Afrobeta to Debut New Album at Libertine

The walls were so thin at their old place that Afrobeta could hear the parade of hookers marching in and out of their neighbor’s apartment. Luckily, the Miami natives invited us to their new home/studio for this interview.

Their friend AholSniffsGlue’s ubiquitous artwork covers a wall next to the new and improved Afrobeta palace. Smurphio and Cuci Amador, the two members of Afrobeta, have a little garden in their backyard where they grow their own produce. Cuci went vegan last May. Smurphio is “approximately 87 percent vegan but 100 percent the neighborhood’s crazy-cat dude.” 

Also in their backyard, guarded by their nine-pound dog, Suki, is the Afrobeta studio where they write, record, practice, and just recently mastered Telekinetic Walrus’ new album. There are enough instruments to arm an orchestra: a baker’s dozen of keyboards and a six-pack of guitars sit patiently waiting to be played. The UltraNova synthesizer was a 2010 Christmas present from Cuci to Smurphio, but it's his new Roland synthesizers that made Smurphio shimmer with joy like a newborn mother. 

Before Afrobeta, Smurphio played these instruments when he was backing Suénalo and Pitbull. Afrobeta brilliantly remixed Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” here, and the duo recorded quality originals for their upcoming indie electro album, Dream About You, in the studio. The two also did interesting remixes of Family Guy and Looney Tunes theme music here. You can give those tracks a listen at the group's SoundCloud page.   
Needless to say, Afrobeta marches to the beat of its own drum. The group is even distributing its newest album in a wonderfully creative way. “Our new album is a USB bracelet," says Smurphio. "It’s fashionable, and fans can wear it, and it’s rewritable, so after they download our music, they can put whatever they want on there and just wear it around town. CDs are dead."   

On Thursday night at Libertine, Afrobeta will celebrate its latest video and single, “Dream About You.” The song is part R&B and part electro, sexy and smooth. This will be the pair's fourth video, and it was shot in their neighborhood and at Railroad Blues. The video stars their current neighbor and friend, a 91-year-old gal from across the street (not the one with the hooker parade), who plays a future version of Cuci.   

In the studio, Cuci and Smurphio offered an impromptu preview of their upcoming remix of the Beatles classic “Because.” Cuci has a beautiful voice, and Smurphio is one with the keys, obviously an extremely creative musician and producer. He couldn't resist paying a quick tribute to one of his idols, Eddie Van Halen, with a spot-on slice of  “Jump."

It’s easy to put a lot of bands in a box and give them a label, but it's not easy to do that with Afrobeta, and they’re aware, "Our fans can range from an 8-year-old girl to a 65-year-old man," Cuci says.

While Smurphio was helping Mr. 305 graduate to Mr. Worldwide, Cuci was freestyle battling at Tallahassee’s Cow Haus while attending Florida State. They both love Rabbit in the Moon and were able to hang with them when they played 2010 Ultra Music Festival in Brazil. They have fond memories of playing jazz tunes on the hotel piano bar with RITM’s, Bunny, and David Christophere. They have a track called “After Hours” on Crystal Method’s latest album and love to hang at their studio when they’re in L.A. They’ve played Burning Man, Glastonbury Festival, Space Ibiza, and Identity Festival. And they’ll be playing several fall 2015 dates in the northeast U.S. with fellow Miamians Telekinetic Walrus. 

They're one of Miami's most interesting acts, partially because fans never know what to expect from them next. Sometimes, Afrobeta doesn't even know.

“We were more dance-music-sounding six years ago. We’re more indie electro now. We’re more downtempo. Our new single, 'Dream About You,' is more chill. We’re songwriters first, and we love to write and play for our friends on acoustics," Cuci says. "We’re certainly not mainstream dance music. We’re definitely a hybrid. Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to narrow our focus.

Afrobeta. Doors open at 10 p.m. Show starts at 1 a.m. Thursday, August 6, at Libertine, 40 NE 11th St, Miami; 305-363-2120; Admission is free. Ages 21 and up.