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These are the artists playing DJ Mag's 2024 Miami Pool Party

DJ Mag’s Miami Music Week pool party is taking place at the Sagamore Hotel on Wednesday (20th March), in association with Epic Pool Parties, and we’ve again pulled in a top-notch line-up for the festivities. Here we catch up with every artist playing at the party: ANOTR, AQUTIE, Chloé Caillet, Joseph Capriati, Louie Vega, and Ms. Mada

Photo of ANOTR on a turquoise background with red accents
Credit @sandercoers

Dutch duo ANOTR have amassed a huge audience with their emotional house music and incredible club events centred around art and human connection. Ahead of their appearance in Miami at the DJ Mag pool party, they tell Amy Fielding how risk-taking, open-mindedness and collaboration are at the heart of everything they do

ANOTR are all about emotions. Enhancing them, recalling them, changing them, understanding them. Everything the Dutch duo do is intentional, produced to share how they’re feeling at that moment in time, and to bring you along on the trip with them. As a creative duo, Oguzhan Guney and Jesse van der Heijden are continually innovating and striving to create new experiences, but with the emotion and charmed energy they held right at the very start of their journey, as excited 17-year-old friends Jesse and Oz.

“A lot of the stuff we’re doing right now feels surrealistic,” Jesse tells DJ Mag. “It’s almost like we’re living in a dream, but then, also... I don’t know. It’s still the same feelings we had right at the start of all this. That happiness.”

Jesse and Oz are happy right now. After taking some time at the start of this year to spend with family and loved ones back home and in Thailand respectively, they’re dialling in from one of the writing retreats that they periodically host before they embark on their next tour.

Settled in comfy hoodies and nestled in lean-back chairs, the vibes couldn’t be more relaxed, and the duo radiate an aura of familiarity and naturalness that Jesse labels “living room energy” — something ANOTR want everyone who is a part of their No Art project’s journey to experience, be that crowd or collaborator.

People mill around in the background of a room filled with kit, and he spins the monitor to show us the view from the house they’ve hired to turn into this particular pop-up studio — it looks out onto a lake, with nothing in sight for miles. They are alert and engaged, despite their eyes being a telltale red from their afternoon high, and they smile hazily at each other and at us as Jesse affirms their love of being off grid. “The plan is to have our own retreat house like this one day, like a creative hub set up in the middle of nowhere in nature, where we ourselves can disconnect, but invite others to disconnect too.”

“Organic” and “natural” are two words that appear frequently during our conversation with ANOTR. From music making with psychedelics to relationship building, to where they choose to produce their tracks and play their favourite shows, ANOTR’s foundations are firmly rooted in hard work, but letting the universe do its bit too. Since making their “commercial” debut on Defected Records back in 2015, they’ve followed their hearts, and as a result, it’s hard to pigeonhole their sound.

During vibrant sets at clubs like Ibiza’s DC-10, Club Space in Miami, and Toronto club Coda, euphoric house cuts, rolling tech-house and classic dancefloor bangers make up the majority of ANOTR’s selections. The same can be said for their own festival and headline performances at Burning Man, Kappa FuturFestival, and Solid Grooves Open Air. They love the sound, and they love to play it.

With stops in South America coming up — “our favourite place to play, in the jungle, where the parties don’t stop and we play until the sun comes up” — as well as DJ Mag’s Miami Music Week pool party, their own no-phones event at Space Miami, plus the first preview of the album in the form of a new single in March, it’s all systems go. They’re scheduled for Boiler Room Milan, and the ANOTR Expo event series is also set to go global, with stops planned for New York, Brazil and the UK. It’ll be ANOTR’s biggest undertaking to date, and the duo radiate nothing but positivity and excitement for what’s ahead, ready for new opportunities to ask for one thing from their fans: open your mind and embrace the art and music.

“We’re not just creating art, but we’re facilitating it at events like Expo,” Oz says. “Even if you’re just a dancer in the crowd, you’ll feel like you’re part of something bigger. We’re challenging people to interact with each other and become part of that bigger thing. It encourages us to become part of something bigger too.” AMY FIELDING

Read DJ Mag's full UK cover interview with ANOTR here.

