NYC's Fav DJ Talks Gloria Estefan & Secret Concerts in the City
Are you a rave-or-die type who can’t get enough of sweet synth sounds and body shaking? Have recent bangers like Drake’s “Controlla” or Rihanna’s “Work” incited a deep new appreciation for dancehall beats within your soul? Or maybe you’re just really vibing with the grime feels from across the pond? Well fret not diverse music consumers, Jubilee (née Jessica Gentile) is the Florida-bred DJ who concocts extraordinary, multi-genre beats and mixes for your dancing pleasure. In a combination of original tracks and remixed tunes, Jubilee’s sets blend sounds we’d never even think to meld—and it works. The artist’s musical origins lie in the underground rave clubs of Miami, but since moving to Brooklyn, her beats have developed to encompass Latin music, techno, hip-hop, house, grime, and more. While the dance-tune extraordinaire has been putting out EPs, collabs, and insane mixes for years, she’s yet to release an album until now; her debut album, After Hours, will be released with Brooklyn-based Mixpak on October 21st (and we couldn’t be more hyped). We took a sec to kick back and learn more about the head-turning (and head-bobbing) DJ winning over NYC.
Are there any misconceptions about DJs or producers that you’ve always wanted to debunk?
A lot of things that I wouldn’t say bother me, but do make me laugh is when they’re like, “Whoa, you’re living the life,” and they think that a lot of DJs and producers aren’t working and going home frustrated. It’s a job like anything else; if anything you’re 24 hours around the clock working even though your Instagram photos [might look differently]. So whenever people say things like, “Oh I’m jealous,” I’m like, yeah, you also are married and have a family and a house and I live in my sister’s studio apartment. It’s worth it. But I think that a lot of people forget that there’s a lot of work that goes into this.
How did you first learn to DJ?
I’m pretty self-taught. I mean I had somebody go over the ropes with me—shoutout to Will and DJ Morsy. I was kind of scared to ask and also I just didn’t want some dude telling me what to do. So as much as a few people helped me out in the beginning, I really practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced, and figured it all out myself.
Have you ever dabbled in singing or rapping?
I have; I used to sing actually, which is the [first] musical thing that I did. When I was young, I was in theater and recorded a bunch of stuff and did a lot of signing. And I took singing lessons probably for about eight or nine years. And then I started going to raves and partying and forgetting about it all. But that was originally [what I did]—that and piano.
Every once in a while I’ll do my own vocals [now], but I think that my voice is pretty done from yelling over music for the past fifteen years. [Laughs]
We’ve read that your upcoming album is inspired by the underground club communities. Do you think you’ll ever get tired of that scene?
No, it’s the only thing in my whole life that I haven’t gotten tired of. And it changes monthly, so it’s always exciting.
What do you think about the current New York club scene?
No matter what anybody says, [it’s] always popping. There’s something for everybody. There are giant techno acts where it’s $80 to get into a party and then there are free little sub-culture, sub-genre parties everywhere. You can see any big DJ somewhere small, secretly, all the time if you’re really up on it. Like Elvis Guesthouse is the perfect example; Dev Hynes will do a secret show or Boys Noize or Diplo. Saint Vitus [will] have giant metal bands play on the low. You just have to be open to it and looking for it.
Do you have a muse? What do you typically turn to for inspiration?
The beach is a big one, driving is a big one—a lot of my album is based on driving. A lot of old Latin freestyle. Old Madonna from back in the day. A lot of Miami bass. 2 Live Crew and raunchy Miami rap. Electro music from the late ’90s. Selena, Gloria Estefan. [Laughs] Pretty much any woman that had a cool video in the late ’80s or early ’90s.
And of the more contemporary stuff, who are you into at the moment?
I’m loving the Solange album, I think it’s perfect. There are a lot of really cool, young girl DJs right now. From cute Instagram girls to Chippy Nonstop to Discwoman to the veteran DJs like Nina Kraviz and the Black Madonna, there are some women killing it right now and it’s super inspiring. And the boys are cool too; I’m playing with Boys Noize tonight and he’s a big inspiration. Salva is a big one. There are a lot of people I look up to. Dre Skull, my label manager, is total goals.
What do you think the music industry could use more of?
Women! [Laughs] It could be a little less lazy. I think that right now everyone is scrambling and trying to figure out the music industry because it keeps changing thanks to Spotify and things like that, and I think that a lot of people in charge are taking the easy way out. If you look at every festival lineup, it’s the same lineup over and over and over again, and no one is taking that risk to put the new person on. They need to expand and stop staying in their safe spot.
And finally, for selfish reasons, can you tell us where you get your nails done?
Naomi Yasuda! Naomi Nails NYC.
All photos taken exclusively for Milk by Emily Spinner.
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