Not surprisingly, forced quarantine has induced DJs to shift from touring to producing. Few of Miami's homespun producers have embraced the concept more than Luca Medici and Delbert Perez, the minds behind INVT (pronounced innovate). Launched in 2015, the music and art project quickly became a major player in Miami’s underground dance scene.
INVT's latest album, Extrema, released May 1 via Bandcamp, is layered in thoughtful synergy. It’s a summation of various electronic genres INVT loves: ambient, breaks, garage, and techno. But more than anything, the record pays homage to Medici and Perez's roots in dubstep
Before 2011, when dubstep exploded into wanton whomps, the U.K.-born sound was less bass-driven and more percussion focused.
“It came back with our love for dubstep,” Perez says of Extrema's back-to-basics approach. “This record feels like it went full-circle with minimal dubstep.”
Medici and Perez are only 22 — much too young to remember late-'90s dubstep — yet Extrema demonstrates their musical maturity and a long-standing friendship that dates back to middle school. At times the new record feels vintage in design and reminiscent of a slow, sotto-voce extension of dance music.
“Primera Vista” kicks things off, giving the listener the sense they've suddenly and unintentionally walked in on a Polynesian fire dance. Heady bass bounces around a hazy melody and tribal-sounding drum patterns, a stitched-together percussion sound that's embedded within INVT’s DNA.
"There’s a lot of influence from our own Latin roots,” Medici says. “I’m from Uruguay, and there’s a huge drum culture there. We have both been interested in drums, and we're always incorporating the percussion.”
Indeed, on Extrema, that slow, methodical drum pattern becomes a repeated motif.
The fifth track, “Moto,” combines all of INVT's passions into five minutes of mesmerizing breaks and bongos, an ambient synth, and barely intelligible vocals, culminating with an eerie, stripped-down, acid-inspired pulse. It's both light enough to relax to and heavy enough to dance.
Medici and Perez conceived the drilling techno-centric bass and gritty riffs of “Sacred Space” back in 2019 but never quite found the right project for them. Rather than trying to cram it in where it probably didn't belong, they shelved the cut.
“We started that one in Danny Daze’s studio. It was from one of the first sessions,” Medici says.
Adds Perez: “We never had the songs that supported that vibe, but now it all fell into place."
In five short years, INVT has played Miami’s leading underground events and venue spaces, including III Points, Floyd, and Boiler Room's Black Friday warehouse party last November. The two also host The Gás Station, a monthly online radio segment on Klangbox.FM. When they can, Medici and Perez strive for spontaneity, staging live sets that require labyrinths of gear and cables.
Though they lean toward creating their own sounds, as quarantine morphed from prospect to inevitability, the duo released a sample pack to share with other producers.
Says Medici: “We thought: What tool could we give [producers and DJs] who are now staying home that’ll give out some good vibes and inspire people to make some cool tracks?"
Aside from constant producing — to date, 16 releases are available on Bandcamp — INVT remains more than a music project. Like many acts these days, the duo uses fashion to connect with fans. For Medici, who started making clothes in high school, it was a natural extension. Under the INVT moniker, the partners now repurpose clothing into one-of-a-kind items.
The clothing line, coincidentally, became another outlet of support.
“The majority of people buying the clothing are fans of the music,” Medici says. "I also see people who are into fashion but don’t necessarily like that kind of music show up at our show.”
No matter the medium, INVT continues to draw inspiration from Miami's diverse music scene. Usually, twentysomething locals are looking for an escape route out of South Florida, yet Medici and Perez appreciate what's being built right here.
“The community is sick as hell,” Medici says. “The scene right now in Miami is something I have never experienced, and I can bet that there aren’t too many scenes in the country that are like this. Our scene is unique because there is love — it’s very much about helping people and supporting other artists at the club or rave.”
Agrees Perez: “Miami is a place where there’s a lot of creatives, and people are comfortable making whatever they’re making.”
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