With Lana Del Rey, Kevin Gates and A$AP Rocky headlining, the Buku Music and Art Project returns to the Big Easy March 22 and 23. Tickets are sold out for the festival which is now in its seventh year. This year, the talent search didn’t look too far from home, with the lineup featuring popular local artists who represent “the progressive subculture of New Orleans,” according to BUKU.
Here’s what local artists sfam, Bàwldy, Trombone Shorty Academy and Klutch had to say before the festival.
Sfam is a duo from New Orleans composed of Jacob Hoerner and Michael Pearson. The duo produces experimental bass music inspired by minimal trap beats and heavy bass.
This isn’t your first time performing at BUKU, how does it feel to be back?
It feels fantastic to be back. We’re much farther along career-wise than last time and we can’t wait to showcase so many new tunes.
If a stranger told you that you’d be performing at BUKU when you first began your music career, what would your reaction be?
We would’ve laughed, to be honest. It’s a huge honor to play such a well-respected festival.
Are there any interesting or funny things that have happened at one of your past performances?
There’s been a lot of funny things, but the funniest is probably when I accidentally punch Jacob in the head sometimes ‘cause my arms are so long.
Are there any obstacles that you had to overcome to get where you are today?
We both don’t have much musical background, so there was and still is a ton to learn. There’s a lot of obstacles to get over, but that’s the name of this industry. Just got to keep moving forward.
Bàwldy, or Devin Danos, is a DJ and producer from New Orleans. He creates unique dubstep music influenced by music such as hip-hop, wobbles, and reggae.
Your cover art is unique and creative, what inspired that style and who is the artist that creates it?
So I was actually bar hopping on Frenchmen with my homie Michael from sfam, and there was this art exhibit thing at this one spot, so we went check it out and I saw this guy at a table with a bunch of crazy drawings that looked so dope. We talked for a bit, bought some things from him and I asked if I could use his art and he was like, “Yeah, dude, it’s totally cool.” So that’s how that happened. His names TYPFY on social media you should def’ check him out, he’s super talented.
I’ve noticed you interact with your audience a lot through social media, which is an admirable quality for an artist. What is your favorite part about meeting or talking to someone who is a fan of your music?
My favorite part about meeting someone who’s a fan of my music is honestly just getting to know them and hear their story. I’ll literally be outside or in the crowd before and after like every set just talking to everyone. I love meeting new people.
If a stranger told you that you’d be performing at BUKU when your first began your music career, what would your reaction be?
I’d say that they’re crazy. When I started producing, my goal for the longest time was to play Republic. It absolutely blows my mind that two-and-a-half years later I get the opportunity to play shows in different states and freaking Buku. Like what in the actual f— is going on. Literally a dream come true.
How does the New Orleans culture influence your music?
The New Orleans culture is literally one-of-a-kind, especially the EDM scene. In NOLA, everyone loves the really heavy stuff and the really weird stuff. All the homies out here are making tunes like I’ve never heard before, like sfam, Boogie T, TVBOO, Boarcrok, Klutch and so many more.
Everyone has their own unique style and it really pushes you to be yourself and make whatever you want. Plus the love out here is unreal. Everyone helps each other out by reposting each other’s tunes and stuff. It’s really like a big family out here. Teamwork makes the dream work.
If people doubted you, what was your motivation to keep making music?
A lot of people doubted me in the beginning. At first, I would use that to push harder, I guess, to prove that I can do it. Now I just couldn’t be more appreciative for the love I’ve been getting on my music lately, and I use that to keep pushing forward.
I appreciate every single person that f—– with my music and the movement. I’m more motivated than I ever have been and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
What is the origin of your name? If you didn’t choose this one, what would it be?
Well, when I was two years old I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata. It’s a condition caused by stress where you literally just lose all your hair. I started just DJing parties in high school and used to go by djbaldyd, kinda like DJ Pauly D. But, as I got into the scene it kinda just shortened up into Bàwldy. And, honestly, if I had to choose another name I don’t know what it’d be. Maybe if i had hair it’d be Hàiry, who knows.
Trombone Shorty Academy
Founded by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, the Trombone Shorty Academy passes down the New Orleans Music culture to future generations to give them the knowledge and opportunity to pursue music as a career. The experienced teachers at the academy help the students to further develop their as talented youth.
Everything the academy does for the students is free and open to any young student. Speaking on behalf of the academy was executive director, Bill Taylor.
What are the goals that this foundation is hoping to accomplish in the coming years?
Transforming young lives through the power of music, and also keeping the New Orleans music heritage strong in the future.
Are there any projects that this foundation is working on to increase their influence on kids in the community?
So many. Everything we do is free and open to any young student. Every year our class size grows.
If anything, what do you hope the audience at BUKU and the people around the city earn about this foundation?
That New Orleans music translates to any environment. As the saying goes, “Music for all occasions!”
What are some memorable moments or successes that this foundation has created for the kids who have participated in this program?
Going to New York City last year and performing at the Brooklyn Bowl. This spring we are headed to Los Angeles, where they will perform with the USC marching band. And every year at our annual fundraiser, Shorty Fest, our students take the stage with Trombone Shorty in front of a packed house.
Klutch, Andre Waguespack, is a New Orleans-born artist. He uses his improvisational skills in DJ sets influenced by trap, dubstep and bass music.
How does the New Orleans culture influence your music?
Immensely. It’s given me a perspective that I don’t think many get to experience. There’s a certain visceral aspect to music, how it can live within something as large as a city, how music comes in many different forms and ultimately is what we subjectively connect to.
Are there any funny things that have happened at one of your past performances?
I’ve sent myself to the hospital from fist pumping. I was in a somewhat short booth and a projector hung overhead. Gave it a solid punch and the corner ripped into my knuckle down to the bone. Fist bump responsibly, kids.
What is the origin of your name?
Somewhat three-fold. I adore automobiles. It also means to grasp something. I hope to create experiences that grasp the audience. Lastly, the slang definition meaning stepping up to the plate in a tough situation. I think we can all be “Klutch.”
Are there any current projects you are working on that you’d like everyone to look out for?
Besides “Klutch”, I’ve also been doing a duo live project with my cohort Mitch, who goes by “TVBOO”. It’s based in our roots with the punk and metal scenes with a dash of our love of dance music. We do these events called “Emo Night” at Republic, they’ve been doing brilliantly. We go by “Hurricane Season”.
If you didn’t pursue music, where would you be?
Zero clue. Never really thought about it. Music is the light.
For more information, visit the BUKU website at https://www.thebukuproject.com/.