Interview: The Captain of Trouble & Bass
When Brother Suarez asked me to help co-host the kick-off of Heady Productions’ Summer Vibez series at Pagliacci’s, I couldn’t say no.
Suarez has been a good friend of mine since 2008 and also came out to play at the March edition of OUTPOST1. Over the years, it’s been a running joke of his to call me out on my (secret) love for astrology and how excited I get over the fact that our birthdays are one day apart. This year, Suarez and I decided on asking The Captain, from Trouble & Bass, to come up to Albany to headline our birthday celebration under the stars and alongside fam Deep Children, and Heady Pro’s Far East and Just The Sauce. Everything went according to standard Gemini procedure, (spontaneous, scattered and successful) and the party is all set for this Saturday, May 28.
The Captain is a self-described “full-time hustler,” — He’s the manager of T&B Recordings, a traveling DJ, part time model and VP of the T&B operation. Needless to say, he’s a busy guy and I’m appreciative that he took some time to answer some questions for KAB.
In the game since: 2004
What are some of your recent favorites (or aged guilty pleasure) tracks that you consistently enjoy? Do you have any “never fail” or “go-to” tracks?
Recent favorites include: The Weeknd, Clams Casino, Redlight, Mosca, Ursa Major and Samo Sound Boy. Some go to tracks include Drop The Lime “Sex Sax”, Deathface “Bloodrave”, Skream “Osklilatah” and Bone Crusher “Never Scared”, and I’ll always drop some The Dream or R. Kelly. I love R&B.
How did you arrive at your moniker? Any specific background or meaning behind it?
Yeah, when I lived in Savannah, GA, where I started DJing, I lived in a 3 BR apt with 5 kids and I was in the same house for 3 or so years. Along the years people came and went, but I had been the first to live there, so I was #1, the captain of the house.
If you could do your thing anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would you like to split a set with?
In the Congo at a jungle rave with my crew.
Do you remember the first party or event you played? How shitty was it? What did you learn from it?
Yeah I was awful, I was self taught, I didn’t even own turntables when I started! I started doing my own parties in Savannah so that was my first gig, just playing records for friends. I never learned the fundamentals of DJing until right before I moved to NYC. But I would DJ with a friend down there who I would learn a bit of stuff from, and then same thing after moving to NYC.
How organized is your personal music collection? What was the first piece of vinyl or music that you bought that you can remember?
I try and keep everything categorized on my comp/serato by genre, or style. My first cassette tape was Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’, my first CD was Stone Temple Pilots ‘Core’ and the first record I bought after deciding to be a DJ must’ve been a Journey record.
What’s your favorite drink? Want to tell us a little bit about your interest in energy drinks? Want to design your own energy drink some day? What would it be called?
Some of my favorite energy drinks are Amp and Full Throttle. I go through phases though, I used to be really into all different brands, I think in NYC it all depends on where you live and what your local bodega carries. Haha Yes, I would love to have my own energy drink. I’d call it something extreme and crazzzzy.
What’s your favorite part of the job, or what makes it worth it? Any memorable moments of recognition that brought it back home for you?
Favorite part of my job (T&B Vice Pres) is I am my own boss and I am producing and overseeing creative projects and releases and working with music and art. Favorite part of DJing is probably the same exact reason. Some great recognition moments for me have always been our T&B Anniversary parties that are always lots of fun, so much love from our fans. Also, my first time playing at Fabric in London, and every time I go to a random city and there’s someone rockin a T&B shirt.
Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement with Scion or about how you prepare (either mentally or musically or both) for radio as opposed to for a live party?
We’ve been doing a lot more give-aways and contests, we’re really trying to connect more with the people supporting our music and try and reach out to new ones. Hence the weekly give aways ‘Free BASS Mondays’. But we also do a monthly radio show for Scion Radio 17, preparing this compared to getting a set ready is so much different, have to think about what someone might want to hear while sitting at their computer, exercising, driving a car or riding on a bus somewhere. So its always a mix of some more laid back tunes (we think) and then of course some more aggressive unreleased or exclusive tunes for people to hear for the first time. When getting a live set together, have to keep in mind where you’re playing, what kind of market it is, what time your set is and who else you’re playing with. All these things definitely help construct what’s going into the set.
When did T&B hook up with Mishka? How involved are you in the design process and aesthetic of T&B?
We hooked up with Mishka back in 2007 I think. Math Head, an old member of T&B, did a few mixes for MIshka and then both parties started to become friends and vibe on each other. I was in some look books for Mishka and then the T&B crew were in some as well. We did a few exclusive mixes for Mishka and then some one-off T shirts. The whole time we had been producing our own shirts and after a while approached Mishka about joining forces to produce T&B x Mishka shirts and sell through them exclusively.
As for the design and aesthetic of T&B, usually me and Drop The Lime go over everything together. We show each other on some of our favorite imagery and references and figure out what would be something we’d like to see on a shirt, or a record cover, etc. etc. Also discuss what stuff has worked and why. So everything visual you see from T&B has been through my brain a few times.
How do you combat boredom? What do you do when you’re not making or playing music? When you’re traveling, how do you like to pass the time en route?
At home I spend a good amount of time shopping at thrift stores for VHS tapes and vintage clothes, sitting around watching Netflix or running around the city in search of the perfect coffee. While traveling; Bejeweled 2, Words with Friends. Haha I also read a bunch while on the road and work on edits and work. I’m never not working. No time for boredom.