BMAJR: AN AFROPUNK DJ MIX
August 14, 2019
One of the young turks piling up DJ gigs around New York these days, BMAJR is a longtime AFROPUNK Brooklyn attendee who this year will be making his debut behind the decks. And he’s ready to play a set of crowd favorites. BMAJR made us a little mix, giving a preview of what’s on his USB for Commodore Barry Park, and told us about the source for his DJ inspirations. Enjoy!
Can you identify some of the music on the mix? What does the music mean/represent for you?
I have everything in this mix from Missy to M.I.A., to [Lil’] Kim, to Megan Thee Stallion. Literally something for everyone. This mix represents both my current mood and my admiration for music that makes you feel good and allows you to forget about your problems. I started off the mix with one of my favorite flips from Ase Manual called “bend yo byke” — it will force you to dance and the production is amazing. Another one of my favorites in the mix is “Losing Ur Mind – B More Edit” by DJ Swisha; this song reminds me of my time living in Baltimore and my love for Baltimore Club Music.
How did you first get into DJ’ing, and who are some of your DJ’ing influences?
I was working as a health scientist for an environmental consulting firm for about five years, and working in academia was no longer fulfilling me. As I contemplated what it was that I really wanted to do, I thought about all the events that I’ve been to and some of the great DJs that I’ve experienced. I thought if I had the opportunity to become a DJ it would be amazing, as I’ve always gotten so much enjoyment from watching people listen and interact with music when I was younger. Becoming a DJ was something that I secretly always wanted to do. So I honed my DJ’ing skills at home while working as a scientist until I felt I was ready to share with the world. I’ll never forget my first gig. My friend had a restaurant in Fort Greene and invited me to DJ a set there. Seeing the energy in the room and the look on people’s faces while dancing confirmed to me that this is something I wanted to devote my energy and life to. It has been a blessing ever since, to be able to do something that I love and am so passionate about.
I pull a lot of my DJ influences from where I spent most of my time growing up. Whether it’s Detroit, which I consider home; Chicago, where I traveled to often and once lived; Baltimore, where I spent time for both my undergrad and graduate school career; and New York, where I now live. I pull influences from all of these. From Detroit house to Chicago juke. From Baltimore club music to the mixing of cultures that embodies New York City.
What kind of music do you want to or expect to play at AFROPUNK?
I like to present people’s favorite songs of the moment but in a totally new way. Expect a high-energy set filled with remixes and a mashup of all genres and vibes. I feel as though we all, as people, have so much to celebrate and be thankful for, including me, so plan to break a sweat!
What are you most looking forward to at AFROPUNK Brooklyn?
First of all, I’ve been a regular attendee of AFROPUNK Brooklyn for a while and I love the infectious energy that permeates through the crowd. I have seen some amazing sets there — like this iconic performance from Grace Jones a few years back — so I’m excited to see what all the artists present this year. I’m incredibly excited about playing the festival this year. I remember looking at the stage last year and telling myself, “I will be up there one day playing for this same crowd,” and a year later, I’m blessed. I think manifesting destiny’s is important and I’m excited to be a part of the festival this year! Thank you AFROPUNK Brooklyn for having me!
What does the phrase “We See You” mean to you?
Recognition is important. Everyone wants to feel seen and understood. For me, the phrases embodies community and an acknowledgment and acceptance by one’s community of their individuality, of their spirit, of their drive, of their performance, of their contributions to the community. My hope is that I’m being seen for my talent and that it inspires others to take a leap of passion even when it may be uncomfortable.