Off Peak — BBYLU

Off Peak exists as a new collaborative feature between record label 48k and Insert which aims to tap into those recreational tracks that DJs and producers listen to in their down time, giving an insight into the sounds they feel, but don’t fit into a club context. The guidelines for this feature are challenging for the artist but important for instance, a certain portion of the tracks should be from non-male identifying artist and at least 25% created by people of colour.

BBYLU is a club DJ based out of Puerto Rico. In the growing and developing scene there, she has carved out her niche by playing forward-thinking club music of the kind that’s likely familiar to most Insert readers, but she shows us a new side of herself in this playlist, getting to her punk and avant-pop roots. We talked with her about what inspired the playlist, her developing identity as a DJ and performer, and some of her favourite local bands.

This playlist came from way out of left field, or at least it seems that way to us—it’s a big departure from the kind of stuff you’re perhaps better known for from your DJ sets. Is this the true you? What made you decide to take it in this direction?

I’m really happy you guys liked the fact that I chose to work with something completely different than what I usually play in my sets. In all honesty, the music I included in the playlist and the content that makes up my sets are both parts of me, and being able to share this specific side was really fun! I chose to show more of my punk side because that it’s a part that most people don’t get to see. It’s mostly influenced by my friends, the bands they’re in (most of them included in this playlist), the music we play at work, the playlists we make and share, and everything in between.

For us, listening through this playlist was an educational experience—there’s lots of stuff we’d never heard of before tied in with some very well known stuff, hopping across decades and continents. Is there a main idea in this playlist that you want people to walk away with?

What I’d like people to walk away with from this playlist is that there is so much more to Hispanic music than just the usual pop music we see on TV and hear on the radio. So much more to Puerto Rican music than ‘Despacito,’ for example, and so many strong females in music, with real amazing stories, that a lot of people don’t really know about. I just really wanted to share the music I enjoy when I’m not DJing and tell a story with it. If you listen very carefully, you can actually get to know me a little bit through the things each song says.

Tell the readers a bit about your work as a DJ and the club scene in Puerto Rico from your perspective.

So, as a DJ, I feel like I create these different sets that either take people back to an old school hip-hop & dembow party vibe, which would usually take place in a friend’s garage, or a school dance—but I also like to see people let go and have as much fun as they can. I also play a lot of different styles, like vogue, for example, and jersey club, which I particularly love because of its high energy.

The club scene in PR is really dominated by house music. I don’t really have a problem with it, but it’s not my cup of tea, so I really pay it no mind. (There are a couple of girls in the house/club scene, though, and they are KILLING IT.) Thankfully there is a rising scene for the type of music I prefer to play, and I’m lucky enough to be able to work with an amazing team that has been working hard to get our sound heard and spread the love.

This playlist is jam-packed with local Puerto Rican artists like Davila 666 and Campo-Formio. If you had more space, what other PR-based artists would you have put into the rotation?

If I had more space in this playlist to quickly switch styles, I’m pretty sure that I would include bands and artists like Las Abejas, Dan Siego, Ma Catharsis Et La Mort, Diente Perro, Skeptic, Audri Nix… I could go on and on.

Any projects, dates, etc. coming up that you want to plug?

As of right now, for dates, I’ve been playing it by ear, and it’s been working pretty well. But there are a few things under wraps that are on the way for sure! Upcoming projects? Well, I’m hoping to start producing my own beats, but that’s a whole different vibe, haha.