All Articles
All Articles

Flavorpill WMC: DJ Contra Interview


Flavorpill WMC: DJ Contra Interview

by Ami Kealoha
on 21 March 2007

Since his arrival in Miami, Contra has consistently lent his deft hands and acute ears to the promotion of the city's DJ culture. Originally from DC, Contra first made a name for himself hosting The Underground, a hip-hop/soul/funk shakedown at the venerable indie radio station WVUM. In 2005, he left town to tour as feisty lyricist M.I.A.'s backup DJ, returning a year later to claim regular gigs at Purdy Lounge, the Pawn Shop, and Skybar. Just back from making the rounds with Spank Rock at SXSW, Contra offered us some insight on the Miami scene.

Notwithstanding the onslaught of events this week, what's your general impression of the DJ scene in Miami?

I think more and more DJs here are getting into playing better parties and not just spinning the same old hits for 17 hours. I was happy to see that at the last Money Shot event at Pawn Shop, I dropped some Baltimore house for the first time and it didn't clear the floor. People in Miami are pretty slow to catch on to new music and often venues won't let you spin what you really want. But I've definitely seen some progress and it seems like there is a change of focus. Spots like Buck15, Purdy Lounge, and the Money Shot party, they'll pretty much give you free range — as long as you first spin the hits to get people hyped.

Besides spinning at parties and exploring events, how else are you keeping busy during WMC?

I'm actually working on creating a mixtape/video project with some of my fellow artists coming down during WMC. The idea is to have cats like Egg Foo Young, Spank Rock, DJ Induce, Chromeo, the Rub, and Pase Rock [of Five Deez] create some exclusive tracks and then get some video footage to match — anything from shots in my bedroom to a typical Miami scene at a jai-alai game.

What would you say is the significance of WMC, especially as it relates to the expansion of music culture in Miami?

WMC surely provides one of the only opportunities to hear music that you really can't find any other time of the year in Miami. And anyone here realizes that as WMC has evolved, many of the unofficial parties have been growing more and more and getting more visible. Plus there's a way wider range of music now than there ever was — even Ultra [Music Festival] has become more eclectic.

Are there any performances that you're particularly looking forward to?

I've been really busy, so I haven't been able to get a handle on everything that's going on. I'm gonna play it by ear, but I'm definitely gonna check out the Turntable Lab party at Skybar on Thursday.

Tell us a little about the kind of music you're digging these days.

Lately, I've been listening to New Orleans brass bands, which is basically the funkiest music alive today. I'm really getting high off that sound, but it really irks me when I play it and people may not be conscious enough to respond. The energy in those bands can easily be transitioned to Afrofunk, or some George Kranz and Italo disco, and then straight into booty music.

Where do you see yourself a few years from now?

Thankfully, I've got a great family of talented artists that keeps me going — Spank Rock, Amanda Blank, Bonde do Role, Plastic Little, the Pack, Flosstradamus, A-Trak, Santogold — and as we progress I hope to help them expand the musical horizons here and elsewhere. Most clubs here still want the big hits, but I can get away with spinning stuff like snap music, maybe a little bit of classic rock, and some '90s backpack hip-hop in one set. Still, if DJs stay content with only playing the hits, Miami is going to stay behind the curve. But really, we've had IDM on lock and we have an amazing Latin scene, so let's keep making it happen.

by Omar Sommereyns

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue
Loading More...