“Krewe of King James is what makes Mardi Gras for me these days. When I was little, it was about parades and catching stuff. In college and little bit older, it was about following Indians. Now I’m kind of mellowing out.
Parading and homework don’t go hand in hand. I’m in the Master of Arts program in the Music School at Tulane studying Musicology. As part of the program, the emphasis is on New Orleans music but we have to study a wide variety of things. Last semester I had history of U.S. music. And when they say history, they mean HISTORY—dealing with stuff in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, starting from when the protestant Puritans came over and all the way up to today.
I’m doing this so I can have a greater vocabulary on my particular interest, which is African-American popular music post-1950s. Especially the ’70s and ’80s which tends to be ignored, unless it’s hip-hop. You don’t find much scholarship on funk. There’s some on disco and there are now two books out on Go-go.
My studies are already making me play better—I’m learning so much about theory and other new things that I’m hearing things differently. But I’m not really doing it to help myself; I’m doing it to further educate where I see a gap. I want to learn so I can teach like others have taught me before.
I’ve played Buku twice before but this year will be a first for me because I’m on an actual stage. I was on the VIP boat both times before—small, but lots of fun. First time I played, I remember walking around thinking, ‘I am the oldest person here.’ And it was a little bit of a culture shock. I found it to be very well run. And people enjoying themselves.
I don’t know how many of these young people have heard of me, but they will be surprised and excited by it. Without the stuff I play, the music heard on the other stages wouldn’t be happening. I like to channel it and present where it comes from. I love electronic music and it’s not too much of a stretch from what I’m playing. But they might be freaked out when they see real records.
I’ll never switch from records. It’s not about being a vinyl snob. I like the art of mixing. It’s an adventure—like a roller coaster. It’s a thrill and I love it.
[Weekly Saturday night show] Hustle celebrates its twelfth anniversary this year. Honestly, it’s the exact same party it’s always been. A lot of people thought it started at Mimi’s but it actually started down in the Bywater at Leo’s Bar and Grill, which is now closed. I promoted it as a party because I just wanted to throw a party with music and good, positive energy.”