Sunday, September 23, 2007

Queen Majesty: Chinatown inna Greenville

I can honestly say that some the best nights I've had in New York were at Up Park Classics @ Kingsize. In fact, I think the last time I was there, me and my guys almost got kicked out. Which means we were having a goooood tiiiime. Queen Majesty and her crew, Deadly Dragon Sound NYC, have been throwing one of NY's best weekly's for the last 3 years. First with Fist to Fist @ Pianos and now in their second year at Kingsize.

At the risk of writing a mega long intro trying to explain just how fresh this woman is, let's just say that this Wednesday is gonna be a real treat for Dallas. Amazing DJ, big time record nerd, sick Salt N Pepa costume wearer, etc. Queen Majesty will be guesting with me this Wednesday at TAXI FARE (Zubar backroom).

I caught up with her Sunday via AIM and we took a min to talk about her night at Kingsize, how see's her "sound", her early dj experiences, and whatever else came to mind. Here's how it went down...

Nature: I guess right off the bat, you're from NY born and raised?

Queen Majesty: Born and raised in Buffalo, NY. I moved to NYC in 1994.

N: You move for school, or just on some "I'm moving to the city" ting?

QM: School, F.I.T., but really it was just an excuse to move here.

N: True... So when did you start djing?

QM: In 2000, I had been collecting records since I moved here and me and some friends just starting throwing some parties around town.

N: What kind of spots?

QM: Just small clubs in the East Village and Williamsburg. I was playing a lot more dub and 70's reggae back then, and the guys I started playing with played a little bit of everything.

N: Yeah, that was another question of mine. When we first met up I asked you what styles of music you liked to play and you told me that on a personal level you were into all kinds of things, but when it came to djing, you played strictly reggae. Part of me was really suprised by that, being that the current atmosphere in NYC is really conducive to playing multiple genres. Are you still strictly reggae, and if so, can you maybe talk about why?

while waiting for her responce (the AIM the typing prompt had been active for about 5 mins) my stolen internet connection decides to crap out on me. Scrambled around the room trying to catch a signal and called up QM to let her know what was going on. And to copy her text...

QM: hahahaha

N: I was like, apple C, apple C!!!

QM: C-reiosly...

text appears..

QM: Yeah I still only play strictly reggae, mostly dancehall. Reggae is obviously a very special genre of music and I didn't necessarily want to become a DJ, I just started djing so that I can play the Jamaican music I have. And the more I learned about it, the more I fell in love with it, the more I collected it. There are a lot of subtleties to selecting reggae, and, in my opinion, you can't grasp all of them if you play many different kinds of music. Also, since there are so many dj's who play so many varied things, I think it works for me to be known for my specific knowledge in this area of music.

N: Well put.

QM: Thanks.

N: I've been buying and playing reggae since '98 but it's not really the same as collecting it or selecting it. It's EXPANSIVE. One of the tunes really made me start buying reggae records was Sizzla's "Babylon A Use Dem Brain". "Praise Ye Jah" was a big record for me too. These records made me go out and look for more Sizzla stuff, which led me to Capleton, and then... You know. Scientist wins the World Cup, and Aswads "Dub Fire" kinda got me looking for dub and roots records... Could you name a couple of the tunes that really got you motivated to explore the genre? Or maybe shows or other selectors that made an early impression on you.

QM: First of all, yes, it's EXPANSIVE. So unbelievably expansive. And not at all easy to find all of the good tunes. I think Soul Jazz records out of England has consistently done a great job in their compilations of Studio One and other ones as well. Both selection-wise and quality-wise. I always suggest people to go out and buy compilations when first trying to get into reggae, it's the best way to get a feel of what you like and would like to explore more. I got into reggae chronologically, so a few of my first albums were The Skatalites, The Upsetters, Phyllis Dillon, The Heptones, The Cables, Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe... Mostly Studio One, Treasure Isle and and other foundation. Undeniably beautiful and amazing music.

N: Can you talk a little about Deady Dragon Sound? How you met up with those guys, who are the selectors in the sound, how long you've been working together...

QM: The selectors of Deadly Dragon Sound NYC are Scratch Famous (Jeremy), JD (Jason), myself, and Mr. K (Kazuo). I met Jeremy 4 or so years ago at a party we were booked at together and since then have become close friends and DJ partners. Jason I met through Jeremy and the 3 of us have been doing a weekly party together for over 3 years now, as well as monthly events, and Jason and Jeremy opened up the store a little over 2 years ago. Mr. K is our newest recruit.

N: King Size has 3 years already?

QM: 2 years at Kingsize with Up Park Classics, one year before that at Piano's with Fist to Fist...

N:I've been missing out.

QM: hah

N: I've got like two more for ya and then I think we're good. If you can swing it? Easy ones these...

QM: Totally.

N: Thanks for real.

QM: Thank you...

N: Now i got 3...

QM: haha

N: I wanna say I saw flics of you at Tuff Gong studios right?

QM: Studio One. I went to Jamaica for the first time about 2 years ago, stayed in Kingston most of the time and somehow was lucky enough to visit Studio One. My Mecca.

N: Blurry photo too by the way. Can't really be sure it was you...

QM: hah, well I have others...

N: Bet you do.

QM: Mrs. Norma Dodd was there, King Stitt was there just hanging out, and they let me go upstairs through some 45's. I was in heaven. On the way out I decided to show Mrs. Dodd my Studio One tattoo, because I thought it might be something for her to see some crazy white girl from New York with her husband's studio logo. She took off her glasses, looked at me, and said "Now that is very very nice". King Stitt said, "She 'ave Studio One back?!?". Hah.

N: Bad ass......

N: So could maybe give me a little Queen Majesty Current Top Tunes list? Things you're feeling at the moment?

QM: Sure, in no particular order, these i'm listening to a lot / and or playing regularly at the moment:

1. Chuck Turner - Trying to Conquer I
2. Mikey General - Sound Doctor
3. Pad Anthony - Turn Me Loose
4. White Mice - Youths of Today
5. Lady June - Don't Touch the Crack

N: Slamming. I haven't heard any of those tunes yet.

QM: Just gonna throw a few more out, hah. Put in however many you want.

N: Please do. Fuck, I'm puttin 'em all in.

6. Junior Cat - Kingston, Jamaica
7. Tony Rebel - It Can't Work
8. Sammy Levi - Come Off the Road
9. Junior Bammer - New Rude Boy
10. Johnny Osbourne - No Lollipop No Sweet So

N: Thanks for those...

N: Ok, last question... There’s obviously a ton of selectors in NYC, everyone with their own style and tastes. How would you or maybe someone who knows you well describe your sound. What’s some “real Queen Majesty” shit? Could be tunes or could be something you’re kinda known for doing…

QM: You know, I would actually like to ask someone how they would describe my sound. I tend to play a lot of 80's dancehall, and I'm often drawn to darker sounding riddims like Tempo, Mr. Bassie, Haunted or Galore, but I also love ones like Love I Can Feel, Fiesta and Mud Up. I definitely wouldn't be known for modern roots or dropping all of the latest things straight out of JA...

11:30 PM

N: That was real Coltrane right there. Well spoken...

Queen Majesty will be guest selector at Taxi Fare this Wednesday @ Zubar. It's free, and she's obviously amazing. If you miss this, there's just no excuse for you...

TAXI FARE w/ Nature and special guest selector Queen Majesty (NYC)

- Nature


Blogger Prince Money said...


2:15 PM  
Blogger I'm Sober said...


9:26 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

I think I need to go, as a primer before my Jamaica trip.

6:53 AM  

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