Vogue Mixtape: Jaymie Silk
Jaymie Silk drops a dizzying Vogue mix
Frank And Oak staff
After a decade of beatmaking and involvement with hip-hop, French DJ and producer Jaymie Silk decided to shake it up and dove head-first into electronic music. Now, with a unique and energetic sound, Jaymie Silk has become heavily involved in Montreal's ballroom scene – driving its rebirth. Have a listen to his electric vogue mix below and read on to learn more about vogue music and Jaymie's involvement in the very up-and-coming Montreal ball scene.
What is it about ballroom and the Vogue scene that appeals to you? How are you involved with it?
Most of all, it’s the social and political importance of the ballroom culture. People who don’t know about this culture often consider it only through the voguing and tend to put the culture out of context, just for entertainment. Some forget it is first of all a space for LGBTQ + people of color. It is a community with fathers, mothers, artists and activists.
I’m the resident DJ for the Montreal vogue scene. When I can, I try to give a platform of expression for our local talent, like I did with three voguers from the Montreal scene in my music video “Watch Me”, featuring Cora Amazon, Chivengi and Yaya.
What is the relationship between Vogue and ballroom? Can one exist without the other?
The ballroom culture has existed for more than 50 years now. Voguing is a dance that takes its roots in the high fashion posing from Vogue Magazine. It’s an important part of the modern ball culture but let’s not forget it is definitely not the only one, it’s just one of the most spectacular. Actually, voguing clearly reached a mainstream level, you can now see some dance moves in music videos from Beyonce, Rihanna and some dancers from the ballroom scene are now choreographer for big artists.
What is the biggest change in sound and the scene since it first formed, gained popularity in the 90s, and now?
Before the modern sound, house and disco were predominant musically. Since that era, the biggest change is certainly the appearance of the HA, a typical sound sampled from “The Ha Dance” from Masters At Work. Vjuan Allure is known as the first to have remixed the Ha Dance. He is a legend in the Vogue scene, and he’ll be in Montreal to spin at the Chemistry Ball organised by Twysted Miyake Mugler from Toronto on June 15.
The vogue sound is well known from the club scene now and it became kinda cool, but it still belongs to the ballroom community. So basically, for every producers and Djs out there: if you’re not from the ballroom community, you better not use it in your tracks to look cool. It’s more than just music, you have to understand everything that comes with it.
How are the balls in New York and Paris and do they differ in Montreal? How would you describe Montreal’s vogue community?
In Montreal, you have the Mainstream Ball organized often by Elle Barbara & Twysted Miyake-Mugler and you have the Kiki scene from Montreal. The Kiki ‘s figurehead of Montreal are Gerard X Reyes a.k.a Bronzé and Amazon Wayne.
In Montreal we don’t want to imitate what they do in NYC and Paris for example. For sure you have rules to follow but since the beginning the Montreal vogue community developed is own identity.
Where do you see vogue and ballroom going from here? How do you hope to be involved with its future?
It’s been a year and half that Gerard X Reyes and Amazon Wayne organized the first Kiki Ball in Montreal and over the last 12 months we’ve had at least eight mini/kiki/mainstream balls. We received important people from the New York ballroom scene like Chi Chi Mizrahi, Twiggy Pucci Garcon.
During the Pride, there will be a workshop, a screening at Centre Phi with a talk after and a free Kiki Ball August 12 with MikeQ (one of the most important Dj of the scene since Vjuan Allure), Precious (MC) and Chi Chi at Parc des Faubourgs.
Every Monday you have Vogue class at Espace sans luxe and numerous dance / vogue classes given by key figures of our Montreal scene like Brian, Toshiro, Gerard or Wayne.
The scene is alive here. We have another key figure here like Cora Amazon, the 500 dollar face, undefeated in Montreal in the Face category. We have a lot of creative people like Chivengi who performs on the runway and is also a talented singer. We’re currently working on his EP.
On my side, I will continue to give back to the community as a DJ and with my music.
What was the idea behind this mix?
I wanted to make a mix to celebrate the Montreal ball scene as I see it, with vogue tracks from artists from Qween Beat, and others people I admire and respect in the scene like Shug or Lazy Flow. As I’m known for my use of percussions, I alternated with some Afro tracks, some of my original productions or remixes. With this one you can party or vogue to it. Just celebrate – that’s the spirit.
Find more from Jaymie Silk on his Soundcloud.
What if the things that set us apart are actually what bring us closer together? What if instead of saying “or”, we say "And"? True inclusion is as simple as one three-letter word. Check out our latest “And” collection in support of Pride Month.