I’m really excited to be in this amazing location in Florence to have a chat with Q-Mastah and Leon P, respectively repping two of my favourite music collectives at the minute, Dub Stuy Records (Brooklyn, New York) and Numa Crew (Florence, Italy). For those who don’t know about your journey, tell us a bit about you and your crew.
Q-Mastah: My name is Q and I started a record label called Dub Stuy exactly 5 years ago. The idea was to create a platform to develop sound system culture in New York & America. Over the last 5 years we have been building a record label, raves and obviously our sound system. We connected with Numa Crew last year, as we invited them to DJ at one of our events. We really enjoy collaborating with these guys – we share the same vision musically and we feel a really deep connection in the way we approach the culture. It’s great to be here in Florence again, we came to play here in April and I’m really happy to be back to reconnect with the guys ahead of our boat party at Outlook Festival.
Leon P: Numa Crew is a collective of producers, DJ’s and MC’s based in Florence, Italy. We started producing dubstep back in 2006/2007 and we’ve been pushing the UK sound in Italy ever since. We feel really lucky to have come up in a city like Florence because people really responded well to this new sound from the start, and that gave us the chance to make this movement bigger. Within Numa Crew we explore different sounds from drum’n’bass, dub, dancehall to dubstep to grime and it gives life to many interesting projects and collaborations. That’s what Numa Crew is all about.
How did you guys link up?
Q-Mastah: I’ve been following these guys for a long time, and last year we invited Numa Crew to play at our event with Radikal Guru in NY. As a label owner, I always try to see what’s going on in the scene and we really appreciate the variety and versatility of their sounds and I really rate the approach they have in their production. We started connecting online through Facebook and I realised how deeply linked our sounds were. We have been working on more projects and ideas since then to this day cause we have a release coming out together.
Leon P: Playing in New York for Dub Stuy was a great experience, and also the first time we performed in the States. As soon as we linked up, we felt like one big crew, just split in two different parts of the world. It felt like home. As Q said, we are going in the same direction musically and we have the same mission. Music is a global mission, and when you find people like them building something that deep in a really difficult environment, it’s natural to team up. I see these guys as our family on the other side of the world, it’s so good that we’re building a proper community.
Q-Mastah: I think that’s actually the nature of the scene we are part of, we are all small collectives all over the world. I think it’s really about human connections and that’s how the music is created and the culture evolves. Not everyday you find that kind connection and vibe, we are really happy about this.
We were talking about your upcoming release on Dub Stuy Records “Marijuana Burns Capitalism“. How did you come up with it?
Q-Mastah: This is our latest 12″ release on the label. It’s a meditative ganja tune from Blind Prophet, an up and coming producer from around New York, and Tenor Youthman, a very talented vocalist from Russia. I’ve been wanting to do something with the Numa Crew for a long time and when we were hanging out in Florence back in April, this project came up and the idea of doing a remix came naturally. To complement the main track, I wanted Numa Crew’s remix to be a bit more dance oriented with a little faster tempo. I’m really stoked how it came together.
The Dub Stuy boat party was definitely one of the sickest shows I managed to shoot at Outlook Festival this year. I was really impressed and excited by the energy of the people on board with us. The line up was literally perfect in my opinion and I also loved to see how you guys blended with each other. What was your impression about it?
Q-Mastah: The boat party was exactly how we envisioned it. Despite the uncertain weather, a lot of people came out and the vibes were just on point from start to finish. The lineup was a mix of DJ’s from our crew in NYC (Anna Morgan and Doctor Jeep), label artists Bukkha and Von D, and our friend Mark Iration who played our USA Outlook launch party this year. What I loved the most about the lineup was that it covered almost every angle of the sound system music spectrum with so many different vibes, tempos and dubplates being played. I think it represented our vision as a label and felt like the crowd appreciated it as well. It was a very special moment.
Leon P: The Dub Stuy boat party has been an amazing experience. Top notch vibes and music quality, the crowd was there for real and the line up made by Q-Mastah was a perfect journey into the sound system culture going through many different styles. It was a pleasure to play with all of these guys and also last minute guest on board Flirta D.
Outlook Festival is always a mind blowing experience and it doesn’t matter how many times you have been before, you always go home feeling a bit different and inspired. What was the highlight of 2017 for you?
Q-Mastah: The performance that really left an impression for me this year was Miss Red and Lady Chann with the Bug on the Mungo’s Stage. I’ve seen the Bug many times before, but I think there’s something special about the Mungo’s Stage that really brought out the energy from their performance. It was the first time I saw both Miss Red and Lady Chann together and it was a killer combination. Talking about Mungo’s Arena, it’s hands down my favourite stage of the festival. There’s just something about the vibe in there that’s so unique. It has the right size and acoustics to perfectly match Mungo’s rig and still feels intimate. I’d say I probably spent half my time at Outlook hanging out backstage with friends from various crews and listening to great performances. It’s basically like a social club back there and to me, Outlook wouldn’t be the same without it. In terms of sound system, I don’t think anything comes close to the system on the Void stage. It’s like being in a giant studio in the woods. The pressure, precision and overall dynamic is just unreal.
Leon P: My personal highlights were the Deep Medi and Bandulu nights at Void, the Hatcha & Friends boat party with Plastician, Hatcha b2b Loefah, Michael Prophet’s live at Mungo’s Arena and the Jungle Jam on the last night of the festival at the Garden. The Void and Mungo’s are also the two sound systems I prefer. They’re very different from each other but really unique in their own way.
📷: Ila Brugal