DJ Jesse Perez Talks Mr. Nice Guy Records and New Release "Miami Is My Town"
The 305 has always been about bumping and grinding to booty-bass music. And it ain't gonna change if homeboy Jesse Perez gets his way.
The DJ-producer and dirty mastermind behind Mr. Nice Guy Records has been busy releasing sleazy, bass-infused jacking house grooves on the local scene for years. But in 2012, he also began enjoying his fair share of international exposure, thanks to releases on esteemed labels such as Nervous, Hot Creations, and Off Recordings.
With titles like "Tales From an 8th Street Motel," "Hialeah House Party," and "Dejen de Comer Tanta Pinga" ("Stop Eating So Much Dick"), Jesse is exporting an entire Miamian party culture to international dance floors. And if his tongue is planted firmly in his cheek when it comes to track titles, the humping in the club is no joke when a Jesse Perez bomb drops.
DJ Jesse Perez
Ahead of his new release, "Miami Is My Town" (out August 20), we caught up with Jesse "El Sucio" Perez to talk booty music, Mr. Nice Guy Records, the Bangbus, grinding chongitas, and what makes Miami great.
Charlie Puth - We Don't Talk Tour 2016
TicketsTue., Oct. 4, 7:30pm
Peter Frampton Raw: An Acoustic Tour
TicketsWed., Oct. 5, 7:30pm
Henry Rollins: Spoken Word
TicketsThu., Oct. 6, 8:00pm
Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman
TicketsThu., Oct. 6, 8:00pm
Sum 41's Don't Call It A Sum Back Tour
TicketsFri., Oct. 7, 6:30pm
New Times: Where in Miami did you grow up? What Miami music do you consider most influential?
Jesse Perez: I grew up in the Princeton/Naranja area till Hurricane Andrew hit; then I lived in Hialeah till '95 before moving to Cutler Ridge. Been living there since. I was always into the rap scene. Everything that was playing on the Box ("Music Television You Control") and Power 96 back in the day, I was bumping. Most influential would be 2 Live Crew. Been grinding on all types of females since I was 5, thanks to them. I used to get thrown out of United Way school dances for dry-humping.
So when did you get into DJing and production? Did you start out with house or other styles?
I started DJing and learning production in 2001, thanks to the guys from Black Chiney. I was buying hip-hop, house, and bass records around that time. I never focused on one style; I just liked playing dope shit. I was DJing around Miami for years, playing hip-hop and urban sets before the word swag came out. At the same time, I was working on house tracks during the day.
Getting signed to Hot Creations this year got you a lot of new international listeners. How did you hook up with the label?
I met Lee Foss at Miami Velvet during WMC 2011 after randomly swapping chicks. Luckily, I had a CD in my car with some new tracks I had just made. After busting a quick one, I ran outside with nothing but a towel on and grabbed the CD before he left to his next gig. The following week, he hit me up and said they were interested in signing two of the tracks: "Jesse Don't Sport No Jerry Curl" and "Dejen de Comer Tanta Pinga."
The Mr. Nice Guy Facebook page says, "Not accepting demos; we'll contact you if we like your shit." What is your criteria for selecting artists and material that you want to release? Is there a specific sound or vibe you want to define the label?
We're not looking for any other artists. What I want to do now with the label is push a few artists really well, rather than constantly releasing material from different guys. We mainly look for originality. I don't want guys that download loop packs and produce as a hobby. There's plenty of labels that are dump sites for people like that. I just look for real talent, no phonies. We push a very distinct sound, different from what everyone else is doing. Some call it hood house or gangsta house. I refer to it as ass-clapping music or bump 'n' grind. It's all about having a good time.
There are a lot of dick references and sexually explicit content on your label and in your work. Is it just humor? Or are you trying to be ironic about Miami's gangsta booty music culture? What does your abuelita think about track titles like "Kiss Jesse on the Dick"?
There's definitely some humor behind it. I always tell folks that all the good names were already taken. But I think when you make raw shit, you can name a track anything that you want. And of course, I grew up listening to Luke and 2 Live Crew, Uncle Al, DJ Laz, and everything booty.
I was at the back-yard jams, grinding on chongitas in the '90s. I didn't grow up in the Netherlands or France. I embrace the Miami I know. And folks love the titles too. In the UK, I'll be walking into a party and have a few peeps shout, "Yo, Jesse! Slang that D!" As for Abuela, she's the freakiest lady I've ever met. My track titles don't compare to the crazy shit that comes out of her mouth. I love her for that. She's a bold woman.
How do you think the Miami dance music scene has changed since you were first going out? Has the underground genuinely grown here? Do we have the potential of becoming a true mecca like the ones in Europe?
The movement has grown a lot. There's a shitload of parties now. At least four days out of the week, you can find a nice jam. We're not confined to going to one club to hear good underground music, as before. And with the warm weather we have here, there's no reason why music enthusiasts from out of town should come only during WMC. It's Ibiza year-round. I salute those who genuinely work hard everyday to make that happen.
What are your thoughts on the mainstream EDM explosion this past year? Good or bad?
Well, it's a bit disappointing that the ones benefiting are garbage — or just getting into the scene to see what they can take from it rather than give or add to it. But in reality, it might be a good thing down the road. Those 16-year-olds jamming to electro and Swedish House Mafia are gonna get older and wiser. Meanwhile, guys like myself are gonna be there, waiting for them. And they're gonna thank us for giving them another option. They're gonna recognize real shit, not fabricated beats that have been pushed in their ears by major corporations. They're gonna thank Jesse Perez for bump 'n' grind, because grinding on a chongita is always better than waving a giant glowstick around.
Your sound and image are very deeply rooted in Miami. It's very important to you to represent the 305 to the rest of the world. What is Miami to you? What do you love about our city? And what do you hate about it?
Miami is free pastelitos at Leon Medical Center and more. I don't hate anything about here, although it would be nice to see more local artists getting radio support. Play some SpaceGhostPurrp or ¡Mayday! from time to time. Pitbull and Flo Rida are already well-off. But in general, I love this city. Fuckin' Bangbus is filmed here. You gotta love this shit. Where do they find these chongitas?
So what can you tell us about your new single, "Miami Is My Town"?
I made that track specifically for big-bottomed females. It's gonna cause a pregnancy boom when it drops on August 20.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.