It’s midday in Lima, Peru, and Ángel Ballesteros, one third of experimental music trio Meth Math, has just woken up. Last night, she was out late shooting a music video with her friend and musician Daniela Lalita, all in preparation for the release of Meth Math’s debut album, Chupetones (“love bite” in Spanish), which drops on 2nd February.
“There’s a funfair going on around here and they let us shoot with lots of pigeons,” says Ballesteros, who travelled to Lima from her home in Mexico City for the occasion. “It was crazy good.” Meth Math, which includes producers Error.error (Efrén Coronado) and Bonsai Babies (To Robles), with Ballesteros on vocals, have been releasing music together since 2020. And they’ve already established a trademark sound: rave-ready, electronica-infused reggaeton, with a touch of emo.
The trio have released three singles in the run up to Chupetones. Both Mantis and Myspace feature the trio’s signature flavour of avant-garde reggaeton, dembow and heavily manipulated vocals. Their latest track, Cyberia, operates in the same universe, only with the volume and tempo cranked way up.
“With that song, I was thinking a lot about how almost all my friends and people who are very sensitive to the world often have mental health problems,” Ballesteros says, her curly mullet framing a pair of ’80s-style glasses. “It’s so confusing that life is so hard to understand sometimes. Cyberia is kind of my way of coping with the world. It’s like, let’s just dance in this weird dimension!”
Ballesteros met Coronado and Robles on Facebook, during a time when she felt particularly lost. At that point, she’d dropped out of school and enjoyed making art, but had never considered music as a serious vocation. “I moved back in with my parents, who didn’t want to support me,” she continues. “I was on Facebook and these random guys were like, “Let’s make some music!” And we never stopped. They’ve taught me so much. I never had any education in music before that, apart from teaching myself how to play Justin Bieber songs on the guitar, thanks to YouTube tutorials.”
Meth Math have come a long way since those days. But that’s not to say Ballesteros wants to leave the past behind her. In fact, one of Chupetones’ major themes is nostalgia and keeping hold of the heightened feelings that come with youth.
“My mum is very spiritual and she always used to ask me, ‘What’s your message to the world?’ Your art is so satanic!’” she says, laughing. “But I think all my songs are mantras – it’s about being fun and not so serious, and digesting information that might be boring in an interesting way.”
10% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
The more I grow up, the more I understand my mum and the things she’d say to me years ago. The best person in the world could tell me something, and I trust them, but I need to leave it up to myself.
20% If you were cooking to impress someone, what would you make?
I’d make a bowl of rice with loads of vegetables and sesame oil. That’s my thing. It’s like a hug that is full of flavours. I like cooking with whatever I’ve got in the fridge.
30% You rule the world for a day. What goes down?
So many things! I would regulate all factory waste. I’d make sure every family has a piece of land and a cow. I think that’s all I’d have time for.
40% What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I wake up, think about my dreams, then I’ll grab a drink. When my cats are with me, I stay with them for about 30 minutes, just stroking them and observing them. I love grabbing their paws.
50% How many selfies are on your phone right now?
Not many on this phone! I don’t take many selfies. When I was doing some modelling, I was very self-conscious about how I looked so I’d take more selfies. But now I don’t so much, unless I have an amazing look. But then I never do anything with them.
60% Best hangover cure?
Drinking lots of water and eating a meal before drinking. You have to pre-empt it and be conscious beforehand.
70% Love, like, hate?
I love deer. I like condensation, those little droplets of water are really satisfying. I hate injustice.
90% What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
I’ve struggled with order [and tidiness] all my life. I’m too chaotic.
100% What can artists do to help save the world?
Think about the message that they’re sending. If you’re saying something stupid but it makes someone think, that’s cool. But don’t say empty things.