LiT MIX 014 :: Bombae

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DJ Bombae’s LiT MIX is a furnace blast of afrobeat-driven dancehall, culo loco trapero, baile funk and hip hop heat to keep us working up a sweat this winter! Worldwide selections so hot it's a melting pot, woven so well it’s a mosaic— whatever the metaphor listen you’ll hear why this savvy Afro-Indian DJ is a rising star on Canada’s west coast.

 

Her keen cross-cultural ear gets her booked at the best international campus parties throughout the region, and her clubwise sensibility lights up the freshest urban nightlife events. Mark your calendar, she is DJing w/ Freeky P, DJ Mario and Chris Mphande at the next Sweet x Sawa party March 26th at Fortune Sound Bar, Vancouver!

​:: INTERVIEW ::

🔥Light Twerkerz: What was your ASSpiration for this mix?

📣 BOMBAE: “Hard beats like your heart beats.”

🔥Light Twerkerz: How would you describe your LiT MIX to someone you’re crushing on?

📣 BOMBAE: “I would say listen yeah? I vibe with you. Listen to this to get to know me because this mix is me: From all over. Multi-faceted. Leaves you wanting more. If you can keep up, call me."

🔥Light Twerkerz: How did you meet Light Twerkerz?

📣 BOMBAE: “I met Rich Nines at Victoria Event Centre, he was DJ-ing the Art Battle event right before I DJ’d a Latinos Without Borders party I produced there in collaboration with the UVic African-Caribbean Association (I was their official DJ). “

🔥Light Twerkerz: That was such a hype party! And you did so well juggling all the competing requests for midtempo 100-bpm-ish cumbia and 130-bpm-ish afrobeats. How do you adapt your selections to cater to different audiences? You play for a lot of diverse international student bodies...

📣 BOMBAE: “That night was all about finding as much balance and synchronicity as possible while juggling the bpm.Trying to please everyone but not ruin the vibe. Catering to those two specific niches, it came together with everyone enjoying each other’s music which was fun to watch. 

My background is so complicated.  So I have familiarity with so many different places, I can find a home and connect with different people because of my lived experience. 

I just graduated from UVic in Sociology, now moved to Vancouver. At UVic I worked for the Athletic Association, the Indian Student Association, and now in Vancouver the Indian Association at UBC and the Pakistani Student Association. I DJ’d at their Dholki 2020 event, they love the Bollywood hits. 

I’m the DJ, so I do my job. But I feel that if there’s a certain demographic in the audience that’s being under-represented in that moment and vocalizes it to me, I can be very adaptive and I want everyone to have fun.”  

🔥Light Twerkerz: Do the people from the campus student groups come to your downtown club events?

📣 BOMBAE: “The Africans and Caribbeans definitely come out because I play their niche. This includes Africans and Caribbeans from various racial backgrounds but not so much from the Indian or Pakistani associations as it is more removed. Being Indo-African your identity is layered because we lived in Africa for long so I know my friends of that background identify and have heavy pride with the music. Working for these groups has helped grow my audience for sure." 

🔥Light Twerkerz: You play such a variety of international sounds for specific and interconnected audiences... How do you feel about the authenticity/appropriation debate around who should play whose music in which situations?

📣 BOMBAE: “I love this question because of how complex it is. In terms of the structure of our society, race and labels and boxes do exist regardless of them not being natural, they exist and we must acknowledge the effects of this reality. For once, the fact that I’m racially Indian, ethnically East African with my maternal grandmother's side all being from South Africa, religiously born a Muslim and born and raised in Vancouver. On top of that, I went to college and became close with many West Africans which allowed me to learn Pidgin english and fall in love with their music, culture and food heavily, also constantly having homestay students from Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Saudi Arabia, you name it.

Because I don't have a specific identity, it has allowed me to infiltrate spaces in an easier way because of my experience, because I’m ethnically and identity-wise ambiguous. So people don’t know where to put me and I don’t know where to put myself. It’s a blessing and a curse, where you don’t have one home, one identity. I have never known where I belonged. Not once actually. DJing has definitely brought me closer though. I mean, the reality of our society is that your identity shifts based on whom you are around and how they interpret you - it's contextual, geographical. For example, in Kenya I am called a "Muhindi" (Indian) and I am not seen as a Canadian right off the bat - those are usually reserved for the "Mzungus" (White). It's funny here actually. Growing up I got asked, "Where are you from?" If I answer, "I am from here, Vancouver!" I get the, "No I mean, where are you really from?". When I was younger I just settled for Indian because no one in my high school understood having African roots and now when I answer, I think my complexity can be interesting and it's a way to reclaim the roots I was disconnected from - so if you ask, just be prepared to give me 5-10 minutes of your time to explain! 