Photo of AQUTIE on a turquoise background with red accents
Credit: Wes Knoll

New York’s AQUTIE has been a driving force in getting amapiano recognised in her hometown. She speaks to Ria Hylton about midweek parties, how the pandemic changed the game, and ensuring the genre’s South African pioneers are given their dues

“If we’re being real right now, amapiano is making people dance again,” AQUTIE tells DJ Mag, just as we begin to wrap up our interview. “It’s new, it’s fresh and its beats are hard not to move to — I don’t know about other people, but we riding over here.” She smacks and pouts her lips. Having spread amapiano across New York’s underground and supported genre heavyweights DBN Gogo and Uncle Waffles at their debut NYC shows, this Harlem native has had her finger on the ’piano pulse for some time now. An early evangelist, AQUTIE turned crowds on to the genre’s smouldering productions, lulling audiences with its melodic drums before most knew its name. “I always give credit to those before me, like the Black Coffees, because they set that up for me, but I promise you, I was not hearing amapiano before I starting playing it out; they wouldn’t ever play it on the radio — and now [Tyla’s] ‘Water’ is the biggest song right now.”

In 2023, a decade into her DJing career, Boiler Room came calling, tapping AQUTIE for it’s AMAPROBLEM collab in Toronto, as did Black Coffee for an opening slot at his Brooklyn Mirage show. And this year she’ll add another first to her CV, as the inaugural amapiano DJ on DJ Mag’s 2024 Miami Music Week stage. What kind of set can we expect? “It’s gonna be spiritual, a lot of drums and melodies,” she replies. “Sometimes I’ll start off with amapiano, next thing you know I’m playing dembow, I’m playing gqom — I’ll take it all over, but musically, it will make sense. It will be fun, I’m gonna give it to them.”

AQUTIE is New York born and raised, but her parents hail from South Africa and Guinea. Her mum made a point of heading back to SA every summer, maintain contact with home, and it was there she first heard amapiano, at a Soweto shisa nyama, before the sound had a name.

She remembers it being played a little faster than today. “The sound kind of floated between deep house and kwaito, it was just a fusion of African house music,” she explains. “At that point in time I was thinking, a lot of people are doing a lot of the same things — ain’t nothing special happening in the clubs right now, let me just start playing South African music.” Up until this point, AQUTIE had been pulling from reggae, dancehall and hip-hop, but in the late ’10s she began testing out the sound during her sets at Dance Dance Dance, a midweek club night run out of Le Bain. “People didn’t really know what it was, but they were rocking with it,” she remembers. “When I really got my stamp on it was during the pandemic.”

The summer of 2020 was a tipping point for amapiano, a moment when the world stood still and acts like Major League Djz were able to present a culture, as well as a sound, to a captive audience. “Shout out to the internet because I don’t think people would have been able to grasp just how much this music is a part of the culture in South Africa.” Like many other selectors, AQUTIE DJ’d online throughout lockdown, spinning pure amapiano streams when possible, before migrating this new format from the screen back into the offline world. AMAPIANO NYC, a late-night event held at Acoustik Garden Lounge, was her first attempt. “Once the pandemic calmed down we were doing mostly outdoor parties. It was in the backyard, a garden space with a platform,” she explains, outlining what sounds like a very DIY affair. “It was kinda makeshift — we had a table, the DJ equipment, two speakers on the side of me and I was just pumping these tunes. We’d just let it flow,” she continues. “It wasn’t making music money, but we were having a good time because we believed in the music and the culture.”

By this point promoters were calling AQUTIE specifically for this new sound. She followed up the early club night success with Heat House, a weekly party launched in June last year with longtime collaborator WEMI. The party served as a platform for Black artists working “in the dance music space to come through and really shine. So it’s all about bringing dancing back, bringing that narrative again, letting them know that house music is Black.” Janelle Monae, Little Simz, and Nasty C have all been spotted at Heat House, which quickly became the go-to midweek spot. “It was that Thursday night party where you know you will come to hear some good-ass music by good DJs, good vibes. People are not worrying about being on the ’Gram, they’re coming to dance; it literally gets hot. The name Heat House, it’s the truth — we be in that shit sweating.”

