, said Alejandro with an enthusiastic look on his face, “but until we’re sitting on the plane we won’t be able to say much about it!”
México, D.F. November 2006
For more information about Dixybait visit: www.myspace.com/dixybait