Natalia Roth Gives Miami Fortified Techno While Catching the Ears of Label Bosses

Natalia Roth
Natalia Roth Photo by Andres Ordonez
Natalia Roth is all too familiar with adversity, whether environmentally, anatomically, or electronically. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, the DJ/producer returned to San Juan from work abroad when Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Three years ago, annoyed with the industry's impossible standards and mentally draining critiques, Roth gave up her modeling career. And last week, her laptop broke, and she lost her works-in-progress as a result.

Still, in the last three years, the 22-year-old has made a name for herself in Miami, often sharing the decks on the terrace at Club Space with headliners and producing music for tour-de-force minimal-techno labels. 

Miami's endless nightlife often overshadows the Caribbean rave scene where Roth happened to fall upon one faithful night in San Juan.

"I was starting to go out and experience which environment I wanted to party and socialize in," Roth tells New Times. "There's a lot of bars in Puerto Rico, but I was so bored. I stumbled on this little dance floor inside a little bar."

Roth, who played instruments and sang at a young age, felt a different hit from the electronic noise.

"I couldn't help but feel — I don't know, freeing," she says. "I started to go to the parties more, and I was like, 'Why not DJ? I can do it for my friends and hang out.'"

Roth soon submerged herself in the scene and played her first gig at San Juan's Atlantic Room in 2017.

"I started playing in San Juan around that time, and then the hurricane hit, so I moved to Miami," she says. "Incorporating yourself into a new scene can be complicated; everyone has their own cliques. Those were pretty tough barriers for me to get into the scene."

Roth executed two pivotal shifts. First was the move from San Juan to Miami, where she found a local modeling agency quickly enough to secure a job. Secondly, the modeling industry's toxicity irritated Roth that she left the field altogether and turned to DJ'ing and producing — a theoretically more inclusive area where skill trumps appearance.

"Before COVID, there was always something about modeling that would put me down," Roth says. "You need to lose weight, you need to be tanner, you need to do this, you need to do that. I really enjoyed the job, but in the end, it wasn't worth my mental health. Whenever I'm DJ'ing though, it doesn't matter."

Roth became entranced in Miami's underground scene and a Club Space regular. She worked the Club Space VIP door for a bit, but she transitioned from staff to DJ between the pandemic and working on her production.
While not a bonafide resident, Roth spins exclusively at Club Space, playing the Eleventh Street compound whenever she isn't touring. Roth first cut her teeth on the venue's terrace last January, where she played back-to-back with Ms. Mada during a Loco Dice party.

Her latest gig was at last weekend's Hocus Pocus event, where she spun alongside Space resident DJ Danyelino and has an upcoming set at the Ben Klock and Marcel Dettmann showing at the club's outdoor venue, Space Park, later this month.

What should be an inclusive environment, the nightlife scene often sees female-identifying DJs and producers met with Paris Hilton-like skepticism.

"There is a stigma with girl DJs because people can't accept the fact that someone can be into music and actually produce music without looking manly," she explains. "I refuse to let go of my femininity because of a career that I'm choosing."

Roth challenges the moth-eaten criticism by producing minimal techno for labels like Inwave and Dubfire's Sci+Tec. "It was a great opportunity for me," Roth explains of her Sci+Tec release, Sérial Noceur. "Dubfire really gave me a big chance. I was super happy with how it came out."

She also has a collaboration with Spanish producer Enzo Leep set to be released on French label Lescale Recordings in January. Roth aims to create minimal techno that coexists with lighthearted dance floors and newcomers — a divergence from a subgenre known for its bare-bones repetition and cerebral production that isn't the easiest to tap into.

For example, Roth played dreary minimal rhythms during her Boiler Room set while looping in the 1986 dreamy synth-pop song "Hablando a Tu Corazón" by Charly García and Pedro Aznar.

Roth also literally brought the party with her when she moved to Miami. Her party series, Melódie, spurred in San Juan and pushed for lively minimal music that limelights local DJs with parties at both ATV Records and, more recently, at Floyd.

Melódie is also turning into a record label, with a first release in the works.

"It's a party brand that I've been working on since I was in Puerto Rico," Roth explains. "I just want to showcase good music and have fun. That's why our tickets are cheap — just come, listen to good music, and get lost."
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Grant Albert is a writer born and raised in Miami. He likes basset hounds, techno, and rock climbing — in that order.
Contact: Grant Albert