Inner Circle : Uproot Andy
What got you into DJ-ing?
I’ve always had a hunger to discover new music or old music that was new to me and I was collecting records and discovering new genres on the internet all the time and there was just so much music I loved that you could never hear at a club back then. So I really just wanted to share what I had. I was already making music for a while before that so I did a few remixes to blend some things together and I put those up on the internet and people really responded to it and I started getting booked to DJ all the time.
What defines your sound?
I try to live in the spaces between genres and create a sound that highlights the shared culture that exists across borders and in different languages.
What keeps you motivated?
The way people react at the party, seeing people get really happy and surprised when they hear something they didn’t expect to hear and ultimately seeing people come together over the music.
Is there anyone/anything that you look to for inspiration?
Music is my inspiration and I’m always looking for new sounds, but also I try to always go back to old music for inspiration and to grow my understanding of where today’s music comes from and keep an open path from the past to the present.
What kind of music do you feel the most connected to?
I couldn’t narrow it down to one kind of music, what gives the music meaning to me is its relationship to other genres. Coming from Toronto and New York the music of those places is connected to each other, to the Caribbean, to Africa and beyond all through their common roots in African culture. Thats not my own cultural heritage but its a common thread that connects me to musicians and friends all across the world. So while I can’t claim any one music, I feel connected to so much of it.
Who’s on your radar that’s up and coming from your area (or in general)?
Gotta shout out my man Pierre Kwenders from Montreal he’s an amazing singer and I’m lucky enough to be working with him!
And on the producer side, DJ Flex from New Jersey who’s already big among the afrobeat dance community but is super talented and young and the rest of the world will be hearing more from him I’m sure!
Favorite spot to grab a bite in New York?
Its hard to pick a fave but my go-to Café Mogador
What are some things you notice that set New York apart from other places?
Its a cliché but New York is just like the whole world packed into a city and I just feel so lucky to be able to live here and travel between different neighborhoods to eat different food and hear music from all over the world just by hopping on the subway.
What interested you about playing The Wave?
I got the sense when the CLLCTV.US crew reached out that it was a teamwork kind of thing which are always the best kind of parties!
What was your perception of Boston before you played The Wave?
I had played in Boston a number of times over the years such as at Riobamba’s party Pico Picante or with Wayne Marshall and a few times at the ICA museum nights and I’ve always had good experience
I had a great time it felt like a real community event and it definitely was a team effort there was a lot of people to meet! But everyone was really welcoming, the party was popping, the vibes were right and music was diverse!
Digital or vinyl?
I love vinyl but I’m a digital DJ because I’m first and foremost a producer and I often make edits and remixes especially for a particular night and I need to be able to turn around and play music I make in the afternoon that same night at the club!
One thing you can’t travel without?
A hoodie, headphones, sunglasses, chapstick, tissues, did you say one thing??
You’re such a worldwide inspirational ting - can you tell us more about some of the things you’re involved in/started?
Well aside from Producing and DJing, I started the Que Bajo party which had about a 9 year run in New York and I really think helped push and change the music we hear in nightlife in NYC today. Que Bajo was also a sort of online pirate label where we released remixes and edits and was a Redbull Radio show for a time. After that I started Bien Buena with Riobamba an ongoing small local night in Bedstuy Brooklyn where we both live and we also did a year of Bien Buena radio on Redbull Radio. I’m also the music director of the fashion brand Studio 189 by Abrima Erwiah and Rosario Dawson and I’m musical advisor and resident DJ of the comparsa La Puntica No Ma’ of the Carnaval de Barranquilla in Colombia.
You mentioned you were working on an album, can you tell us more about it?
Currently I’m working on a record with Pierre Kwenders, a Congolese singer based in Montreal and part of the Moonshine collective. I’m really excited about it but I don’t wanna say too much before its ready!
Okay, how did you convince Lumz to cop that Dave Brubeck album - dime!
Haha that album ‘Time Out’ was the album that taught me about time signatures when I was younger. It opened up a world of possibilities in my head, I just told him that and he decided to cop on his own!
What are some of your favorite spots to travel to outside of the US/Canada?
I’ve become really connected to Colombia through music, I usually travel there a couple times a year, I have a big community of friends and fam there and its big a source of inspiration for me.
Can you tell us the backstory behind Bien Buena? and what it’s like working closely with Riobamba?
The name Bien Buena comes from the El General song ‘Teves Buena’ and is a reference to this moment in history where Jamaican Dancehall sprouted a new branch that became Reggaeton. The party happens at Lovers Rock, a caribbean bar in Bedstuy and we wanted to bridge the language gap and bring different sides of caribbean music and different parts of the local community together on the same night. Its been really fun with Riobamba its constant jokes in the DJ booth and always a packed sweaty dance floor!
You can keep up with Andy on social - @uprootandy - or feel free to vibe on out his SoundCloud too.