Joey LaBeija Wants to Set Off Car Alarms with This Latin Rave Track
"Sucia" is off his upcoming EP 'Violator,' marking his first release since last year's acclaimed 'Shattered Dreams.'
Photo by Johnny King IV
NYC queer nightlife staple Joey LaBeija today shared "Sucia," the second track off his upcoming self-released EP Violator. Following last year's introverted Shattered Dreams project, the record is a full-throttle foray into boisterous rave, and "Sucia" shows off the artist's flexibility within the template. Where trance and rave pastiche in recent club music often emphasizes dramatic melodic progressions, LaBeija uses just two chords and a dembow beat here, evoking the compositional styles of, say, punk and gabber. The effect is insistently grating and energizing, like grinding teeth down to the gums.
Ahead of Violator's release tomorrow, THUMP interviewed LaBeija over email about today's club culture in New York, the troves of unreleased tunes he's itching to play out, and how his personal life can be heard in his music.
What were you going for with the Violator EP? Were there any ideas or feelings you wanted to emphasize in it?
I started making music as a means of expressing myself and as a way to connect with people on a deeper level than I could with just DJing. My music is always going to be a direct reflection of whatever I am going through or feeling at the time and that's why I decided to get more personal than people expected me to with my first project Shattered Dreams. Violator is just as honest and pure as Shattered Dreams; the only difference is the type of music. Since moving back to New York last year after a little hiatus in Kansas City, I've found myself uninspired, unimpressed and unmoved by the lack of culture here. I made Violator with the direct intentions of violating peoples' standards of club culture, which today is like being in a room with a bunch of robots.
The artwork was just as important as the content of this record; it has been well over a year since my last release and I wanted everyone to know just from the artwork that I'm back, and back with a vengeance. Christian Velasquez, who is responsible for my visual content, really brought that to the next level for me with the creative direction of the cover and poster. Violator is me calling everyone out on their shit in hopes of setting the bar at a new level; I want everyone to be on their fucking A game with every detail of their life and not succumb to the narcissistic millennial bullshit that is taking over. Make New York weird again.
How about the track "Sucia" specifically? What was the production process like?
If you live in New York, on any given day you will hear a car with subbass so heavy that it can be heard from 10 blocks away and it's guaranteed to set off half of the car alarms in your neighborhood. That's what I wanted this song to sound like. I made it in one eight-hour session.
In your eyes, is there a clear pathway from Shattered Dreams to Violator, or do you see this record as taking your sound in a new direction?
Both. Conceptually, Violator is the vengeful, punk-rock-minded asshole that developed from the sad boy that I was in Shattered Dreams... but it is also 100% me going in an entire new direction and bridging the gap between my DJ and producer selves. If you've been to one of my DJ sets, you've seen that I actually know how to make people forget every reservation they have about themselves and sweat through every layer of clothing down to the socks. I wanted to continue doing that but with my own music. My DJ sets will always be aggressive and unpredictable, except now they will consists mostly of my own productions. To be fully honest, I'm only giving you the smallest fraction of music that I've made over the last two years with Violator... I'm sitting on an arsenal of tunes that no one will ever hear except during my live sets.
What sorts of things have you got planned for the rest of the year? Are there any artists in particular whose work we should look out for in the coming months?
I'm just about wrapped up with my follow up record and I am about to send it off for engineering. The music on this project is just otherworldly and I genuinely wish I could share it already. As far as other artists, I find myself not really listening to anything new these past few months because I don't want anything to distract me from the content I am currently working on.
Follow Alexander on Twitter.