DJ Theory on the Success of Moombahton, Its Burgeoning Subgenres, and the INTL Party
With the explosion of moombahton on the electronic music scene in the past two years, DJ Theory made a name for himself within the genre through appearances on the Moombahsoul series, original moombah-inspired remixes of Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, and by starting one of the first local moombahton parties, The INTL. At 108-110 beats per minute, moombahton is a relatively young genre accidentally invented by Dave Nada of Nadastrom in the fall of 2009, and has already broken off into subgenres like moombahcore, moombahsoul, and boombahchero. All Shook Down spoke with DJ Theory about how he began his career, his affinity for moombahton, and the future of The INTL parties. He will be playing at The INTL this Saturday (Jan. 7) at Public Works, and opens for David Heartbreak at Monarch on Jan. 21.
Give us a little background on how you started DJing.
I first started DJing when I was a freshman in high school. I had a friend who was a bedroom DJ and, while he was still enrolled as a student, taught a popping and locking class at the performing arts school we went to. He'd let me mess around with his turntables sometimes while we were on "breaks" [laughs], and I fell in love with every element of DJing. I was also going to a ton of raves at the time and was fascinated by how a DJ could bring so many people together and make them all move and get nuts. That's still what I'm going for today.
How did you come up with your DJ Theory moniker?
Well prior to my current name, I was known in New England as "Tactic," a teenager that spun primarily drum 'n' bass and jungle at raves and house parties. As I started getting deeper into hip-hop and other genres like funk and disco, I felt that a new name would be in order, something that I could stick with for the long haul. Although it was somewhat chosen at random in the beginning, it quickly stuck, and many of my friends just started calling me Theory.
How did you get into the moombahton genre?
We found each other at a good time, when I was looking for something new and it was just what I needed without even knowing it. It's one of the only electronic/dance genres where you can just be yourself without getting pigeonholed. Of course, there's already subgenres stacking up, but being that it's still so new and relatively unadulterated, there's a lot of room for creativity, development, and just doing you. It also combines reggaeton, dancehall, heavy bass, Latin, big room dance, baile funk, B'more club, R&B. I mean, how could you not fuck with it?!
Why do you think this genre caught on like wildfire, and is now a prominent feature in dance music today?
It's one of those things where you know a person will love something, even if they have no idea what it is. Within the subgenres there's something there for everyone, whether it's deep and moving moombahsoul, dark and growly moombahcore, grown and sexy moombahluv, or the pitched-down, high-energy bleepy, bassy O.G. moombahton that exploded worldwide in 2010. It also helped that originators like Nadastrom, Sabo, and Munchi, and folks like Diplo, Ayres, Laidback Luke, and Tittsworth were putting their stamp on it by producing, playing, and remixing tunes and other homies' tunes in their sets, throwing parties, and discovering new talent across the globe. The movement has literally just begun and will only continue to grow and evolve in 2012.
What direction do you see moombahton heading in 2012?
Everywhere. Bubbling further in the underground, and crossing over into the mainstream more and more. That can be good and bad; there are a lot of folks quick to get on board, which means we need to maintain quality over quantity. I'd like to see more cities taking charge with throwing events as well, it's the only way this genre will really reach people in the way it's intended to.
You've put out some great tunes this year, especially on the Moombahsoul releases. How does moombahsoul distinguish itself from other moombahton genres?
Moombahsoul was brought to the global audience by DJ/producer David Heartbreak, and I was honored to be a part of each volume. With a genre moving so fast, you could literally hear the evolution from one installment to the next -- even though they were released only months apart. Moombahsoul is the deeper cousin of moombahton, often drawing elements from classic and modern soul and R&B music. I'm hoping to hear more original moombahsoul production soon. The deeper, sexier sound will be out in a big, big way this year.