With the weather having taken a warmer and much-welcomed turn this weekend, many of us have switched into summer mode meaning that we have our sights set on those highly anticipated summer nights out. Should you be looking for some tunes to accompany those nights out, look no further than the Toronto-based DJ BAMBII and her new track “TRUCK RIDDIM” (feat. BEAM). Standing as part of an EP that features the re-worked track with LatyKim’s vocals and the instrumental, the dancehall tune is effortlessly infectious in nature as the DJ’s Jamaican roots shine through in the rhythmic production. And, with BEAM’s vocals, which have featured on huge projects such as Justin Bieber’s Justice, gracing the track and encouraging those who hear it to dance with his bold yet mesmerising tone, the song is made all the more impressive.
“The single is inspired by the skeleton of a song I made actually 3 years ago when I just started making baby beats,” explains Kirsten Azan aka BAMBII. “I made this beat and used truck revving samples and recorded a verse and a hook about wanting a “big truck” which you can guess what that means because it’s dancehall. Anyways years later I revisited the beat and expanded on the idea and sent a bunch of beats to BEAM and that was the one he chose and he did his own play of the idea.”
This latest tune follows the DJ and producer’s high-energy 2019 release “NITEVISION” ft Pamputtae as well as an extended trip to Jamaica. During the trip, she took time to reconnect with her heritage and seek solace away from the hustle and bustle of Toronto, allowing her latest release to stand as an embodiment of her roots without the plaguing of unwanted thoughts. And, with summer in full swing and the multi-talented artist recharged and re-inspired from her journey to discover her heritage, it is safe to say that we can expect more dancehall bangers from BAMBII very soon.
Listen to “TRUCK RIDDIM” below…
Hey BAMBII, how’s this past year been for you? What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself?
This year has been difficult as I am sure it’s been for a lot of others. I think I’m still in the process of learning a lot of lessons but one of the main ones that pops out for me has to be self-preservation. I’m starting to realise how key it is to protect myself in particular ways so I can function as a person and artist. If I keep putting myself in risky situations that leave me feeling drained, sad, or disappointed it kind of kills my imagination or drive to make things. I think people romanticise sadness a lot when it comes to being an artist and I definitely see that for others. It’s a catalyst but I definitely need a neutral headspace to make music.
How did you first get into music?
I’ve been DJing for the last 7 years. It happened accidentally and I didn’t really have any established plan for having a career as a DJ. I was throwing block parties with a friend, booking the DJs and not really hearing what I loved and thought was important so I just went from being bossy with the aux cord to trying it out myself. I instantly fell in love with DJing and that scary aimless feeling I had for the first part of my 20’s went away. I had the opportunity to tour the EU several times and even Asia and it really taught me a lot about the world and myself. Producing, though a common transition from DJing, is definitely a lot more daunting. I’m new to it but pretty determined to step into it more confidently. There’s so much I want to say about who I am and the communities that I’ve been touched by and I know making music will give me the creative agency I need.
You’re from Toronto, which is a melting pot of culture how has growing up there impacted your sound?
I speak about this often. Toronto is kind of conservative and I wish it had more resources but the strongest and most special thing about the city is its diversity and I don’t mean in some lame neo-liberal way. It has its issues but the overlap of communities and the strong Caribbean influence is the thing that inspires me to continue to make music here and throw events here. I want to tell Toronto’s story properly.
What is your earliest memory of music?
My earliest memory of music is definitely listening to whatever my mum was listening to. It was kind of triggering because hearing music as a kid usually meant we were also cleaning the whole house but she had amazing taste. I am an only child and she was a single parent so all my juice kind of comes from her. She loved house, dancehall obviously, classic rock and anything Timbaland and Neptunes. She was also an artist back then and brought me out to a lot of events. I was probably too young for and that further exposed me to a lot of alternative sonic experiences either through independent theatre or weird performance art shows she was taking me to.
Congratulations on your new single, take us through your production process, what inspired the single?
Thank you! The single is inspired by the skeleton of a song I made actually 3 years ago when I just started making baby beats. I made this beat and used truck revving samples and recorded a verse and a hook about wanting a “big truck” which you can guess what that means because it’s dancehall. Anyways years later I revisited the beat and expanded on the idea and sent a bunch of beats to Beam and that was the one he chose and he did his own play of the idea.
You worked with BEAM on the track, what was this experience like?
BEAM and I worked on the track remotely. I was living in Jamaica at the time and he was in Miami. Weirdly I didn’t meet him until months later when the song was about to come out. So many things can go wrong when u and the vocalist are separated but BEAM did one take and it was perfect and that was the one we ended up using. He’s definitely one of the best up-and-coming vocalists across genres.
You’ve spent a lot of time in Jamaica this year, what made you want to spend time here?
I spent time in Jamaica because as I get older it’s been super important to me to reconnect with my heritage and also as an artist I think it’s an amazing place to create. It’s beautiful and a lot of bullshit falls away there. Sometimes living in a busy city in North America I feel like I wake up with a lot of unnecessary junk in my head. I definitely have anxiety and Jamaica is not perfect but I do experience more peace there.
What has been your favourite moment in Jamaica so far?
I had so many favourite moments and some I’m sure the Wray & Nephew washed away but my most revered time in Jamaica has to be riding in cars literally going anywhere with friends. We were always blasting music and the sun and wind would whip through the car making everyone beautiful. We would be screaming over each other excited to just be together. I would look out the window and see the ocean or the mountain’s edge and for several moments, everything seemed so perfect. I had lots of those in Jamaica and I am lucky.
What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
More music! Also I am very excited about directing my own music videos. I just finished my 2nd one for a single coming out in June and I really feel like that’s a major direction I want to go in creatively. I always LOVED music videos and it’ll be cool to explore that. If I love a beat I’m making, visuals usually rush through my head of how I want to communicate it. I want to cast all my amazing and talented friends and archive what and who we are right now.