Squid StillsJubilee on Florida, Gators, Bass, and Not Being About Negativity Andrew Friedman Is a good DJ set the last entirely ephemeral experience left? I’m not exactly blowing anybody’s mind by pointing out how now everything is downloadable, preserved on social media or on a server somewhere nefarious, and DVR’d for convenient review. Nor is it much of a revelation to point out that part of DJing is reading the room–not just the crowd but the vibe–and providing the appropriate soundtrack. Recordings of live sets may even reveal imperfections that nobody seemed to mind in context. But the value of a good DJ is even ephemeral on a macro scale: Parties start and end, music goes in and out of style, clubs open and close. It’s hard to explain what made things fun to anyone who wasn’t there, and the only reliable metric is who was there. And more often than not, for almost a decade Jubilee has been there whenever anything rad has gone down in Brooklyn’s ever-changing underground dance scene. Blessed with a keen ear and the range one gets growing up in the golden age of American raving in Miami, she is comfortable playing pretty much anything dance-friendly and bass-heavy from any corner of the planet. Gradually, Jubilee has shifted her focus to more permanent things. She recently teamed up with New York fashion fixture Opening Ceremony to release her second Magic City compilation, a collection of exclusives which reflect her musical aesthetic. She’s also been steadily upping her own skills as a producer; after a series of EP’s, she is slated to drop a debut album on Dre Skull’s Mixpak label in the fall. On Friday, she will join Dre and the rest of team Mixpak in London as one of four teams competing in Red Bull’s annual Culture Clash. [This interview occurred last week before Tuesday’s incident at the Disneyland Resort.] Let’s talk about this giant fucking golf course alligator. How often did you see gators growing up in Miami? All the time. Florida is a swamp so everybody has a canal in their backyard or super close by, and if the Everglades caught on fire (which is something that happens a lot) all the gators would migrate into your canals. You would look in your backyard and see like ten of those motherfuckers just hanging out. At what age do you learn how to run away from gators? Do they teach that in preschool? You didn’t specifically have a lesson, but you know from the very beginning of life to run in a wide zig zag if you’re getting chased. What’s the biggest gator you’ve seen? I’ve seen pretty big ones, not close up. When they’re in your backyard you just don’t go out there. But in the water I’ve seen a lot of big gators. When we were young we used to drive into the Everglades to party and drink. It’s so dangerous, you could sink, you could get stuck in the mud, you could flip over in the water and no one’s gonna find you. But we were stupid kids. Anyways, one time we got caught by the cops, they weren’t even mad we were drinking, they were like, “You’re gonna get eaten by a fuckin gator.” What was the rave scene like in a city as multicultural as Miami? I wouldn’t say the music was multicultural, but a lot of the breaks music came from Latin freestyle for sure. And even if the music wasn’t Hispanic, a lot of the people in the scene were. Instead of candy and UFO pants, it was just like how Cubans would dress to begin with, but like at a club. I was like chonga raver, but we all were. Nike viser upside down. cute halter top with big pants, and Aaliyah boxers underneath. Basically what I look like now. Do you put Miami Bass and freestyle on the same continuum? Yeah, I do. If you listen to some 2 Live Crew or DJ Laz, there’s a lot of freestyle songs. All that stuff was on the radio at the same time. When I used to use Serato, I just had a crate like that called “Miami.” Also when I think of Miami Bass, most people think of Luke, but we considered that just rap in school. Miami Bass to me is like car systems–instrumentals with heavy ass bass. All the hyper stuff where everything had a dance? We did call that booty music, and booty contests were definitely in reference to that, which would be like what a twerk contest is now. We been had them. Growing up it was the only thing on the radio, you went to a Bar Mitzvah and people were like scrubbing the ground. I mean I was listening to “Pop that Coochie” when I was eight. How strong is bass music in Miami today? If you hear a top 40 set, there’s still a 20 minute Miami bass set no matter what. And there’s Snappy Jit, and DJ Ghost (RIP) and Chipman… Right, dudes making Miami Club like Jersey Club and Baltimore Club. Did those influences make their way south? No, but they have found each other. I lived in the hood proper in 2011 in Little Haiti, and every once in awhile you heard some crazy backyard party and you would hear Sliink, but like sped up. And like Snappy Jit and Nadus found each other early on, so they’ve always been cool. They both have this weird internet scene that hasn’t quite made it to the industry yet. Was there a lot of dancehall in Miami when you were coming up? There was a lot of dancehall for sure. There are Jamaicans in Miami, but I didn’t really hear it as much as I do in New York. I didn’t listen to it growing up at all and I really didn’t listen to dancehall ‘til I got to New York, butI knew the songs and it was around.I don’t know it if it was me or just what’s in Miami, but I can tell you I didn’t hear it on the radio as much for sure. They have a pretty healthy scene right now–Silent Addy has a little sound crew called Eccentric Sound, Black Chiney was down there. I feel like that’s an important question to ask because you’re on Mixpak and, for better or for worse, people see Mixpak as a dancehall label. I mean I love Popcaan and I love Vybz and I love playing dancehall. Is there some dancehall influence on my album? Yes. Would I label them as proper dancehall? Probably not. And I’m not gonna go around saying it’s dancehall either. Someone labeled my first EP dancehall just because it was on Mixpak and it’s nowhere near dancehall, it’s all 140 BPM dance music. The whole point of Mixpak is to intermix all this stuff. I’m just this oddball raver. Wildlife! is very similar. We do book dancehall artists at our parties but we also have Scratcha DVA and Ikonika this month. And that’s always been the point of Mixpak. But do we rep dancehall? Yes. Are we repping it at Culture Clash? Yes. We got proper dancehall people to come in. Has there been any backlash to having you guys be the dancehall crew at Culture Clash? I haven’t seen any hate. The response on Culture Clash has been really really positive. We were laughing at the beginning, obviously we are the underdogs and nobody knows us as much as they know everyone else, and when the announcement first came out there were so many tweets like, “Who the fuck is Mixpak?” But after they saw the lineup, the same people ten minutes later were like, “Oh shit!” Dre [Skull] worked really hard to put together a perfect team. We have Serocee who’s from the UK and is not a stranger to this stuff, Tony Matterhorn obviously, Kranium lives in New York,. and the rest are from Jamaica, so it’s cool. We haven’t been able to practice together cuz we are all in different places, but as a team, it’s very Mixpak because a few are from New York, a few are from Jamaica, a few are from the UK. and it balances out. The whole concept is kind of unfamiliar to most Americans. I have been laughing about this. We have to get dubplates, war dubs. Asking a Jamaican person for a dub is fine, but [with everyone else] you’re asking a legit famous person for a favor, but then you have to explain to them what a dub is. It’s not an easy thing to explain if you’re not familiar with it, like “You have to re-record your song but make it about me.” It sounds insane out of context. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you don’t. Some not-that-famous people have been like “fuck no” and some really famous people have been like “sure.” It’s funny who says yes and who says no. It helps to be like, “We’re going against Wiz Khalifa!” What’s the vibe between teams? Is anyone talking shit? I mean, me and Wiley have been sending each other little emojis and stuff. Annie Mac had Wiley on and I was like, “What you got, Wiley?” We’re cool but… You can get yourself shot doing that. Right. I’m really excited to see what everybody does. Also like you’re never going to hear all those sounds on stage together again. Dancehall and grime together, UK garage and rap.There’s definitely been dub crossover too, we hit up a couple people that were already hit up! People aren’t staying in their lanes as much as some people might expect. And that’s cool! Let’s talk about your frustrations with the media. You’ve spoken out about feeling like writers seem more concerned with covering the perceived struggle of female DJs than what they’re actually accomplishing. I’m really glad the conversation is being had, but where everybody is taking it is getting on my nerves. I’v been hit up a million times by pretty big outlets like Huffington Post, and it’s the same shit every time. Why do they want to hear me complain? Why don’t you write a feature on me? Why don’t you spotlight somebody and mix them in just like a regular article? I am working on so much shit, I’m on a cool label, I’m working on a album, I’m doing Culture Clash. For a girl in New York, for anyone in New York, I’m doing a lot of cool stuff. Everyone’s mad all the time,but I’m not, I’m happy. I’m happy that Discwoman exists. They have so much press right now, they did a Boiler Room. I’m stoked. Stop asking them stupid questions about how they’re counted out, why don’t you ask them about what they’re actually doing? Nina Las Vegas can tell you the same thing. She has a label, she’s one of the biggest DJs right now, she was on Triple J, she’s huge and she’ll smash any set. Do a feature on her label or her releases. But nobody wants to write anything positive, they just want you to complain. I don’t want to be in that company of angry people. We’re getting good feedback. I’d rather just stick to being happy. And I feel like everything that needs to be said has been said. Venus has not been shy about saying who’s terrible and who’s not. She’s said everything best and power to her, she’s killed it and not been afraid to name names and go in on that. Why do you have to ask 50 people? The news is out. It’s a male dominated industry. If I get put on one more all-female list, I’m not posting it, I’m not RT’ing it. Just put me on your list. I love all the girls that I’m on the list with and girls right now are killing it–Nightwave, Ikonika– I play like forty percent female music and I don’t even make a point to do that. It’s sick, just put it on your list, put it on your top 10. Do you think it’s improving? I think it’s getting recognized but I think people are doing the wrong things to get recognized. A lot of the problem is managers and booking agents don’t take on women and they don’t want to deal with women. I can say that from experience. I’ve had situations with industry people and they made it out to be like, “Oh you’re difficult”, whereas a dude would have been like, “Bro, this isn’t cool.” I definitely lived all of that shit. My management right now is women and it’s great. They get everything done, they’re not trying to dickride anybody, it’s awesome. In a way this is a result of the growing number of female DJs. Exactly. There’s such a large scene of females now that there shouldn’t be an issue. It should be half and half. I been hit up literally like, “We need women on the bill and we’re only gonna give you this much money.” Don’t hit me up to be your token woman and only offer me that. I’m amazed anyone would say that out loud. You’re not getting a prize because you decided to put woman on your lineup. You’re missing out if there isn’t a girl in your crew for a lot of reasons. Mixpak has two females in New York, we book girls all the time and we don’t do it on purpose. I’ll be at our party like,”Oh. this is all women except Dre.” I don’t think Dre realizes it either. I also don’t really believe in all-girl crews because then you isolate yourself. But working with men is really hard. I’m lucky. I been around a little bit longer, I’ve had a lot of men in my life be really helpful and no one’s really been weird to me. I feel like not all men are terrible and women shouldn’t act like that. That dialogue makes girls like, “I don’t want to talk to these dudes,” and it’s like, people are a little more helpful than you think. I think dudes are terrible in every industry and women make less money, and I think it’s life. Do I think that’s right? No, but I don’t think it’s just a DJ problem. I think it’s a problem everywhere. My friend manages a restaurant in Miami and people ask her to talk to the manager all the time, and when she says, “I am the manager” they don’t take her seriously at all. I worked as an account exec at my last job and nobody took me seriously because I was young and I was a girl. My best friend manages a hotel and no one takes her seriously. The important lesson to you is to power through it. You have to act like a total cunt. You just do. No one’s gonna like you anyways. That’s why the anti-Hillary shit is driving me crazy because like, we get it, she’s a bitch, Bill cheated on her because she’s a cold bitch, shut up. It’s so typical. It’s not just DJs. So it’s deeper than just putting women on line-ups. Also start your own shit! Start your own shit and have guys want to be a part of your shit because you’re a girl. Bro-ish dudes tweeting all this shit about women all the time–you’re gonna look out and there’s going to be no women on the dancefloor. Because if you keeping talking all this shit about girls, they’re not going to come out and see you. Or your fans are gonna have this weird attitude towards women and make them uncomfortable. But when women start their own shit, it’s already better club-wise because there’s inherently going to be girls there. Start your own shit. Because shit is not going to change dramatically any time soon.