 

I mean music is seriously a universal language. My motto is "Home is where the music lives" because it's not only my way of connecting to my culture(s), but it's a way to bring a piece of everyone's home forward. It is something everyone can understand no matter what language. The keys I always say are to have an open mind and open body. When you really let go, you would be surprised. Ah and fun story, I am extra as hell so I had to be creative with my DJ name. The name Bombae (besides my family loving Gin which is a part of it) is a play on the word Bombay, the old British colonial city name of Mumbai which has to do with my ancestor's story as well as the fact that people always assume I am fully Indian or from there (until I open my mouth which - unfortunately - only speaks English, for now) and the words "bomb" and "bae" because well, I am bomb. And bae. Anyway, end of the day, humans love to categorize and I am walking confusion. I know I am not alone however, there are many third culture kids who get it. What I like to emphasize is being self-aware in your identity/identity politics and knowing what intersectionality is and how it works. That brings me to the main part of the question...who should play whose music in which situations. 

 

From conversations with my colleagues and friends, I have gotten mixed reactions and that is natural because each person has their own lived experience they are speaking from. My take on it is this…This is an art first and foremost but it is also a business. And all is not fair in business, unfortunately. There is seniority, hierarchy, judgement etc. which influences who plays where and you can’t really control what people play. You can’t necessarily police genres…I mean it can simply be the fact that clients just enjoy working with you and in that case, you do your job and you deliver for the client when you are hired. I know many non-Indian deejays who do Indian weddings because they have been in the industry for over 20+ years or grew up around those cultures and yet I haven't even done a proper one yet! And that is okay with me.

However, I need to emphasize that there is a time and place when this music should be played. End of the day, if you are “reading” your crowd, you are also assuming. A DJ may see a bunch of black and brown people and play 1-2 common songs out of the whole night just to make us “happy” and then go back to what they actually play – which is also assuming the identities of those people. I see it as, be yourself, do yourself, be authentic to who you are because I can feel when someone is just trying to throw crumbs. I’m so happy when people ask me what are the top Bollywood songs, or Swahili songs. And I’m more than happy to share because I want the music to be out there for more ears and I appreciate when I get asked about it so I can explain and I know the artists appreciate it too. The more people that love it, the more it’s put on and I want to put on for my people.

 

End of the day, context and research is important. There is a difference between DJs that correspond with their POC friends because they are genuinely into the genre and want to understand contextually or who have grown up around a certain culture to the point that they actually understand it deeper than surface level which is interpreted as more authentic (to me). When I was younger I used to get excited but now being in the club as a DJ myself even when I go and party I tend to subconsciously pay more attention to how the DJ does their thing. Bottom line, no one will be able to resonate with the songs of your language as much as you do but because we are blessed to be in such a multicultural country growing up around different lifestyles, its hard to avoid playing different genres and I think we shouldn’t avoid doing so especially music influences each other.

Representation matters. Space for that music matters. It always has. What bothers me is that people sleep on genres because they are different. Only when it becomes mainstream is it valued (i.e. Afrobeat genres currently in the past few years) when that is something that should have been given space years ago. Yes, you only know what you know at the time, but where was the space for that music to be played before it turned commercial? The audience has always been here. We have always been here. And that is an example of how this is business at the end of the day. Everyone wants a piece of what’s happening right now and suddenly there’s space and a want for it. What needs to be considered is: Who is being given the opportunities and space? And by whom? It should be the duty of those in people in places of power to equitably allocate space. Personally, I was given the space. Yes because I worked for it. Yes because I proved myself to my seniors. But also because of my connection to what I love to play."

🔥Light Twerkerz: What’s your favourite booty music to DJ?

📣 BOMBAE: “I actually love ‘tribal house’ as a genre. Like for example Gregor Salto. I love fast-paced tribal jungle beats. And I also love mid-tempo— that’s incorporated into this LiT MIX mix a lot: heavy beats but you can’t stand still even though it’s not super-fast. And usually it’s all within the afrobeats umbrella. Afrobeats itself is not a genre, it’s an umbrella term.” 

🔥Light Twerkerz: But like, what makes something 'tribal' or 'afro'?

📣 BOMBAE: “I know what you mean. I’m trying to find the word for it, myself. Off-the record, ‘afrobeats’ and ‘world’ as terms are really not loved. Actually, you can put that on the record. But it’s really hard to list all the genres within afrobeats. Just for convenience sake, it kinda groups things together. It’s like calling Africa a country, and that’s the problem. Until there’s better vocabulary, then we can address that. But even within afrobeats, there’s so many.”

🔥Light Twerkerz: How did you first discover twerking?

