Guest Mix: Jubilee whips up Miami bass for your sweaty, endless summer dancefloor

Written by Travis Holcombe

Heads up — Jubilee’s conjuring a mix of Miami bass and more dance floor gold to make you sweat. Photo by Sandra Blow.

Certain cities in America have their own sound, so prevalent it seeps into the DNA of every resident with their ears open. In LA, it's probably the laid-back effervescence of G-Funk; in Chicago, it's blues, house, or drill, depending on the era you came up in; Baltimore throws down to its homegrown club music; and all the way down in Miami, you’ll find the people worshiping at the altar of bass.

It’s there in the Magic City that beat conjurer Jubilee spent her formative years, when the influence of Miami bass found its way into her bloodstream. Even though the raver-turned-DJ-turned-producer has called New York City her home for close to two decades, the influence of Miami bass still courses through all of her work.

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I was initially drawn to Jubilee's releases on Brooklyn’s Mixpak Records in the early 2010s for their DJ pleasure-readiness, bridging the gap between classic Miami bass and modern club tracks ("club" in this case employed as a genre term, not a general place). She further cemented her role as an ambassador to Miami’s sonic fingerprint with her Magic City compilations, which were released for free through Soundcloud starting in 2015. Those annual drops formed the bedrock of Jubilee's Magic City label launched in 2020, and featured everyone from Florida breaks legend DJ Icey to up-and-coming artists like AceMo and Salva. While the comps’ tracks weren't exclusively Miami bass, their definitive bass-centric thread continues to weave its way through the label's most recent releases.

In 2016, Jubilee leveled up with the release of her excellent debut album, “After Hours,” showcasing her versatility by blending her love of Miami bass with cutting-edge dancehall, trap, electro, and house. A BBC Radio 1 residency and gigs across the world have followed in the years since.

In addition to a sweet-flowing stream of outputs on Magic City, Jubilee dropped her latest single “sunscreen” in August. The aptly-named track is slathered in Miami bass and electro, perfect for helping grease the dance floor on these sweaty post-summer nights. 

Between globetrotting tour dates — put eyes on her upcoming batch below — Jubilee put together a neon-hot mix of juicy Magic City-inspired selects, whipped into a smooth but relentless blend, as only she knows how. She also joins us for a chat about her ascent from makeup artist to label maven, eight-hour DJ gigs, and the timeless value of the hustle. Hit play, throw on some shades, and dive in. 

KCRW: What was the impetus for moving out to New York?

Jubilee: I just wanted to move out of Florida immediately, the second I finished school. I intended to go to school for media and work at a radio station or a television station. So I figured I would come [to New York] and do that. Then I got here and nothing pays, and I'm like, “How does anyone in this business pay rent?” I worked in Sephora in the mall in Florida, so I wound up working in makeup here and it paid pretty well. I don't know if it still does, but at the time I was able to get it together to get an apartment and stay here. Everybody thinks I moved here to DJ but I was just kind of a raver. 

When does your DJ story start?

It started in Florida. When I was a teenager, I was going to raves and I was really into it. [Then in New York] I was going to all these drum & bass parties. Cliff, the promoter of this long-running drum & bass club party called Direct Drive, was like, "Hey, while the drum & bass headliner — Goldie or whoever — is headlining, why don't you and your girlfriends play fun stuff in the basement?" At the time, mashups were a thing, and you could burn mp3s to a CD or put them on an iPod. So we were just kind of doing that in the basement. And then Serato happened and the Turntable Lab blog happened and it developed into me DJing.

At what point did you transition to being able to make a living doing music stuff?

Honestly, not even now. It's very hard to have one job here no matter what you do. Everyone out here, even if they're famous, has a side hustle. I started DJing a lot and traveling to DJ around 2008, but I was also working the door at Studio B and doing blog work for Last FM. I was working at Vice for a little while — a bunch of other little things on top of DJing. I moved back to Miami and worked at a restaurant and chilled out for a year and figured it out and moved back to New York. At one point I was DJing in the Diesel store for eight hours at a time. 

Photo by Sandra Blow.

An eight hour DJ shift? Several times a week? That's pretty intense. 

Yeah, but you know, if I did that during the week, then I could travel on the weekends and it would be fine. I was doing a lot of stuff until my first album came out in 2016. I had to quit all my jobs because things got really, really crazy. I kind of hated it because I hated just depending on music. It made me nervous.

You prefer having several things going on? 

Yes. Especially after COVID, I'm like, “Oh, this could all just be gone,” you know? I'm still always doing a lot because I have that New York mentality. This is a really hard place to live and a really expensive place to live. I have a couple of years where I only toured —- maybe since 2016 it's been full on, but it took a very long time. A lot of people think this is normal to do immediately, and it's definitely not.

How did the Magic City compilations come to be, and then transition into a label? 

I launched Magic City as a compilation series as a partnership with the store Opening Ceremony. I was on Mixpak for my own music, but I wanted to start my own branded thing. I did four compilations with Opening Ceremony. Then in 2020, I decided to turn it into an actual record label where I would put out my own music, as well as some really cool people that I think could use a little boost or a place to have a home for their music. So as a full label, it's fairly new. When it launched in 2015, things were drastically different; SoundCloud was more of a thing and Spotify had nowhere near as much influence as it does now. It was a different vibe, but everything changes so quickly, you just have to switch everything up all the time.

What do you look for now for the releases that you put out on Magic City?

 I've made it mostly singles-based. I think for a lot of artists, putting out a single is way more effective than an album situation. People's attention spans have changed and things are just different. Right now, I'm looking for fun singles by people that I know I can probably bully into finishing some music. A lot of people, including myself, will just sit on things or tweak them until eternity. There's a lot of people that I really believe in, like Astrolith and Bianca [Oblivion], where I'm like, “Yo, finish your shit, I'm putting it out.” I obviously don't want to stress anybody out into finishing music in 2022, but there's a lot of people that will just never put their stuff out because they think it needs to be changed for the rest of their life, and maybe you need a friend to tell you to just do it.

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Oct. 15 – Elsewhere, Brooklyn, NY 
Oct. 22 – iiipoints, Miami, FL 
Nov. 3 – TBA, Tokyo, Japan
Nov. 11 – Cake Shop, Seoul, Korea
Nov. 25 – House of Yes, Brooklyn, NY 

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