By Kamren Curiel
Brooklyn-based Puerto'lombiano (his words) Geko Jones, has become synonymous with NYC's monthly electro-tinged folkloric Latin music party Que Bajo?!, where he makes dance floors sweat by providing refreshingly new rhythms with partner-in-crime Uproot Andy. When he's not making over the nightlife scene, he's spinning at the city's largest free performing arts festival Summer Stage with dominicana novelist/playwright/former model/amazing talented artist Rita Indiana. I caught up with the 31-year-old Puerto Rico/NYC-raised DJ, who draws from his African roots and proves you don't have to play hip-hop, salsa or reggaeton at a Latin party, to ask him five questions. Check it out:
How do your roots inspire the music you create? I didn't grow up with my biological father so I wasn't as exposed to Colombian music as I would have liked. A curiosity about that part of my identity is what fuels a lot of what I do. Discovering that I'm genetically inclined to afrocentric music made me understand a lot about how I arrived at my sound.
What's a typical day like for you? I've been splitting my time between a couple projects--one for Discos Fuentes and a collaboration between my Dutty Artz label and Palenque Records in Colombia--so I'm in the studio as often as I can. I also write for Afropop Worldwide. My monthly series Que Bajo?! remains NYC's leading night for underground Afro Latin electronic music. It's really worth checking out if you're in town.
Do you consider yourself political? Why or why not? I consider myself a conscientious objector to a lot of what's going on in both music and politics. I stay steadfast in my sound so I hope it inspires the next generation to take pride in their heritage rather than try and fit in with the herd.
What's an ideal DJ experience like? A lot of what I play makes you want to kick of your shoes and dance barefoot, so a sunny day or nice warm evening outside. It's nice to get the grass in between your toes. I love a thumpin' sound system and an energetic crowd that's open to going on a musical journey.
What are five things people don't know about you?
1. I'm often barefoot behind the DJ booth.
2. I've never owned an iPod.
3. I've given up a couple lucrative jobs over integrity and an intuition that I'm meant to follow my path and do something important with music.
4. The Secret Service has knocked on my door.
5. I've been in an insane asylum.
Voto Latino listeners can download Geko Jones' exclusive mixtape Fuego De Sangre for free here.