Afrobeta, Miami’s favorite homegrown electro-pop duo, can’t seem to slow down. Cristina "Cuci" Amador and Tony Smurphio have been on the scene for about 14 years, during which time they've racked up gigs at just about every Magic City-based venue and festival, as well as notched performances in places as far-flung as Ibiza and South Korea. Whether in the studio or on the stage, they boast a seemingly bottomless reservoir of energy and endurance the rest of us wish we could possess.
“We are huge fans of the Electric Kif,” Smurphio tells New Times. “They are making some incredible music, and they are our friends. We play with them all the time, and they are anchoring down Miami’s live scene right now.”
This isn’t Afrobeta's first remix of an Electric Kif track; the duo previously reworked “Spider” in 2018. Afrobeta's affinity for "The Birds" prompted the redux. “We picked this song because we like birds,” Smurphio quips.
Electric Kif’s works are all instrumental. The original version of "The Birds" is slower and groovier, full of electric guitars, a strong bass, and a steady kick. Afrobeta picked up the tempo to 90 BPM and, most noticeable, added vocals courtesy of Amador.
“When it comes to remixing, I definitely have my ideas, but there was something in the way Tony created the beat that grew an inspiration,” Amador explains. “A lot of times when I write stories for a song, I try to tell a story from both sides; this time it was the story of the bird visiting the flower, but from the flower's perspective.”
Amador and Smurphio’s jubilant demeanor is as infectious in conversation as it is on record. He repeatedly interjects “Brilliant! Brilliant!” as she explains the creative process behind "The Birds."
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In addition to mixing Amador’s gentle and distorted vocal arrangement into the track, Afrobeta also added its signature rhythm and melody. Smurphio says their remix offers a more glitch-hop sound that appeals to Miami's bass-receptive crowds. And the track's insistent tropical feel is sure to keep feet moving. “The Birds” has already received acclaim from the Miami crowd; the duo has been playing the previously unreleased track for the past couple of weeks and plans to keep it in set lists for the foreseeable future.
Aside from dropping the new remix, Amador and Smurphio are working on their next album, Illusion Motel. Expect one of its singles to be the Miami-centric “Chancletazo.” Before then, the'll add another local venue to their resumé when they play a funk-and-disco-oriented DJ set at Minnie’s Disco in Wynwood this Friday, January 17, followed by a visit to Otto Von Schirach’s party at Churchill's Pub Saturday, January 18.
Amador and Smurphio say they're grateful for all of the talent circulating throughout Miami and the bonds and relationships they've formed in the city's creative community over the past 14 years. “The Miami music scene is so supportive of each other,” Amador says. “They go to each other's shows, and we are fans of each other’s work."
The remix of "The Birds" has a distinctly Miami feel, and it's no wonder Afrobeta has become a favorite in its hometown and even garnered fans around the world. Whether in an ornately decorated disco or the intractable mess of Churchill's, the sound of Afrobeta just feels right.