Crafting some of the sassiest and most memorable mixes I’ve heard in a while, and looking damn good doing it. It’s time to turn up the heat on Disco Droppings, Joey LaBeija is in control. In this interview we talk about his House of LaBeija family, influence, how his mixes come together and his connection to the CuntMafia Warehouse parties in New York.
DD You are a part of the House of LaBeija, the first voguing house ever started. You are also the only DJ in this crew. As ballroom and vogue culture continues to spread, you seem to be in an ideal central spot. How would you describe the house, its significance and your role in the whole thing?
JL Being a 4th generation LaBeija has been a blessing. Everyone in the house is so loving, supportive, goal oriented and driven. One of our LaBeija mottos is ‘we are a family first and a ballroom house second’. Every single one of us, even our Father Tommie, has a hustle and a struggle and it feels really comforting to know that we are all in this together. The house was quiet for a while in the ballroom scene, and as members of the house, we are all doing our thing to make sure everyone knows WE ARE BACK. I got inducted to the house shortly after my first international gig in Tokyo. I knew that my life as a DJ was slowly but surely about to grow, and I wanted to do it in the name of LaBeija, helping bring the name back to the forefront in and outside of the ballroom community.
DD What has influenced your style as a DJ?
JL I am not much of a voguer, I only vogue when I’m turnt up with my boys smoking blunts at the crib or when I come out the shower feeling soft-n-cunt. Ballroom music is just a fraction of what I like to play…I think growing up in New York has influenced my style as a dj more so than anything. Growing up here I was a floater, never really hanging out with one specific group of people. I went to school with guidos, hung out with punks on St. Marks, cruised for trade with fags on The Pier, and smoked L’s and drank Korbel with my ratchet bitches on the block. Each crew had a completely different influence on me musically and I think it shows a lot in what I do.
DD In addition to an obvious gift with music, you have really rad style. I don’t really have a question about your style, but I just want to commend you on looking fucking awesome all the time.
JL Thanks boo <3
DD I enjoy the names of some of your mixes, such as “Tales From The Bedroom” and “Good Sex & Night Terrors”. Do you often think about themes when pulling together your track lists?
JL Going into a mix with a theme in mind is really important to me. I like to think of those mixes in particular as pages from my journal because they tell a little bit of a story. I didn’t pick tracks for either of them…I recorded them live and played strictly off of my emotions. The titles came to me after listening to them. I wanted Tales From the Bedroom to be a panty dropper mix; something you could listen to while gettin yacked by your [in]significant other. Good Sex & Night Terrors is my favorite..for me, it is story about how much of a nightmare it can be balancing your hustle, loving a dude and being a bad bitch which is exactly what I was going through while recording it.
DD I read in a past interview that you’re planning to expand your friend CuntMafia’s Warehouse parties in New York. These look extremely diverse in terms of the crowds you attract as well as extremely successful in general. How is that coming together? I hope you guys come to Seattle, I’d love to help in any way!
JL Contessa and I are always curating something crazy. Me her and my best friend Shawn Leigh had a great success with our monthly party ‘Iconic’ this summer. I decided to pull the reins on it for a plethora of reasons, the main one being none of the venues really felt like home, which is why we moved the party around every time. But when we find the right home we will bring something back to life for sure. Throwing warehouse parties involves a lot and can be really difficult when you don’t have a rich white man fronting/investing the money for you like other warehouse parties here. Thats why I respect Contessa, she may be wild as fuck and will rage on you like no other, but all of her success is self made and self invested. She’ll take a struggle over a stack of cash any day cuz she’s ACTUALLY about that life.
DD What artists have you the most hyped right now?
JL GIRL!. There has been so much good music coming out recently it’s almost TOO much to handle. I’m really loving everything coming out from Fade To Mind right now. That Kelela Album is has been my bible since it dropped. Kingdom’s Vertical XL is genius, and I’m like crying in anticipation of NguzuNguzu’s new ep coming out. Don’t get me started on Drake’s NWTS…that album has me slow winding for hours at end.
DD Any last words?
JL For booking inquiries contact: JOEYLABEIJA@GMAIL.COM
– Jimi Jaxon