Moombah what? Moombahton!
We here at Crossfade have been geeking over this quirky style of tropical bass music all year. And locals like DJ-producer SomeJerk and the good folks at (((SHAKE))) are giving us plenty of reason to with their monthly Moombahton Over Miami party at the Vagabond.
Plus, the moombah scene is getting big enough that it earned its own heavyweight WMC party last March, Miami Moombahton Massive, with none other than Diplo and his label Mad Decent as co-sponsors.
As the foremost local producer of the genre, SomeJerk is definitely an authority on moombahton. So we decided to pick his brain and find out what exactly this sound is all about ahead of his Friday debut performance at Space with 12th Planet, DJ Laz, Juan Basshead and others.
Crossfade: Moombahton might be all the rage with the Miami bass kids, but it's is not exactly a household term yet. For those of our readers still in the dark, what exactly is moombahton?
SomeJerk: To me "moombahton" is nothing new. It's essentially a combination of dancehall, reggaeton, hip-hop and dance music -- depending on the producer or DJ's influence. Dave Nada just gave it a name and a clever story -- the key aspect to marketing a genre or movement. And everyone started jumping aboard. I like to call it "slow house", personally.
I don't know that I can say that it's at the "rage" point just yet -- I am constantly asking for music and mixes from Miami's producers and DJs and haven't had very many submissions! However its rise in popularity is consistent and happening in a real way, and this is because Miami is the perfect melting pot for a number of cultures. When I play a track that's clearly salsa-influenced or cumbia-influenced, you can see the change in the way people react, their "traditional" dancing and whatnot comes out, it's really amazing. People just short of pull their flags out, it's like a mini carnival every time!
Is it fair to call moombahton music for closeted reggaeton lovers?
Reggaeton "borrowed" its core breaks from dancehall, so the accusation is not entirely incorrect. Reggaeton has a bit of a stigma to it, whether it's because people think it all sounds the same, they don't speak Spanish (I don't) or because it rose to popularity so quickly. So I can see how people say things like that, but the truth is that it's way deeper than just reggaeton.
So when did you first start producing moombahton?
Many years ago, pre-dubstep, I was making a lot of IDM and weird stuff -- mixing breakcore with reggaeton bits. This went nowhere. Everyone hated it, except for me and friends with poor taste. Then in March of 2011, I heard Dave Nada perform in Miami and literally said "I didn't know people were into this kind of stuff, I am going to make this again". After a few months of messing around and becoming re-acquainted with space of the BPM I started making things that I thought sounded good enough to play. I sent a couple tunes to larger DJ's and got a good response so it was time to start putting out these tunes,
What can you tell us about the new EP you're giving away?
I made the three songs that became the Don't Stop EP to play at the sixth Moombahton Over Miami party. Essentially each song was an experiment with a particular idea that I had, and went for it. After Moombahton Over Miami and listening to my set, I felt that the songs were as done as they could be, and that I should just give them away, since the first release for my Signaflo label is taking forever to get out there.
The title track, "Don't Stop" clearly samples 2 Live Crew and is at your standard moombahton pace, but I wanted it to develop more like a jungle song, with new layers of music appearing and being stripped away as the song progresses -- less dragged out like most moombahton. "Ahem" I wanted to be just drums, maybe a dude's voice and some booming stuff, very stripped-down and raw but with some things going on if you're paying attention. "Up Side Down" -- I intended on having a bit of a weird Latin groove to it, with some jazzy influence to it and a bit of a throwback to some classic house vibes.
What has the vibe been like at the moombahton parties you've thrown in Miami so far? Is it being well received?
A couple of events have been an uphill struggle, with dudes literally yelling in my face to play something else -- kind of hard to beat batch that way but I do it) but thankfully the overall success has made up for this hostility ten-fold.
The parties at the Vagabond, the Moombahton Over Miami event in particular, are a really special thing. You have one area with people chilling, talking shit, smoking blunts, and another area where there's a full-on mini carnival going on. It's a nice change of pace from many other events going on that are in your face and hard to just relax at.
So what's up with the next party?
This Friday will be very special to me -- I get to play at the world-famous club Space, and I will be playing probably entirely moombahton, and at least half of my own stuff. I will be playing alongside 12th Planet, Juan Basshead, DJ Laz and other big names, along with a few Miami locals, so it's pretty fucking crazy to me! My girlfriend would tell me that it's not crazy and that this is what I have been working for, but it still blows my mind that I get to have all of this fun. Big shout to Juan Basshead for booking me for this event and continuing to support my music.
And what would you say to someone who has never heard Moombahton to persuade them to come out to the next party?
I would say to anyone that loves to dance, party and be immersed in good vibes, that they should come with an open mind and comfortable shoes. Every Moombahton Over Miami I see the crowd grow, and it's less of the people that are just there because it's the Vagabond and it's always cool, and more so the people that want to hear tropical bass. That makes me so happy.
Next Thursday is Moombahton Over Miami 7, and it's really the best place to experience what we have going on. I want to thank Jason Jiminez and the (((SHAKE))) crew for continuing to bring the best music to light and perpetuating our little tropical bass scene.
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