📣 BOMBAE: “Well, I had an experience in the mirror, when I was in university. As I was growing, I didn’t really think I could. Or I wasn’t really comfortable with my body. But when I became more comfortable, I was like, I need to let go. So I was having a dance party in my room, and I just kind of practised, and loosened up my back. And that’s how I discovered it for myself. Mainstream it was probably MTV or Much Music, but before that, I knew that these movements were how people danced back home, in terms of African movements. I didn’t know that was the word twerking, but it’s always been very belly and butt-centric in my culture.” 

🔥Light Twerkerz: What kind of butt do you have?

📣 BOMBAE: “Not sure. I would say I have a perky butt. I wish it was bigger, softer and juicier— those are my fav; BUT, all booties need love!” 

🔥Light Twerkerz: Any body positive advice to share?

📣 BOMBAE: “What is shown as desirable shifts overtime. That is a fact and that is how our society is built. It keeps us wanting and unsatisfied. I remember growing up around my mom and aunts with larger backsides and they always spoke negatively of it and yet fast forward to today, it is the "in" thing. Culturally, geographically and chronologically what is shown to be valued will change— what won't change is your value. Life is short. You have one body. Shake it.”

🔥Light Twerkerz: How would you describe Light Twerkerz to your parents?

📣 BOMBAE: “I’m lucky I have very open parents. I’d say ‘Light Twerkerz is a badass body-positive dance crew, that’s good vibes.’ It’s comfortable. Speaking with you, talking with you, I feel comfortable just being me. Safe space."

🔥Light Twerkerz: What does a booty/body-positive dancefloor mean to you as a DJ?

📣 BOMBAE: “One thing that I’ve noticed, since starting to DJ…is a few comments I’ve gotten personally, by me being a bigger woman of colour, and I’m in the spotlight as DJ. There are not many of us. I wanted to DJ since I was 16 but always put it off because of how I looked and honestly if I saw someone like me on stage I would have definitely started earlier. I thought I needed to get to a certain size to be able to have the confidence to be at the front. But that is not my reality and probably will never be. I have a hormone imbalance which makes it tough - almost impossible - to focus on aesthetics so instead I focus on how my body feels and how it is functioning. My hair texture, skin pigment, weight constantly fluctuates, I have flare ups. I am constantly on and off different medication because there is no cure, so how can I be focused on how I look when this is my reality? And how is it fair to myself that I wait until a certain point to live my life? So ask yourself, how is it fair to yourself to not dance how you want to or wear want you want to wear?

If I can inspire one person especially women to not give a f***, I can die happy. You are allowed to be a work in progress and perfection at the same time. So when I am doing my job, because I am partying and sweating I can’t cover my arms or body like my old self would and you shouldn’t either. You have one body that was created and given to you and it is especially important when you are in a place solely made for dancing and vibing that you be the most comfortable. It makes my day really. There is nothing better. I’ve gotten comments from other females saying ‘Thank you for being you, you made me comfortable. Your energy and your vibe is so great.’ Things like that… Visually me being up there makes other women feel more comfortable. At least I truly do hope so. 

 

And I speak to women specifically because that’s the group that usually holds back, or has so many issues based on what society tells us should or shouldn’t be worn, about our bodies. So basically I like to make people feel safe and comfortable in their own skin by trying my best to portray that. Because I feel like energy… whatever energy is emitted is what is received. People ask ‘How are you so confident?’ And not to be cheesy but it seriously came from within. I was heavily, heavily bullied in elementary school and part of high school and that really messed me up. For being bigger. For having hair on my body. I used to come home crying almost every day. It messed me up. My confidence was shot and my anxiety was through the roof. I grew up not knowing my worth and that translated into adulthood until I healed from it – which is an ongoing process and DJing helped immensely because it forces you to be you and in the moment. Best part? I now DJ for people who look like the ones who used to bully me. Now they want to be friends. Now they want guestlist. I love it. It is my own little victory inside because I pushed through and I didn’t end my life when I wanted to. So keep going. Keep dancing. Not tomorrow. Today. Because if I can look how I do, or dance how I do, or feel comfortable in my own skin and clothes, I want you to question, ‘Why can’t I?’ I love that, because that’s what I needed when I was younger in the clubs. I don’t need to be inspirational. Just use me as YOUR why. The most beautiful people are the most insecure and it kills me inside.

 

So my job is to DJ and to keep working hard to be present in the body that I’m in and challenging these spaces with my body and my presence, so that other women or however they identify, they watch me and can feel good. I’m usually the only female DJing at most parties, so that in itself makes women feel comfortable in a space that can usually feel really toxic.

As a DJ it is my job to create a vibe and to also ensure everyone feels comfortable. I know people who have come behind me while I was working because they needed an escape. When you’re around me I want you to feel comfortable, feel safe, and focus on just having a damn good time. I hope I am achieving that.

