The first installment of Back to the Deep of 2023 is going big as we welcome a new legend of Detroit and Dirt Tech Reck label head Waajeed. As a student and teacher of the new Detroit sound and revolutionary on all counts, Waajeed’s work stretches far beyond the studio and the decks. A co-founder of Underground Music Academy, a music school that champions social justice values & artistic independence, he is both a musician and community organizer dedicated to a deeper mission. His latest release, Memoirs of Hi-Tech Jazz, was inspired by revolutionary efforts against oppressive hegemonies in Detroit, and in Black locales around the world. It is a sound score evocative of that resistance and reminder that although violence and injustice looms, music can be a source of inspiration and light.
Waajeed congratulations on your new album. In the liner notes, you mention that the album is I quote ” Timed perfectly to match the duration of a round trip drive from Underground Music Academy in the North End, to Detroit’s island park, Belle Isle-” For the uninitiated, can you paint a picture for us of what that drive is like and why that was a source of inspiration for you?
Thank you. I’m excited this project is finally out! The album was basically finished before Tresor/ BMG approached me. I’d been waiting for it to see the light of day for quite sometime. Belle Isle was the center of celebration during my youth and teenage years. My family had many birthday parties, cookouts and family reunions there. We,d see the latest whips, souped up mopeds with sound systems. It was the place I heard electro and saw jitting. In some says it was a showcase of Detroit Black leisure and culture. I’d like that for UMA. It will serve as a place of communion. That’s partially why this connection is important to me.
Musically what are some moments you wanted to hit with this album that you felt like you hadn’t hit before with other releases
My story is the same amounts all my releases. Connecting dots in way that’s true to my skill set. This particular vision was the conversation between House, Techno and Jazz. With some funk, hip hop and soul music bits too.
So this is the first time you are playing at my “back to the deep” party where we bring deep house music and culture back to the foreground in New York. Can you give us some insight on your own interpretation of deep house as a DJ and what we can expect from you musically on this night?
Soulful, lush funky rhythms. We’ll see what happens, I’ve never been in the room before. With respect to the night you’ve built, I’m looking forward to seeing what the night brings.
Buy tickets for Back to the Deep w/ Waajeed + Jenifa Mayanja + Shawn Dub