Soon enough she was hearing the sound everywhere. “What really stood out to me was when I was hearing amapiano in the streets,” she tells us. “Once I started hearing my peers playing it, when I heard it on the radio, and just in my everyday, that’s when I knew. I was like, ‘Damn girl, you really ate that — pioneering a whole movement!’” What she’s most motivated by, however, is connecting African artists with New York audiences, presenting the newest take on African electronic music to willing listeners. “Everytime a South African artist is in New York I try my best to connect,” she shares. “Artists who were only heard in their townships are now able to travel the world, play sold-out shows — it’s really opening doors for people, showing people that you can go above and beyond what you know. If you look at a ’piano record, you see that there’s at least five people on one song. It’s a communal thing, they’re all in there in the studio, pushing this music, finding new sounds.”

It took years to arrive at this moment but, suffice to say, AQUTIE has finally hit her stride. The sound she has been quietly pushing for over half a decade has gone global and she’s high on the New York wave. But it’s not all plain sailing. Calling out amapiano enthusiasts who play the sound too fast has caught her some heat, though she doubles down when mentioning the issue. “When you go to South Africa and you play amapiano at 120 [BPM] and they boo you, don’t come back to me — I told you! I just be trying to warn people,” she laughs. “People in SA will boo you, they do not play when it comes to their music — if you’re going to play this music, play it right.” And then there’s the eternal amapiano/Afrobeats confusion. “Some people still think amapiano is Afrobeats,” she titters quietly, “so we still have a long way to go — but what I do think amapiano could do is support the narrative that house music is Black. My mission in life is to make house music Black again, that’s my focus.” RIA HYLTON

Photo of Chloé Caillet on a turquoise background with red accents
Credit: Carlos Martí
Chloé Caillet

One of DJ Mag’s Ones To Watch in 2023, Chloé Caillet has become a global house sensation. She tells Anna Wall about finding time for production on the road, uplifting queer communities, and her plans for 2024

Chloé Caillet has been filling dancefloors across the world with her percussive, ’90s-influenced house sets, and capturing the hearts of many with her club-friendly productions. Her musical variety draws from influences far and wide, and is testament to her well-cultured upbringing living in cities from New York to Paris and London. As one of DJ Mag’s One’s To Watch last year, we’ve seen her go from strength to strength, and 2024 is already revealing itself to be even more outstanding.

When DJ Mag catches up with her, she's just finished a tour of Argentina, playing three shows alongside Fatboy Slim — a special experience for Caillet as an artist she’s looked up to over the years. “They were just crazy, Argentinian crowds are next level. They’re so engaged with you. It’s like whatever you do they’re up for it,” she says with bright eyes, calling from São Paulo, where she’ll be based for the next week.  

In 2023, her touring schedule included North and South America and Europe, and after a short break over Christmas in Ibiza — where she now lives — she’s been back on the road for the last five weeks. “It’s been full on, but a lot of great shows and a lot of new territories,” she says. “The start of the year has been good... January is always a month for setting up releases and figuring out what you want to focus on for the year. This year, I really want to incorporate a lot more music making and production, and balance the gigs a little bit better.”

For Caillet, that means ensuring there’s as much studio time scheduled as possible, even when she’s touring. “Home is a combination of being back in Ibiza and being on the road, spending one week in a city and renting a little apartment, having a minute to land when you’re not in this constant vortex of travel and planes...I’ve travelled so much, I feel like I’ve got my little bases in different cities; lots of my friends have different studios they let me borrow. I’ve got a space here in São Paulo that I used last time I was here too, so it's a little home away from home.”