 

That’s my ultimate life energy: you don’t know anyone’s story so be yourself, be carefree, live in the moment. Life is too short.”

:: TRACKLISTING ::

  1. Ritmo Mexicano — MC GW [Kondzilla Records, 2017]

  2. Reggaeton — J. BALVIN (DA PHONK Re-Drum) [UMG Records, 2018]

  3. My Neck, My Back (Lick It) — KHIA (BRAD BRAXTON Remix) [Grooveland Studios, 2012]

  4. Truth Hurts — LIZZO (TREN D Re-Drum) prod. RICKY REED [WMG, 2017]

  5. Naagin — AASTHA GILL & AKASA prod. PURI [Sony Music India, 2019]

  6. Coño — PURI feat. JHORRMOUNTAIN X ADJE (Team Rush Hour Mix) prod. PURI [Spinnin' Records, 2017]

  7. Figa — ETHIC feat. KONSHENS [UMG Records, 2019]

  8. Weka Weka — P-UNIT [2014]

  9. Parte After Parte — BIG TRIL [Striker Records & Entertainment Limited, 2019]

  10. Bedroom Bully — BUSY SIGNAL [ASCAP, 2015]

  11. Reggae Gold Challenge — DJ AMAZE (Radio Diwali Edit) [The Orchard Music, 2018]

  12. Tambourine — EVE [Aftermath Records, 2007]

  13. Sanko — TIMAYA [DM Records, 2014]

  14. Rebota Contra La Pared — GUYANA X SEAN PAUL (D MARTINEX X ALEX VILLA Mashup) [2019]

  15. Que Calor — MAJOR LAZER feat. J. BALVIN & EL ALFA (FVGHT CLUB Indian Flute Edit) [2019]

  16. Voodo (Oochie Wally Flip)— NICOLIUS (iMARKKEYZ Remix) [2017]

  17. Tight Up — NADIA ROSE feat. RED RAT [SME, 2018]

  18. Tic Tock — SALTY {NAYE A Edit) [2017]

  19. Boss Ass Bitch — PTAF feat. NICKI MINAJ (ALEX SARGO Flip) [UMG, 2014]

  20. My Woman My Everything — PATORANKING feat. WANDE COAL [WMG 2017]

  21. Overload - MR. EAZI feat. SLIMCASE & MR. REAL [2018]

  22. Mad Mad Mad (Fiyah Dance) — AFRO B prod. TEAM SALUT [Empire, 2019]

  23. Soweto Baby — DJ MAPHORISA feat. WIZKID & DJ BUCKZ [New Money Gang Music, 2015]

  24. Open Fire — PATORANKING feat. BUSISWA [Amari Music, 2019]

  25. Makulusa — RAYVANNY feat. DJ MAPHORISA & DJ BUCKZ [2017]

  26. Under Lover — GHETTO BOY [2017]

  27. Anyhow — TEKNO [MMMG, 2018]

  28. Mafo — NAIRA MARLEY feat. YOUNG JONN [2019]

  29. Sugar Mummy — TENI [Dr. Dolor Entertainment, 2019]

  30. Soapy — NAIRA MARLEY prod. REXXIE [2019]

  31. Tur-key Nla — WANDE COAL [Black Diamond Entertainment, 2018]

  32. Iskaba — WANDE COAL & DJ TUNEZ prod. DJ TUNEZ [Black Diamond Entertainment, 2017]

  33. Afro Trap Pt. 7 (La Puissance) — MHD (MAJOR LAZER Remix, INTHERIOUS Hype Intro) [Mad Decent, 2018]

  34. Formation x Pon De Floor — BEYONCÉ X MAJOR LAZER (DJ ASHLEY ALEXANDER Remix)

  35. Bazonyenza — BUSISWA feat. DJ MAPHORISA [Universal Music, 2018]

  36. Omunye — DESTRUCTION BOYZ 

  37. John Cena — SHO MADJOZI feat. BENNY MAVERICK & DLADLA MSHUNQISI [Believe Music, 2017]

  38. Like I Love You — JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE (KEVIN D & JESSIE BENJAMIN Remix)

  39. Calabria — ENUR (SALVI & FRANKLIN DAM Remix) [2019]

  40. Jook Gal — ELEPHANT MAN feat. TWISTA [2008]

  41. Weke Weke — BURAKA SOM SISTEMA (DJ YASH Afro Drums Edit) [2015]

  42. Baile De Favela — MC JOAO [2015]

  43. Bum Bum Tam Tam — MC FIOTI [UMG, 2017]

  44. Body Count — DJ HARAM (Chippy Nonstop Edit)

  45. Humble — KENDRICK LAMAR (SENTIMENZ & CORINDO AFRO Mix) [2017]

  46. Leg Over — MR. EAZI (UPROOT ANDY Remix) [2018]

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