Winnipeg-based beatsmith and producer Boogey the Beat drops a new live DJ mix dedicated to helping raise awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. RPM sat down with him to talk about the mix, music and addressing the issue head-on.
RPM: First off, thanks for the mix and for taking the time do this interview. For those that don’t know your work, can you please introduce yourself and what nation you’re from?
Boogey The Beat: I am an Anishinaabe DJ and music producer coming to you from Winnipeg, Canada. My family is originally from Berens River, Manitoba – Treaty 5 Territory!
What inspired you to make this mix specifically focusing on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women? How have you been affected by the issue?
I was approached by a good friend of mine to put together some music for a fundraising event on the issue of MMIW in Canada. Since that gig I’ve been asked to do a couple of other events with the same set, so people are digging it, which is great. I come from a family of strong Indigenous women, so to see so many of our sisters go missing is an issue that needs to be addressed head-on. Anything I can do to help to create more awareness is a priority for me.
How did you choose the samples and tracks for the mix?
I went in to the studio with a pretty clear idea of which direction I wanted the mix to go in. I really wanted to incorporate traditional Indigenous music with some current Hip Hop and Trap music. It took me one night to create the whole piece, which is about 10 minutes long. It was definitely one of those things that took on a spirit of its own.
What can people expect to hear in the mix? Can you give us a breakdown of the tracks you included?
The introduction of the track starts with various samples taken from different news sources. The issue of MMIW in Canada has been all over the news lately, so it really gives people a sense of the situation before getting into the actual music portion. The next track burrows a sample from the track “Baby Girl” by SoloCree. I really wanted to keep the heart of that track so I didn’t add too much but some more drum samples into the mix.
Next I added a Mayer Hawthorne track featuring Kendrick Lamar called “Crime (Vice Remix)”, and thought it would be dope to give it an Indigenous flavor. At the time I was listening to this one track on YouTube called “The Best Powwow Song I Heard In A Long Time”, and the tempo was perfect to blend with the Kendrick track. It’s funny because the guy’s name is Daniel who sings that song, and I sat with him beside the drum a couple months before while he gave me a few singing pointers. The next track starts with a vocal sample from Tanya Tagaq explaining the basic concept of throat singing. I knew I wanted to incorporate more than just hand drum songs, and thought sampling some Inuit throat singing would be dope. The actual beat to follow uses a sample from throat singers Kathy Keknek and Janet Aglukkaq. The piece finishes off with my own take on the classic “Indian Car” by the legend Keith Secola. I wanted to give this track more of a party vibe, if that is at all possible.
Many Indigenous artists are using their work to bring attention to this issue, like Tanya Tagaq and isKwé through music, and the Walking With Our Sisters ‘exhibition’ of beaded moccasin vamps organized by Métis visual artist Christi Belcourt. What role do you think art and music can play in the struggle to end gender violence?
Art and music have the ability to bring people together, no matter what race or background you come from. I believe music is the language of the universe. As artists, I believe all of our talents are gifts from the Creator. It is our job to use these gifts for good, and to shed light on the many different issues we face not only as Indigenous people, but people all across the world.
Do you have any plans to perform it live? Can we expect an MMIW Benefit Concert any time soon?
Since the first time I performed this set, I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to perform it at a couple of upcoming events. The first is a concert and art auction called “Standing In Unity” in support of MMIW. It takes place on November 23 at The Graffiti Gallery in Winnipeg and features a great line-up of performers and artists. Tickets for this event can be purchased at EventBrite.ca and all proceeds go directly to the Coalition for Families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Manitoba. The next gig I got booked is for the annual Graffiti Art Programming and Art City fundraiser. It takes place on November 29 at The Goodwill here in Winnipeg.
What other Indigenous artists and musicians are inspiring you right now?
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of extremely talented Indigenous artists and musicians along my journey as a DJ and producer. As of right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of Burnt-Project 1, Digging Roots, and A Tribe Called Red. I got to give a shout out to the people who gave me chance to showcase my music since the beginning: Wab Kinew, Young Kidd, CTL Records, Heatbag Records, and Dave Boulanger.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently finishing up my Education degree at the University of Manitoba, just recently became a new father, and launched my official website at BoogeyTheBeat.com, so I’ve been keeping busy. I’ve also been collaborating with Burnt-Project 1 to get a new project in the works. My main goal is to get as much music as I can out there, whether it be through beat production, DJ’ing, or just collaborating with different artists.
DOWNLOAD: Boogey the Beat’s Live DJ Set for MMIW
Watch the Live DJ Set: