Discover Your World, 2013
Que Bajo?! Translates the Music of Immigrants
Interview with Uproot Andy on KPFT
In a few short years after being handed a “cumbia” flyer, DJ/producer Uproot Andy has helped usher a vibrant tropical scene in New York and beyond. Along with his partner Geko Jones, their Latin party and now imprint Que Bajo?! are pushing the music boundaries.
Bombon recently spoke to Andy on Son Pacifica Radio (KPFT) from Brooklyn after a short stay in Columbia earlier this year.
Bombon: Now that the tropical scene seems to be growing in the States, do you find yourself in newer places?
Andy: Yeah! It’s a lot of the same places but the parties get bigger. But I’ve made my way to some new cities especially in Columbia. And I finally made it to Mexico last year for the first time.
Bombon: On production, do you mainly focus on South American and Caribbean music?
Andy: I’ve done a lot of African music as well. But lately I’ve been playing around more with Indian and Arabic music. Actually, the very first kind of music I was ever involved with along with Cumbia was Balkan and Eastern European music.
For me, it’s always been just a love of all different kinds of music and bringing them together to be able to play them in a DJ set that weren’t really ready to play on their own, in a club anyway…But, I love it. I really have love for all kinds of music.
Bombon: What was your mission with Que Bajo?! in NYC?
Andy: With Que Bajo?!, me and Geko decided to really focus on Latin American music and it really took off because I think on some level people really understood it more…and of course, in New York, there’s plenty of Latin Americans here that come for musical traditions that don’t necessarily get represented in the typical top 40 Latin music that gets played. It’s not all just reggaeton and salsa.
Bombon: So, what’s new for Que Bajo?
Andy: One is that we are playing the Red Bull Culture Clash in New York in May (2013). I don’t know if your listeners have heard about the Red Bull Culture Clash, but they’ve done a few of them in London and L.A. The basic idea is that four different music cultures—electro, Jamaican, local and tropical—compete [on a sound system].
I think we’re sort of the understood underdogs. It’ll be very interesting to represent something different, and kinda have New York represent immigrant music at this big clash with mainstream press.
The other thing is that we’re launching Que Bajo?! Record Label in a couple of weeks. We’ve always put out edits and remixes, and they kind of float around and people have a hard time trying to find them. And we just decided to bring it all together and focus the sound.
At first it’s really going to be all free, all new music. There’s a lot ready…I’ve got a lot of stuff I’ve been sitting on and making for the last couple of years. I’ve released very little and I’ve got a lot of material to let go of. For a while, my [DJ] sets have been 95% unreleased stuff. I’m ready to give it out.
Bombon: Has the culture in Columbia has permeated into some your production? Or how has it inspired it?
Andy: Oh, completely! Maybe to my downfall. I spend more of my time down there. It’s sort of a snowball effect. Every time I go, I get reinvested, reinspired by that culture. It’s an incredibly rich music culture. It’s not like you get into it and then you can pass it over. There’s always more that you don’t know about. It’s really diverse. Every time I’m there, I get reinterested and I find myself doing more and more music that relates to that culture. Maybe at the end of the day it’s not the widest market to aim at, but it inspires me.
Bombon: Last year you remixed “Abrazame” for Los Rakas. Are there any other acts or producers you hope to collaborate with at some point?
Andy: I wouldn’t even know where to begin. There’s a lot of great artists working out there that I take influence from. I have a bunch of projects underway with various people. Lots of things in the tubes. You’ll be hearing stuff!
Uproot Andy performs at Bombon this Saturday, April 6 at Fox Hollow [4617 Nett, 77007]. For more details, visit the FB event page.
To hear Andy’s entire radio interview with Gracie Chavez and Navo of Bombon on KPFT, listen here.
Meant to post this earlier, but this past SXSW was one of the best experiences so far this year. Navo & I got to perform at the Virgin Mobile house, opening up for Chad of Toro y Moi!
6th Sun Presents The UNDERGROUND MERGER
All-Female Line Up featuring MCs & DJs from CUBA, LOS ANGELES & HOUSTON
The White Swan (4419 Navigation, Houston, TX)
Doors are at 8 PM. Show starts at 8:30
$7 entry with RSVP on this event listing
(List will be available at Door of all who RSVP)
****DJ ESTEFF**** Song and drum
kick-off with a special performance by
****Hummingbird Moon Sis*stars**** (all women’s native drumming/singing)
****Ashlei Mayadia**** Vocalist/H-Town
****Rain Flowa**** Vocalist/hip hop/H-town-6th Sun
****Nite N Dae**** Vocalist/floetry/L.A.
****Fawksie One **** Hip Hop/L.A.
****DJ Gracie Chavez**** H-Town/Bombon
****Krudas Cubensi**** Hip Hop/Cuba/ATX