This year sees the return of SMiiLE, a party series Caillet put together with a focus on community building, and bringing together diverse artists in an all-inclusive space. “I really want to bring lots of different types of artists in different cities all across the world and create fun and vibey parties that bring people together,” she says. “I feel like in our world today, we’re seeing a lot of the same line-ups everywhere. There’s a lack of curiosity, and I feel like when you start to develop as an artist, it’s important to bring up peers with you and create a community and build up your tribe. That’s the whole point of SMiiLE, to create this community of people that wherever you are in the world, we can just have a great time and throw great parties.”

Caillet has already got dates in the diary for New York, LA, Miami, Paris, Barcelona and London. “They’re all cities I’ve lived in, so they’re places that I’ve had a really strong affinity with and have a lot of friends in. They’re cities that I feel have really happening, creative, cultural, different types of hubs that are dispersed all over the place, and I would like to come in and also create a platform for people to meet and to connect.”

The parties have been putting a spotlight on a range of artists, in particular bringing in local queer collectives. “[It’s] a big thing for me as a queer artist myself. I think now being queer is a lot more accepted than it used to be in a public capacity, but I still feel like there’s just so much going on in each of these cities on a local queer community level, and I would love to give a platform for these communities to come and express themselves — to have these different communities come and feel safe, feel free and have a great time.

“I think there’s not that many parties that really focus on involving local communities, local crowds and local DJs, where it's not so much like a tokenistic approach. I’ve been travelling since I was really young, and being a part of queer communities wherever I go, and there’s just so much going on in these scenes. Queer people are the best,” she smiles.

For Los Angeles, Caillet has booked Dangerous Rose, an artist who’s also part of her Ibiza-based XTRA collective, plus Montréal’s Regularfantasy. For New York, she’ll be sharing the line-up with good friend ISAbella, and KIA and Makadsi of the NY queer party FUNCTION. And she’s announced Or:la alongside local queer collective Spectrum for the Paris event.

In January Caillet launched SMiiLE as a record label. The first single is a collaboration with Luke Alessi from Melbourne — a progressive acid banger called ‘12 Inch Acid’ that they recorded together on a Korg MS2000 in Caillet’s Ibiza studio. “We listened back and I was like, this track is fucking mental,” she laughs. After receiving a positive crowd response while road testing it during her gigs, it was an easy decision to make it her first release of the year and the inaugural output for SMiiLE. The follow-up will be another collaboration between the two, this time veering into classic house territory.

For this year's edition of Miami Music Week, Caillet will be joining the line-up for the annual DJ Mag Pool party at the Sagamore Hotel on South Beach. “I love Miami. I’ve been going down there for years for Art Basel and I used to throw parties there back in the day...I love the influx of Latin culture there, for example from Cuba with Little Havana. It feels like a very diverse and artistic city from a music, art and food standpoint,” she says. “It’s a very nightlife-driven city. Right now there’s a really cool local scene, like Danny Daze and his collective Omnidisc — he’s been there forever and done an incredible job of bringing in different artists and creating these cultural parties. If you dig into Miami a little bit deeper than the surface there’s cool things happening. There’s raves and all these warehouse parties, there’s always stuff going on there and I think that there’s a great element of art and music crossing over together.” Caillet will also be hosting a SMiiLE party during Miami Music Week.

Elsewhere in 2024, she’ll be making her debut at TimeWarp, Caprices, Primavera Sound, Awakenings, and Sziget festivals. “These are all festivals that I’ve grown up as an artist just hearing about and I never thought that I’d be playing,” she muses. “I think figuring out your big-room sound is very different from your club-room sound, and that’s something I really understood last year. Because often you’ve got 90 minutes and a big crowd, and there’s so many people that you’ve just gotta keep them engaged the whole time.” Take a listen to her live set from last year’s Lost Village for a perfect example of how she’s nailed the art of high-energy, feel-good sets for festival crowds.

Back in Ibiza she’ll be playing five shows for CircoLoco at DC-10, a place that feels like home for Caillet. “I’m so grateful to be a part of it. I’ve played in every room besides the garden, so I feel very familiar with it and I feel like I understand the crowd,” she says.

And there’s plenty of music projects to be revealed, including her second EP. “That’s going to be a lot more of a musical journey. I’m kind of allowing myself to have these two artistic selves... one of which is club focused, electronic based, and one which is tying back into my roots of band music, thinking about how I bring in the elements that I grew up with into the dance space that I know today. I’m figuring it all out, but I have a dream to start to tie in the world that I’ve come from into the world that I’m in now.” ANNA WALL

Photo of Joseph Capriati on a turquoise background with red accents
Joseph Capriati

No longer content to be pigeonholed as a techno DJ, in 2020 Joseph Capriati switched it up and began incorporating all his musical influences, in both his sets and wide-ranging productions. Today, he’s found the perfect equilibrium between his different musical personalities

“I have to play house, I have to play techno, I have to play tech-house. If not I will die. I will die inside.” 

On the surface, Joseph Capriati has it all. Record labels, his own global party brand, an Amnesia residency and more DJ dates than there are days in the year, almost. But privately he has been struggling. He’s had periods of depression that he only feels able to admit now he is out of the other side. There have been several causes — creative captivity, an unhealthy lifestyle and one well-documented family trauma.

But after a “long journey”, he now sits back in his chair at home, beaming about where he is at: he has a long-term partner, is back making the music he wants to make and is about to move to a city outside his current home in Barcelona, where he will set up the “studio of my dreams.”

At Capriati’s sort of level, clubs, bookers, even fans like to know what they’re getting, but he’s never wanted to be just the main room techno headliner many people think he is. He’s an artist with a much broader taste who feels he has been battling against a system that has tried to constrain him. Fifteen years into his career and after changes in management, changes in lifestyle and almost a year “completely sober”, he thinks he’s managed to find a perfect balance between his different musical personalities.

Capriati emerged from his native Neapolitan scene playing the sort of loopy minimal techno the Italian city has long been known for. Early on, he got a big break when local legend Marco Carola booked him to play for his Music On party in Ibiza. Rather than give him an early set, Joseph was chucked into the deep end of Amnesia’s main room. It rather lives in the shadows of the more popular Terraza, so making a mark was always going to be a challenge, but he soon made it his own with big, in-your-face techno. He spent the next few years serving up just that all over the world, but felt increasingly trapped by expectations.  

By 2020, he felt confident enough to switch it up. Speaking from home in early February, he credits that to a 5AM conversation with his “mentor” Carl Cox many years before. The pair were touring Australia together and Capriati was staying at Cox’s house. He woke up early with jet lag and Cox was already up.  “He says he only sleeps four hours a night,” Capriati says. “The man is a machine!”  

They had “like a father and son conversation” in which the Intec boss told Capriati to “do what feels right in your heart. He warned me that hype will come and go, so you need to be honest with yourself with the music you play.” 

The first part of Capriati’s evolution manifested itself with his debut full-length ‘Metamorfosi’ in 2020. The title alone embodied the aim of the music — to shift perceptions and show that Capriati could do deep house, sleek tech, vocal tracks and soulful grooves as well as physical techno. It worked, and for a couple of years after that he delved into that side of his musical DNA, and crowds lapped it up, with his Metamorfosi events launching in Ibiza in 2022. Last summer, though, he realised he had been boxed up again and was hardly getting the chance to play techno. He remembers one rare set at Stereo in Montreal where he played “six hours of pure techno. It brought a tear to my eye, I thought, ‘I have missed this’.” 

Since then and after discussions with his team, he feels a better balance has been struck, and one incident served as proof. Playing at Amsterdam's Gashouder for his Awakenings takeover, he went full throttle into all shades of techno, and never let up. The following day he played a marathon set at BRET and served up a completely different soundtrack full of the house music that he first fell in love with as a teenager back in his hometown of Caserta, just outside Napoli. “A guy [who had been to both events] held his phone up to me with a message on the screen. It said, ‘you’re a bipolar artist!’ and it made me so happy he had recognised the two sides of my musical personality.”

Now that he is in a good place once more and the “creative block” has gone, the friendly, chatty Italian has plenty of new music on the way. He will start with a release on legendary New York house label Nervous, then has one ready to go on Sven Väth’s colourful techno imprint Cocoon. He is also reviving the techno-centric Redimension label, which has laid dormant while he “sorted out the right team to help me run it and really give our all to the artists we sign”, as well as starting a new label to represent the more house-leaning sound of his club brand, Metamorfosi.  

Once his new studio is done, out in the country “free from distraction, in nature, by the sea, which is something I really need”, he intends to invite collaborators from outside the usual dance sphere, from musicians to vocalists to pianists, as well as hook up with like-minded artists such as breakout techno talent Indira Paganotto. Capriati is keen to big up her fresh and psychedelic take on trance and techno and has installed her as the resident in the Club Room when his Metamorfosi party returns for an extended run at Amnesia this summer. “I think she will push my BPMs, and I will push her grooves,” he smiles when we discuss their upcoming studio time. 

Establishing his own party at the world-renowned venue had always been a goal for Capriati, ever since he played there for Music On. He feels part of the family and wants to give back with his events, but admits “they are a lot of stress”. So why bother, when he could just headline on his own and leave the rest to someone else?

“This is a party from my soul,” he says, "I want to take care of everything, not just the music. We put so much money into production, to hanging chrysalises, big metal signs. The first few nights we did them, I could hardly concentrate on my set, I was looking at every light, every sign, thinking about the artwork, the logos, videographers. I was obsessed with the details, and I really wanted it to be perfect, but I now know with maturity that it will take time, everything takes time. What is important is to keep the warehouse feel, with not too many visuals to distract from the music.” 

The approach has worked. There were three dates in 2022, five in 2023 and there will be eight this year, as well as showcases in various other cities. Next up for Capriati is a trip to Miami and the rooftop of Sagamore Hotel, right on the oceanfront, when he joins us for our annual Epic Pool party.  

“It won’t be a night of techno,” he smiles. “It will be some fun in the sun, some nice house, some groovy tech. Right now I am so happy with where I am and I can’t wait to give back. In my dark times, I spoke to professionals, I changed things in my life, but it was always music I came back to.” KRISTAN J CARYL

Photo of Louie Vega on a turquoise background with red accents
Credit: Christelle De Castro
Louie Vega

After four-plus decades of DJing and with a mind-blowing list of releases — much of it produced with longtime partner Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez as Masters At Work — the pioneering Louie Vega would seem to have little to prove. Yet he’s working harder than ever, with the same energy he had as a young kid coming up in the Bronx. In the run-up to his date at DJ Mag’s Miami Pool Party 2024 at the Sagamore Hotel, Vega took some time out of his hectic schedule to talk about how he got to where he is today

Sitting in his Manhattan studio on a weekend evening, wide- brimmed hat on his head and, behind him, shelves crammed with thousands of records — most of which he likely had a role in making — Louie Vega appears to be both relaxed and full of energy. He should be neither. Just a few nights before, he’d finished up with a series of live performances with his Elements Of Life combo, at London’s HERE at Outernet performance space and the storied NYC jazz club the Blue Note, and after a busy week in the studio, he’s about to embark on a series of back-to-back sets with his wife Anané Vega as part of their long-running party series The Ritual.

Yet here he is, as amiable and animated as ever. “Yeah, it’s a whirlwind,” he admits, about as close as Vega will ever come to even hinting at burn-out. “And I don’t have much time to rest before I go into the next thing.” Vega’s conception of “rest,” though, is probably far different than that of the average person. Since his start as a teenage DJ in the ’80s, he’s been possessed — not by demons, even though he once had a residency at a club called the Devil’s Nest, but by music. He’s seemingly never taken a break, and from the looks of what he has in the pipeline, things won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

“Let’s see,” he says, pausing for a few beats to pull the strands of his upcoming schedule together. “Oh, I’m working with [jazz–hip-hop fusionist] José James. Do you know him? He’s so good. The song is called ‘Saturday Night’ — you’ll hear it. I have a Leroy Burgess record coming out on Vega Records; there’s a new Elements Of Life coming called ‘Dusk On The Beach’; there’s possibly a Tony Touch record coming. There are so many remixes on the way — Tedd Patterson, Dimitri From Paris, Jazzy Jeff, and I think some others. And I have a bunch of tunes I did with the Martinez Brothers. We’re talking about doing an EP.”

He hasn’t even gotten to the long-standing, game-changing collaboration that first brought Vega to superstar-level fame beyond the confines of his native New York — his work with Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez as Masters At Work and its Latin-and-jazz– oriented offshoot Nuyorican Soul. Since the pandemic, the pair have been digging through the vaults (“750 two-inch tapes, temperature- controlled, professionally stored for over 26 years,” Vega says) for the monthly ‘MAW Lost Tapes’ series, with many of the tracks rivalling the pure house power of the duo’s best releases. The monthly series has just hit its 13th instalment — but of even more consequence, there’s the news that partnership is more active than ever, with new material on the way.

“We’ve been working on a new Nuyorican Soul,” he casually announces. “We already did about nine tracks, and it’s feeling really good. At the same time, we're doing a Masters At Work album. So you have Nuyorican Soul with that sound, and you have Masters At Work with the more club-oriented sound, and then you have more ‘Lost Tapes’. But before those two albums, we need to complete this album that we were just hired to do for Brian Jackson, who was Gil Scott-Heron’s musical partner. That record’s going to have a lot of amazing artists on it — imagine Brian Jackson meets Nuyorican Soul!”

He hasn’t even mentioned Two Soul Fusion, his ongoing collaboration with Josh Milan of the trailblazing New Jersey house unit Blaze — Vega and Milan also coproduced Anané’s recent solo EP ‘Take A Ride’ — or his constant flow of DJ sets, or probably a dozen other things. How does he... “Balance it?” he asks, completing the question. “Well, I’m working all the time. But I make sure everything has its time — I just make sure I don’t pile everything together.” Still, that’s the kind of schedule that would tear a normal human to pieces — but Vega’s musical itinerary has been full for years, ever since he was a kid growing up in the Bronx.

It’s been over four decades since he began spinning as a teen, but Vega obviously isn’t going anywhere — not with the enthusiasm with which he still approaches his work, and certainly not when he and his music are still connecting with the next generation. He name-checks younger Brooklyn artists like Cesar Toribio — in 2021, he laid down a series of mixes of ‘Perdón,’ from Toribio’s Conclave project on Love Injection Records —and the musclecars duo.

“There’s so much talent coming out of Brooklyn right now, and it’s nice to create a little bridge with all these artists,” Vega says. “I actually just did a remix for musclecars that came out incredible. They haven’t even heard it yet!” The man, it seems, never stops — and he probably never will. BRUCE TANTUM

Read DJ Mag North America's full cover interview with Louie Vega here.

Photo of Ms. Mada on a turquoise background with red accents
Pic: Rachel Tumada
Ms. Mada

A resident and key force behind the scenes at the legendary Club Space in Miami, Ms. Mada has also been getting well-earned recognition internationally over the past five years. She tells us about the city’s club scene and her groove-led sound

Philippines-born, Miami-based Rachel Tumada, AKA Ms. Mada, has earned her stripes through more than a decade on the Magic City scene. The early days of her DJing career were spent at local institutions, like the now-defunct Electric Pickle, Treehouse, Trade and STORY. “The club scene that I frequented was small in scale compared to what it is now. Intimate rooms ruled the Miami scene around 2011 when I started playing out,” Tumada tells DJ Mag. She became a resident at Club Space in 2016 and now plays alongside international headliners on a regular basis in the 2,000-capacity club.

Whether it’s sharing the bill with Kerri Chandler, Sven Väth or Chloé Caillet, she’s mastered the art of the warm up set in many different scenarios. “I always had the aspiration of DJing in the back of my mind throughout high school. I didn't actually pursue it until college when my friends pushed me to learn and practise at their houses,” says Tumada. Her childhood neighbour Rose was the main catalyst for her heading in the direction of electronic music, lending Tumada a trance CD mixed by George Acosta that took her down a new path of music discovery compared to what she’d been listening to on the radio in her youth. “When I first started DJing though, I was mostly into progressive house; Pryda was one of my favourites. When it came to finally DJing, I played a lot of house to practise. I have to give my special thanks to Chad Andrew and Jeff Moreno for pushing me into honing my skills at their places,” she says.

