Meet REME$A, the Anonymous New York Producer Making Robot Dembow

Née: Abraham Antigua
Raíces: Long Island, New York
Sounds like…If robots made dembow.
You should listen to REME$A because…he provides a glimpse into an extremely danceable, dystopian future.

We live in an age of branding – a time when it’s almost as important to have the right Instagram grid as it is to make memorable music. That’s why keeping your identity and your craft separate can still feel revolutionary, even though the concept of remaining anonymous as an artist isn’t necessarily new. For REME$A, a producer from New York, staying faceless is a conscious decision to keep the focus squarely on the music.

Though he was raised on Long Island, Abraham Antigua has lived everywhere from his native Dominican Republic to San Francisco. It’s that diversity of experience that has unsettled his attachment to place-based sounds. Instead, REME$A has found his own lane – a take on dembow that often has more in common with instrumental hip-hop and early drum and bass than it does with today’s reggaeton landscape or even moombahton.

Now back on the East Coast, REME$A acknowledges New York’s influence on his music, but describes a world with fewer borders, where personal taste takes precedence over physical location. “Having some kind of existing reference point to some new sound is more important than your location,” he explains. As he shrewdly notes, “There are people in Japan making footwork.”

The mysterious artist’s page is relatively new. But REME$A’s tracks feel more polished than your average SoundCloud producer, or even a novice’s first foray into music production. “I have been making loops since I was a teenager,” he says, “But I never actually finished a track until earlier this year.”

The time he spent cultivating his sound led him to create the potent club cocktail he makes now. It’s a recontextualization of the dembow rhythm that resembles what peers like LSDXOXO and Mexico’s NAAFI collective are known for.

Songs like “Lele” feel like a spaced-out adventure into the tropics, while “Guandules” feels like it’s straddling the fence between traditional dembow and industrial stabs you’d hear coming from a Brooklyn warehouse party.

Perhaps because of the veil of secrecy surrounding his IRL identity, REME$A communicates visually through cover art, which often references the sonic environments he creates. The artwork for “Sica,” for example, pairs two disparate images – a volcano erupting in the background and REME$A’s logo reimagined with bananas. They work in unison, mirroring the ominous, machine-like kick drums that open the song, and the kinetic blur of dembow-driven energy that closes it.

For a stripped-down version of dembow, REME$A’s work never lacks intent or impact. It nods to hip-hop and drum and bass, Santo Domingo and San Francisco. After years of study, REME$A has finally put the pieces of the puzzle together.