Words by LargeUp Crew
Over the next few days, people across the U.S.A. and a growing number of other places, will take part in the annual rituals of Halloween. The Caribbean doesn’t trick or treat, though. There’s masquerade.
In Bermuda — situated in the Atlantic but culturally Caribbean in almost every way — you can expect to encounter Gombeys during the holiday season. These dancing masqueraders, not unlike those found at many Caribbean carnivals, carry on folk traditions brought over centuries ago from Africa.
Noise Cans, a Bermuda-born beatmaker and DJ whose identity is hidden behind a Gombey mask, has put together the perfect soundtrack for your Halloween fete or street masquerade. The sixth edition in LargeUp’s monthly Mix Series, Badmon Rave catalogs the fusion of Caribbean and electronic sounds that has been percolating over the last few years. Featured tracks come from Caribbean producers like Jillionaire and The Wizard, as well as beatmakers from farin inspired by dancehall, soca and reggae. Sprinkled through the instrumentals and remixes are menacing vocal tracks from badmon deejays like Agent Sasco (on “Mutant Brain,” which you might have heard in this perfume commercial) and Skinny Fabulous (on Noise Cans’ own “Do It Like a Pro”).
Download Badmon Rave here, and read our interview with Noise Cans below.
LargeUp: Who, or what, is Noise Cans?
Noise Cans: Noise Cans is a Bermudian sound system that merges Caribbean/Tropical vibes with progressive electronic sounds.
LU: What is the meaning of Badman Rave? Is it a genre? A mindstate? What is the peak “Badman Rave” track?
NC: I take Badman Rave to be a mixture of Caribbean vibes with electronic sounds. I don’t know if it was ever really a genre but one of the first producers/DJs that I heard making this sound was The Partysquad. After the release of their EP, Badman Rave, I thought that this sound of electronic music finally had a proper title and I just liked the name and found it fitting for the vibes. If it’s not a genre yet, it should be a genre. I feel like now more than ever there are a lot of dope DJ’s/producers making music in this space.
LU: Tell us about the selections on this mixtape. There’s some familiar names, like Major Lazer and Bunji Garlin, but a lot of unfamiliar ones, too.
NC: Every mix I create is a combination of artists that I’m truly a fan of and songs that I’m listening to or really loving at the moment. You always have to include the familiar artist for popular demand, but I like to incorporate a lot of others that might be starting to bubble or not as popular as the top guys. At the end of the day, dope music is dope music, regardless of who makes it.
LU: Your identity is hidden behind a gombey mask, a form of masquerade from your home island of Bermuda. What do we need to know about the mask, and gombeys, to understand Noise Cans?
NC: The mask is culture, vibe, energy — it allows me to create and feel as free as I want to be. It originates from the gombey, which is an iconic symbol of my culture. The Gombey is Bermuda’s mix of African indigenous peoples, Caribbean and British cultures, blending them into a unique performance art full of colorful masquerades, dancing, and drumming.
LU: You’ve been releasing mixes for about two years now, and put out two tracks this year. When will Noise Cans appear live, in the flesh?
NC: My goal has been to build up a body of work to where people will recognize the vibe and want to see me perform. That being said, we are creating something special on the performance side bringing carnival elements to the stage, so trust me it’s worth the wait. With the current releases and people loving the vibes, we have been getting a bunch of offers. So soon come in 2017.