Buscabulla, the tropi-pop duo of Luis Alfredo del Valle and Raquel Berrios, is no stranger to the storm. After meeting and falling in love – romantically and creatively – while attending New York’s underground music scene in the mid-2000s, the couple, nurturing a new recording contract and a young child, decided to return to their native Puerto Rico just as the island reeled from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Maria.

Released last year as the number of coronaviruses increased and the future of live music seemed in jeopardy, Regresa, the duo’s debut album, is a meditation on the fallout Del Valle and Berrios witnessed in the aftermath of the storm, as well as the island’s lingering problems. The tenacity of Buscabulla’s growing fanbase and the support of his peers – both in the underground scene and by tops like Bad Bunny – got them through the hurdles of 2020 in stride.

Looking on the bright side, Berrios says she’s happy with how everything turned out.

“People have really been able to live with the record for a while, and a year and a half later they can see it live,” she says.

With a little extra time to metabolize the duo’s latest work, NPR tapped into Regresa as one of “Best albums of 2020” and the record peaked at number 15 on billboards Table of Latin pop albums.

As the year draws to a close, the group embark on a tour of the United States, with plans for more extended dates in the summer of 2022 – a rollout strategy other groups appear to be adopting after the pandemic, and that works well. for the couple as young multitasking parents. Fans who missed the Buscabulla shoot at III Points in October will have the chance to see the duo live again on Wednesday, November 24 at the Ground.

Del Valle also has an optimistic view of the album’s less than ideal timing.

“We had to think a lot along the way, but we learned a lot of new skills,” he says.

In addition to filming and editing a music video, countless livestreams and their individual production projects – including Del Valle’s recent production credit on Rick Moon’s latest single, “Faulty Design” – and a Together with rising reggaeton star Jhay Cortez, the pair have also embarked on a new art form: the remix.

“Remixing uses a whole different part of your brain,” notes Del Valle, “but it’s super fun.”

Immediately after the release of a remix album for Regresa in December 2020, Buscabulla released remixes for the track “La Luz” by Kali Uchis, “Too Late” by Washed Out from last year Purple midi, and Poolside High Season.

All of this seems to pose the question: where would Buscabulla be today if the pandemic hadn’t stifled the duo’s momentum?

Go back to the mid-years, when the members of Buscabulla still clashed with long winters in Brooklyn. The duo’s project blossomed when Berrios showed his future bandmate and husband demos on his computer.
“They were awesome,” Del Valle said, still with audible awe. “She had this guerrilla way of producing, where she hooked up two decks through Serato and GarageBand and also her microphone. It was an insane setup, but it really worked.”

With Berrios’ zealous experimental process and Del Valle’s more technical approach, they fleshed out great ideas in byte-sized arrangements, and the project began to take shape. This back and forth of ideas has remained Buscabulla’s crux over the years, albeit with slightly more updated equipment and a more finely tuned skill set.

“We try to keep things fresh. Sometimes we put our production equipment together in the car and drive it somewhere with a panoramic view and produce from there,” says Del Valle. “We use different methods, but the DNA remains the same: it comes from Raquel’s mind, and I interpret it into a material thing.”

However, creating with someone you are in love with is not always easy.

“It’s not without challenges and frustrations,” said Del Valle. “We work and make music together, raise our daughter together and we are a couple.”

By now, Buscabulla has learned to juggle these different aspects of their relationship.

Berrios was seven months pregnant with their daughter when they recorded their eponymous EP, produced by R&B scholar Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, who is now their label mate on Domino Records.

“I would pick her up from my friends after playing a show, and I would be so tired that I would go to bed with my stage makeup still on, and Charlie would wake up with glitter all over his face,” Berrios recalls. “It was our little wild life.”

After releasing the EP to rave reviews and touring with a young child in tow, the pair followed it up with the equally beloved. PE II, who saw Buscabulla collaborate with acousto-electric pop group Helado Negro, later supporting him on tour. After performing sold out at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, in the presence of the owner of Ribbon (a brand of Domino Records), they were immediately persuaded to join the label.

The recording deal gave them the boost and money to finally return home to Puerto Rico, build a home studio, and get down to business. The fruit of their labor contemplates the harsh reality the couple faced after returning to the island and communicates a deeply relatable sense of grief.

“In Regresa, I’m talking about Puerto Rico, but I think in a way I’m also talking about what our generation experienced compared to previous generations, ”says Berrios. “Puerto Rico has been in economic crisis for over a decade. now and passed by Maria, and we’ve seen things fall apart. The record is sad, but it is also supposed to bring hope. It’s “depression funk”, as our friend Reuben from the Unknown Mortal Orchestra coined. ”

Being part of the Domino family now always feels surreal to the couple.

“It was wild. For a long time, I had really admired Blood Orange, and Juana Molina was one of my favorite artists,” says Berrios. “Signing on Domino has always seemed like a long way off that we could achieve, but yet here we are. ”

Of the kind of live performance that fans of the group in Miami can expect from them, Del Valle says Buscabulla’s performance style is more energetic than ever.

“It’s an emotional experience,” he says. “On the records there is a balance of energy, but for our concerts we want to bring the songs to life and bring things to 11.”

Buscabulla. With Rick Moon. 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24 at Ground, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-357-6456; thegroundmiami.com. Tickets cost $ 15 to $ 20 via eventbrite.com.