Is Miami's Electronic Music Scene Actually Good Now? Nick León Thinks So.
a.k.a. An interview with the fast-rising Floridian artist.
Miami is “objectively better than New York.”
It’s a bold proclamation, but Nick León is well positioned to make it. Having lived in South Florida since he was a toddler, he’s now part of a Miami electronic music scene that’s begun to move beyond (or at least find room for something besides) EDM excess and bottle-service tech house.
Over the past few years, a fresh crop of Miami artists have emerged, many of them blending Latin rhythms with modern electronic and club sounds. Others have also dug a bit deeper into the city’s music history, taking cues from Miami bass, freestyle, electro and even IDM, all which once flourished there during decades past. What these artists they’re doing isn’t wholly new—South Florida natives like Jubilee and Danny Daze have been waving the Miami flag for years now, albeit while largely building their careers elsewhere—but León and his contemporaries are striving to take things a step further and grow their scene into something that “serious” electronic music artists and fans will not just respect, but actively recognize as a hotbed of quality (i.e. not corny) nightlife and creative innovation.
León’s own music has certainly contributed to that effort. During the past few years, he dropped releases—many of them bearing traces of reggaeton, perreo and other Latin sounds—via labels like N.A.A.F.I, Future Times, TraTraTrax and DJ Florentino’s Club Romántico imprint, and he also recently scored a prized production credit on Rosalía’s massive Motomami LP. Next week, he’ll be returning to TraTraTrax with the new Xtasis EP, and with that on the horizon, I figured he might be up for a chat. Over the course of a long conversation last weekend, we spoke at length about his music (and the role of Latin sounds and culture within it), but we also talked a lot about his adopted hometown, and specifically how its unique makeup and musical history has now given rise to a crop of intriguing new sounds and artists. His pro-Miami perspective likely won’t convince everyone—at least not yet—but even skeptics will find it hard to deny that León’s excitement and optimism about where the city is headed has an undeniable appeal.