Nuevo Noise: Dominican Producer Collides Merengue and 80s Synthwave


In “Nuevo Noise: Meet Adriel, the Dominican Producer Colliding Merengue and 80s Synthwave,” Remezcla’s Cheky features Dominican producer (808DR co-founder) Adriel and his hybrid beats:

Merengue and bachata may be the first genres to come to mind when we think of Dominican music, but for the past few years, the country’s electronic music scene has been booming. Stereoptico, the beloved underground label and collective based in the capital of Santo Domingo, has amassed an impressive array of beatmakers, including CohobaBacayne, and D∆MNBR, who flirt with hip-hop textures in their work. [. . .]

Indie festival Isle of Light, which celebrated its fourth edition earlier this year, has emerged as an important platform for local electronic talent, placing artists like MULAVolt Phonic, and Selektor 7 on the same stage as international juggernauts. Throw Mediopicky in the mix, and there’s no doubt the future is looking bright for electronic music in the Caribbean country.

23-year-old, La Romana-born Adriel is one young producer to watch; his track “Jevita,” featuring Jeremy García, is burning up our Spotify Nuevo Noise playlist. The 808DR crew co-founder has tried it all, from progressive house to French funk to retrofuturist 80s synth pop. With subtle references to Dominican pop culture and music history in his song titles and music, especially his latest full-length Merengue Dance Club, Adriel embodies the hybridity embraced by many of the country’s young producers, who are happy to reference quisqueyano culture in their work without being defined by it.

The producer was kind enough to talk to us about his origins, splitting his creativity between music and illustration, the making of “Jevita,” and more.

[. . .] There are plenty of Dominican references in song titles from your Merengue Dance Club album, and even in the form of samples, like in the track of the same name. Why is it important for you to represent your country’s idiosyncrasy in your work?
It’s as important as talking about myself. It’s what I grew up with. I might talk more about myself on a personal level [in my music] in the future, or about stories between my land and others. My next song is going to have elements like Merengue Dance Club does, and it will speak more about Dominican history.

[. . .] What’s the mission of 808DR in the context of the Dominican Republic’s electronic scene?
It’s a collective that gathers producers and creative minds, and its mission is to help its members through tips and advice regarding production, arts, and artistic direction. We also focus on live performances, and we’re open to collaborations. We give artists complete freedom to do what they want to, however they want to, without thinking, “This is what is on trend right now, and I do it even if I don’t like it.” That way, each of us creates content we can call our own. [. . .]

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