Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Nicole Sweet
Authentic cultural experiences (the dark n’ stormy and Collie Buddz tunes notwithstanding) are not what people usually seek out on visits to Bermuda. But the island—which is in many ways culturally Caribbean, despite its Atlantic geography—is home to some rich traditions sure to be familiar to anyone familiar with jumbies and junkanoo. Still an active presence on the island, gombeys are the keepers and living embodiment of Bermuda’s history, with their own distinctive, yet classically Caribbean, costumery. And, in 2014, the gombey mask has shown up in an unexpected place: EDM music.
The creation of an anonymous, identity-hiding Bermuda-born DJ based in the U.S. known as COLLAS, Noise Cans is set to bring an authentic dose of Caribbean culture to electronic dance music, in both musical and visual terms. While the “badman rave” outfit (which debuted earlier this year with a pair of mixtapes released in association with Amsterdam-based label Bad Manor) is hardly the first to put trap and other dance genres into a blender with dancehall (upcoming singles feature Mr. Vegas and I-Octane, and some massive drops), Noise Cans aims also to bring the theatricality of Caribbean carnival to an arena where throwing pies into a crowd passes for performance.
We sat down with COLLAS in an undisclosed location, somewhere in the USA, to get the story behind the (colorful) mask. Read on here.