One of the defining moments in her career was her Boiler Room set recorded at Ill Points Festival back in 2019, which broadened Tumada's fanbase far outside the clubs and sun-drenched beaches of Miami. Sharing the bill with &Me B2B Adam Port, her set encompassed all things groove-led, from bouncing tech-house to deeper, more soulful moments and classic house. Since then, she’s caught the attention of her peers like Loco Dice, who’s invited her to play all over the world for his showcases. She’s also played alongside Marco Carola at his long-standing Music On parties, earned a spot on the line-up of Jamie Jones’ Paradise in Amnesia Ibiza, and over the years has made deeper forays into the festival circuit with appearances at Ultra Music Festival, BPM, CRSSD, and Time Warp in New York.

“Playing back to back with Black Coffee and Marco Carola at Hï Ibiza in September of last year is a definite highlight for me,” says Tumada when we talk about some of her most memorable moments. “I still have a difficult time processing that it actually happened so I'm glad I have pictures and videos to remind me that I didn't dream it. Another standout was my debut at DC-10 in June of last year, when I opened the terrace for Solid Grooves. I remember attending my first DC-10 party when I was 21 years young in 2010,” she reminisces. This year she’ll be spending more time in Europe over the summer, starting with a set at Terrazzza Horse Park Festival in Zurich in June alongside the likes of Solomun, Loco Dice, DJ Tennis, PAWSA and more.

Behind the scenes Tumada is also an integral part of the running of Club Space; as well as being a resident DJ, she’s the director of booking operations and has been involved in scoping out and booking artists for the legendary Terrace. “It's a dream to play there. I remember when I was frequenting Space as an 18-year-old, promising myself that one day I'd get to play at the club...I never fathomed that I'd become a resident though,” she says. Space for Tumada feels like home, and her time as a resident has also helped shape her as an artist and hone her musical tastes. “My sound is playful and heavily focused on groove. I use certain tracks as reference points and dig for similar-sounding labels, artists, etc. when searching for new music. Not to mention the countless promos I receive from friends and up and coming artists,” she reveals.

There are only a few Ms. Mada productions out there right now, plus some edits she’s been spinning in the clubs, but there’s plenty more to come this year. “I'm finally getting around to releasing a handful of tracks in the coming months. I aim to have them up on my Bandcamp by the time summer hits,” she says. Her productions mirror the vibe that she’s been playing in her sets lately; centred on groove, her own blend of house music has a hit of percussion and subtle drops that are perfect for creating dancefloor moments. She aspires to sign her music to labels that she loves, so honing her production skills is something she’ll be focusing on this year.

Miami Music Week 2024 will see Tumada play the annual DJ Mag Pool Party at the Sagamore Hotel alongside ANOTR, Louis Vega, Joseph Capriati, Chloé Caillet, and AQUTIE. “I attended my first DJ Mag Pool Party back in 2011, so I'm humbled to be considered for this year's edition,” she says. As Tumada has watched the scene grow in her hometown, it’s an honour for her to be an integral part of it. “The club scene seems to get bigger and bigger every year. In any given week, there's always a spread of different venues featuring different artists... I’m thankful that we have a healthy, thriving, and competitive scene that provides this range of different choices.” ANNA WALL

Individual tickets for our Miami Music Week pool party at Sagamore Hotel and five-day passes for all of the Epic Pool Parties can be purchased here

Want more? Read DJ Mag’s feature on the new Miami underground here

Pics: Rachel Tumada (@ms_mada_)
Carlos Martí (@carlosmart1)
Wes Knoll (@weskn0ll)
Sander Coers (@sandercoers)
Christelle De Castro (@christelle_studio)