Miami's XYZA Collective Celebrates First Anniversary: "It's About Unique Sounds"

A year ago, Telescope Thieves' Mario De Los Santos was feeling pretty lonely.

"I always felt like the odd guy out," he says. "At the time, if you were a producer or a beat maker, you'd get booked for shows and be the only beat maker among guys with bands."

He was looking for peers to push and inspire him, like-minded musicians with whom he could talk shop or share a rough draft of a new track. And then, XYZA happened.

Neither a band, nor a record label, it is a collective of independent electronic music producers who come together to share tricks of the trade, help each other find bookings, and feel like they belong to something. Founded by four dudes in March 2014, the group has since expanded to include a dozen musicians. And next month, XYZA will celebrate its first anniversary with a proper showcase at Bardot Miami.

See also: Meet the XYZA Collective, Miami's 12-Member Electronic Music Crew

"All of a sudden, we're at 12 members, and I'm like, 'Where were all these guys?," De Los Santos says. "We could have been doing way cooler shows."

Though Telescope Thieves and a couple of others were around for the formation of XYZA, De Los Santos gives all of the credit for the group's direction and vision to Matt Palma, AKA Palmdays.

"It's his baby," he says. "I can't speak for him, but just from watching, I think he's really about finding unique sounds. He doesn't want to have a bunch of people that sound the same, and his other level is just having it be a really Miami thing."

XYZA is unique in a sea of sonically-driven, border-crossing dot-com collectives. Instead of basing XYZA around a sound, Palma puts geography at the center of the mix, capturing and mentoring the many facets and volumes of Miami's emerging musical spectrum. The result is a diverse line-up of 12 musicians blending their influences and pooling their knowledge for the benefit of each unique voice.

"It's very eclectic, so for the show it's going to be pretty cool," De Los Santos says. "If you come in from the beginning, you're going to hear a lot of different electronic sounds."

Not to say there isn't a common element.

"We party like crazy," he laughs. "Every time we have a show, we get live, so be able to come get drunk with us and get wavy."

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XYZA 1-Year Anniversary with Telescope Thieves, Lautios, Brightwing, Phantasman, The Gamma Bot, Pazmal, and more. Sunday, March 8, at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Ages 21 and up. The party starts at 10 p.m., and cover is free. Call 305-576-5570, bardotmiami.com.

Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.

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