Dance Floor Philosopher DEBIT Warps Dance and Ambient Music on Debut Album ‘Animus’

Lead Photo: Photo by Maria Fernanda Molins. Courtesy of DEBIT
Photo by Maria Fernanda Molins. Courtesy of DEBIT

“Nadie Diga,” the first track off of Mexican-American producer DEBIT’s debut LP, is the song that plays when you enter a palace made of gold, marble, and Native Instruments’ Maschine Studio. The luxury gleams, the subterfuge of the court vibrates, but the chosen one cannot stop for such trivialities. DEBIT is trespassing the monied realms of the music industry, head held high, the “physics of music,” as she puts it, under examination and undergoing mutation. By the time “Mitosis” comes around, she is the incandescent supreme ruler herself. Animus’ wind chime-strung coda is titled “Epigone,” a word defined as “a less distinguished follower or imitator of someone, especially an artist or philosopher.” It’s a humble epilogue for a rather stunning ascendence.

But who expected anything less from her first full-length? The New York-based producer, whose moniker is a contraction of her two first names Delia and Beatriz, is one of the few NAAFI affiliates based in the United States (she’s originally from Monterrey, Mexico). DEBIT is a well-known gearhead who imbues her ambient and club tracks with an ungodly amount of contemplation — and there is a lot to think about outside the safety of the studio as well. When asked how she manages to rep for what is arguably Latin America’s most well-known club collective in the United States — one of the regions that periphery-focused NAAFI refuses to use as a cultural baseline — without falling into cliché, DEBIT says, “Personally, it’s challenging to navigate because of the fixed perspective of the people who consume us, who have little knowledge of the cultural diversity of our backgrounds.” The antidote is the bond of the far-flung crew itself. “Sometimes I think the affectionate richness we have among us is an aspect of our Mexican/Latino culture,” she says. “And that it is in heavy discord with this disgusting political time we are living in.”

Photo by Maria Fernanda Molins. Courtesy of DEBIT

DEBIT started learning her craft as a tender adolescent, experimenting with editing and recording software Audacity, Logic, and Max MSP. By the age of 21, she was making tracks, finding inspiration in “the experimental vanguard, and more scientific/academic music that involved speculative tech.” After graduating from college, she became “really into making my own little synths, DIY oscillators, pedals, and circuit bending.” She lived in a Buenos Aires artist collective where “three of us would stay up all night soldering our own circuits and making the strangest music.” For longevity’s sake, she eventually switched to Ableton Live, now her main process of production. As she describes it, Animus “is an experiment, but not so much experimental in the structures of the tracks,” she says. “The real speculative aspect of the work is rather trying to use genres as narrative tools and drawing a correlation between them.”

There is another thing about DEBIT, a facet that one hesitates to mention in a music write-up because it could contribute to this black hole of vapidity into which all non-cis male artists are chucked by media hacks. But it bears mentioning – her impeccable atrevida style, a high femme star shine rarely seen in the NAAFI constellation. DEBIT performs in high-cut bodysuits, or in heart-shaped pasties, or with impressive abdominals and how-dare-she nipples on full display.

Photo by Alan Balthazar. Courtesy of DEBIT

But she wasn’t always like this. “Until recently, I hadn’t managed to reconcile my vanity with my intellect,” she says. “The idea of checking in or making people around me comfortable based on what I was wearing ultimately castrated my creative energies in other areas. The atrevida nature is not entirely about sex or shock, it’s rather about a lifestyle of freedom and power, and also about fun and fashion. The extra ‘femme/feminine’ gender performance and image has turned out to be an armor that seems to intimidate a lot of the people IRL, creating this power barrier at parties that has been working out to my advantage.” Hers is an attitude that fits cleanly into — even while expanding — NAAFI’s reputation for music industry disruption. With blazing intellect on display in Animus, DEBIT locates herself within the upper echelons of today’s most cerebral producers. 

DEBIT’s Animus is out via NAAFI on February 23.