Why you should care
Because this music is like a time capsule.
Off the Record: Real talk with a fresh wave of musical influencers who will be making moves onto your new playlist. Watch the rest of this OZY original series here.
Relaxed “sha-la-las” float above the throwback synth and rhythmic handclaps. The cowbell comes in loud and clear. Cue the instrumental interlude. Andrés Jaime taps one foot, jiving to the music as he slams down notes on the keyboard.
Jaime is laying down his original, ’80s-infused tracks, but the tiny, slim-cut-jeans-wearing DJ from Mexico was born in 1996. A black X on the back of one hand signals that there’s no alcohol allowed for the under-21-year-old at the SXSW venue where he’s performing. Jaime learned about the ’80s from his father, who introduced his son to his favorites, stalwarts like Michael Jackson and Prince. Music has always called Jaime — as a child he was glued to the television, watching MTV, and he was known for grabbing a trash can and a pair of spoons to drum up beats. Now he’s producing tracks from his bedroom in Mexico City and has put off college until he has more time for studying. He’s focused on his career at the moment; besides, school never felt like a priority. “I don’t know,” he says, shrugging. “It’s been a really good and fast ride up. I can’t believe I’m here.”
After playing with a band, Jaime has gone solo with a project he calls Wet Baes — the name is inspired by the sweaty, hard-dancing female groupies of the ’80s. As Wet Baes, he released his first EP, Youth Attraction, in 2015, and he’s started gearing up for his first album drop. In the meantime, he’s producing tracks for other musicians in Mexico and playing festivals, including SXSW, Bahidorá and Ruido Fest. Tracks like “Dancing in the Dark” (yes, like the Springsteen song) tap into the isolated, lonely side of Jaime — a musician distanced from the time period he loves — while recent ones like “Changes” feel more optimistic.
As ’80s music has its moment — thanks in part to Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers and the Netflix hit Stranger Things, with its synthy Survive soundtrack — Jaime could be uniquely positioned to take off. He’s already caught the attention of Latin culture magazine Remezcla, which said of one of his latest tracks, “The effective bounce of that palm-muted two-note guitar riff, and the sassy vocals, all evoke an inimitable elegance.”
For now, Jamie is independent and unsigned to a label. “I believe that those things are going to happen with time,” he says. He’s got the time — and kinda likes the liberty.
Video by Nat Roe. Text by Libby Coleman.