There are about two-and-a-half painfully long weeks before Miamians can shake their asses under the giant disco ball at Mana once again, allowing attendees time to get acquainted with some of III Points' local acts and properly prepare their systems for a weekend of sonic warfare.
From III Points' inception, the festival has championed local musicians and artists, giving them the chance to share a bill with internationally acclaimed acts. Miami is crawling with talent just waiting to be heard. So while you're in the
Ghostflower. Founding members of Hollywood's art-rock electronica trio Leaf Boehm (vocal, synth) and Andrey Ducuara (guitar, synth, beats) met online and began creating music together in December 2017. After several lineups, Jake Lara (bass, synth, vocal) eventually joined the band. Little did they know that in just over a year, they'd be slated to play the highly anticipated festival.
For the first time, III Points gave local bands and producers with original music the opportunity to perform at its III Points Open House. Like a handful of other acts on III Points' 2019 lineup, Ghostflower applied to showcase its music at that open house last August after a member from local band Moongazer encouraged them to try out. Ducuara says of the experience, "It was really interesting. We didn't know what to expect." Laughing, he says, "It was very strange because it was almost like that American Idol kind of thing... We've never done anything like it."
The III Points team selected acts to perform in a limited number of spots at the 2019 festival, with Ghostflower among the lucky few. "The [III Points] lineup is pretty amazing. To even be a part of that is just a little mind-blowing," Ducuara says. The band has played smaller local DIY festivals such as For the Love Music Festival and the Perfect Trip: Miami Psych Fest, but nothing on the scale of III Points.
So what can fans expect from Ghostflower's III Points debut? "Our sets are always very varied. There's a lot of dynamic changes in the music for sure," Ducuara says. "From song to song, it's kind of a salad of influences,"
Adds Ducuara, "The songs tie into each other throughout the whole set. We want to make an experience of sorts, almost like watching a whole film or reading a book, something like that."
The band released its first single, "Groceries," in December and hopes to release an EP (or two) soon. "Our music has gone through changes. When people are expecting the first EP, it's gonna be a lot of acoustic, drums, and bass, kind of basic band format. We don't have a drummer; we've been playing with all electronic. It's been
Ducuara says, "[Performing at III Points] is like a
Catch Ghostflower's set at III Points Saturday, February 16.
Sister System. If you've been paying attention to the low-key operatives of DIY Miami, then Alexis Sosa-Toro, better known as Sister System, is a DJ with whom you're familiar. Sosa-Toro has played and helped produce some of the scene's most exciting events, such as the Black Friday Rave and the Warehouse Rave with Omnidisc and Space Tapes.
The 22-year-old made her debut as a DJ and played her first show in front of a crowd last year at a party at 229 Warehouse. Inspired by a passion for music and throwing events, she honed her skills as a DJ about a year prior to her first show and hasn't looked back. "Learning the process and the skill set and just the knowledge of the culture really inspired me to really experiment with new sounds," Sosa-Toro says. "I encountered Omnidisc, which was something that I related to and branched me out to a whole new genre of dance music. So I've pretty much stayed to electro and techno from there and kind of a more European-leaning style."
The DJ credits her friendships with scene staples such as III Points' Santi Vidal (True Vine) and Club Space's/Space Tapes' Jonathan Trujillo (Jonny From Space) for allowing her to "progress in a tighter community." She values her bonds with local collectives such as Space Tapes, Internet Friends, and (F)empower, which have all contributed to her success.
"That's the easiest thing about Miami. It [doesn't] really have this competitive edge like New York or exclusiveness like L.A. Miami is very inviting. You can be active and engaged in the scene here as long as you're a consistent supporter," she says. "As long as you attend the events and support people's projects, you're pretty much accepted by the community."
Sosa-Toro has been active in that community for the past four years and assisted III Points cofounder David Sinopoli with hospitality gigs during his time at the now-defunct Bardot. She has also volunteered for the festival. "I've always been a supporter
Her talent, hard work, and dedication didn't go unnoticed.
This year, she'll perform for the first time at III Points in a back-to-back set with Jonny from Space on the Omnidisc stage. She'll also work at the fest and facilitate an activation the previous Friday. Sosa-Toro dishes: "We're spending a lot of time looking for records. We won't spin vinyl, but I'm definitely looking for very unique tracks that stand out to Miami." She laughs, "That'll be more or less a non-Shazam-able set we're trying to go for." She plans to travel to New York prior to the festival to explore local record shops in preparation for the show. "For our set, we definitely wanted to come from a selector's mindset and really dig for tracks that we feel are unique to not only the
"[Performing at III Points] is almost like an emblem of encouragement," she says.
Catch Sister System's set at III Points Sunday, February 17.
Butterfly Snapple. When David Sinopoli declares a band one of the Miami music acts to watch in 2019, you listen. He recently told New times: "They're like Flying Lotus meets BadBadNotGood." Fusing hip-hop, jazz, and electronic music, Butterfly Snapple got its shot at gracing the stages of the coveted fest by auditioning at the III Points Open House and blowing Sinopoli away. T
Guitarist Diego Melgar recalls what gave the band its initial push to apply. "I had played at the Miami Psych Fest with my own project over the summer, and Carter Jackson-Brown, who works with the III Points people, was there and heard us," he says. "So he recommended we play for the open house auditions." The band wrote a three-part suite for its tryout, and after the show, Sinopoli offered the group a spot on the III Points lineup that night.
"For the festival," Melgar says, "we're going to be performing music we've been working on for the past couple months." The band recently recorded the live tracks for its EP, due out this year, at Rat Bastard's studio. "Our music is really improvisational, so often on a stage, these arrangements or ideas for the songs will happen, and if we really like them, we'll just put it in the bank and on the next show kind of do it again and keep refining it." He adds, "For this EP that we recorded, we just worked away at these songs until they were at a place where we liked them, organically, just from live settings. We never sat down and said, 'Oh, this should be like this; this part should go here.' We just figured it out onstage."
The band formed while its members were jazz students at the University of Miami, with John Meeske (drums), Chris Thompson-Taylor (tenor saxophone), Melgar, and Sean Doohan (guitar). The group went through lineup changes after some members left Miami. Butterfly Snapple's current lineup is composed of John Small (live electronics), Zander Ambrose (drums), Camilo Velez (bass), and Melgar. They will be joined onstage at III Points by original drummer Meeske for some "double drum action."
Melgar says, "For us, performing at III Points is a very three-dimensional thing. You shouldn't really need outer validation, but it's nice to know someone likes our music enough to put us on this platform for more people to hear it." He adds, "All of us internally so strongly believe in our music — that's the only way it can really happen when you're improvising in the way we do. You can't half-ass it. To know that other people are listening and are catching on to what we're trying to do, that's just very motivating for us to keep going... It's an amazing opportunity career-wise."
The band recently collaborated with Rat Bastard and Will Buck at Bastard's studio for the unreleased III Points compilation. Melgar also shares that Butterfly Snapple will begin a monthlong residency at Floyd February 21 and will bring in special guests every week to perform album tributes.
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"It's kind of wild," Melgar admits. "We're always a little bit stunned because [these opportunities] appeared. We work hard at our
He adds, "Every once in a while, [my roommate and band member] John and I will be having dinner and just be like, 'Man, how did this happen? What did we do?' We didn't do anything. It just kind of occurred."
Catch Butterfly Snapple's debut III Points performance Sunday, February 17.