interview: ten questions with afropunk fest dj duo mista selecta + mane squeeze

August 18, 2014

It’s often said that opposites attract: think ‘Fresh Prince’ cousins Will and Carlton, homegirls Max and Khadijah, or even hip-hop powerhouses Biggie and Puffy. In art, especially in music and television, the unusual pairing, however dissimilar, often combines to great results. This is undoubtedly the case for Mista Selecta and Mane Squeeze a.k.a The Beard and The Fro. Despite their obvious differences, the DJ duo with hair for days are more alike than one would initially think. They are both Geminis. Their music reflects a deep passion and love for different cultures of the world—Selecta has a propensity toward mixing reggae and moombahton sounds and Squeeze’s ethic makeup stems from deep Jamaican and Puerto Rican roots. As Mane Squeeze puts it, “we’re two peas in a pod.” This will be the first time the talented two take to the AFROPUNK stage and to commemorate the AFROPUNK Festival’s tenth year (can you believe it?) we’ve put together an interview titled 10 Questions with Mista Selecta + Mane Squeeze that’s sure to get you already anxiously anticipating fans excited come festival time. Step inside the world of the DJ duo with the lengthy beard and the gigantic fro.

By Andrea Dwyer, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Andrea: How would you individually describe your sound?

Mane Squeeze: I’d describe my sound as universally appealing. I’m highly influenced by what’s out there. I’m especially excited that I’m a part of introducing these sounds to the people.

Mista Selecta: I would describe my style as limitless. Because I am influenced by so many different styles, it shows in my sets and production. I never really know what I’m going to do next.

Andrea: When did you all discover DJ’ing and more precisely when did that love translate into you actually mixing? 

Mane Squeeze: I’ve always wanted to be a DJ and found inspiration from a lot of external forces. I was inspired by the dope radio hits of the 90’s + 00’s, my uncle deejaying at reggae bashment parties in the Bronx as well as a variety of sounds I collected from. After graduating from college, I started teaching and throwing parties at a warehouse in DC and despite not having the deejay equipment needed to practice nor mix with, I kept a positive, ambitious outlook and a stacked music library. I eventually saved some money and bought equipment, my investment of sorts in deejaying and mixing. The rest is pretty much history.


Mista Selecta: I started mixing at age fifteen. I was fortunate enough to grow up down the street from two DJ brothers, Ryan and Chris Styles, who taught me the basics and got me started. Ten years later, here I am!


Andrea: Opposites certainly attract. How did you two meet?

Mane Squeeze: We’re actually more alike than opposite. We met like five years ago. I booked him to DJ at #TheRave, a party we hosted at the Warehouse Loft in DC. He killed the set, like murdered it! I was overly impressed and invited him back to a following party, and every party after that. From there we bonded as music lovers, deejays, and business partners. 



Andrea: Can you tell us more about Jungle Fever and the creative collective Madhouse that you’re both a part of?

Mane Squeeze: Madhouse is a collective that provides eclectic & enjoyable event atmospheres, and connects creative individuals to the events and news that are meaningful to them in and around the DC area.


Mista Selecta: Jungle Fever is a monthly party we started in March of 2013. It was started by Mane Squeeze and myself, but DJ Underdog has been part of the Jungle Fever team since day one. The concept of Jungle Fever came about because we play multiple genres of world music and our crowd is always a great mix of people from all walks of life. The name really captures the whole essence of what the party is about. It’s nothing but positive vibes and the energy is always on a million.


Andrea: How would you describe the DJ scene in Washington D.C?

Mane Squeeze: The DJ scene, or community, rather, consists of many collaborative and resourceful artists who are redefining DC’s party landscape. It’s becoming more dynamic and inclusive.

Mista Selecta: The DJ scene in D.C. is amazing. So many talented individuals in completely different lanes. So much diversity in the sounds you can hear on any given night at any given place.


Andrea: Any DJs we should be hip to?

Mane Squeeze: Oh yea! Trippy Turtle, BENZI, Ookay, THUGLI, Sega, Brenmar, K Millz, J-Lah, the list goes on and on.


Andrea: I couldn’t resist asking. Mista Selecta, how long have you been rocking the bearded look?

Mista Selecta: Haha. About four years now.


Andrea: How are you all prepping for the festival?

Mane Squeeze: We’re currently working on material that we hope to release before the festival. Other than non-stop practicing and fine-tuning, we intend on resting before hitting the stage. We’re set to perform at Trillectro’s the day before and we’re guaranteeing an amazing high-energy performance there as well.

Mista Selecta: Just eating healthy and envisioning sharing a beautiful experience with the people and what she said.

Andrea: What performers are you most hyped to see?

Mane Squeeze: Totally hyped to see everyone performing on Sunday! Afropunk has a killer line-up this year with both new and familiar faces. Hyped to see everyone shine bright.

Mista Selecta: Definitely D’Angelo. I wish I could be there Saturday to see Bad Brains.

Andrea: What should fans expect from you all at the festival?


Mane Squeeze: #TheBeardandTheFro will have the stage LIT! Exploding with high-energy music and more. Special surprises are definitely in store. Can’t disclose too much just yet. Don’t want to ruin the suspense. Promise to reveal more as Afropunk approaches, so definitely be on the lookout.

Thanks to the Beard and the Fro for the interview!

Mista Selecta + Mane Squeeze are set to perform Sunday, August 24 on the AFROPUNK Festival Gold Stage at 2 p.m.

Photos taken by Kelcie Glass​

* Andrea Dwyer is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. She’s a writer at Superselected and you can follow her on Twitter @musingandrea.