What does it take to make a scene or musical community? Jay Almieda’s contribution to the world of youth culture for Providence, RI is astonishing to me. As Cofounder of Stay Silent PVD, Jay, AKA Where’s Nasty, not only launched Daytrill and countless other parties, he also created a nonprofit retail gallery space in the heart of downtown Providence. Below is an interview we did about his multiple creative endeavors. Enjoy.
I’ve known about you through big Drew from Bodega crew for years. You’ve been integral to creating a scene in Providence for art, youth culture and parties so large that it inspires even the crustiest old DJs. How did you get your start making spaces for creative people to flourish?
Drew is the man. Prior to DJing, I was making my own music. As a junior in high school in 2006, to promote one of the mixtape releases I threw an event with a few of my friends at a cultural hub in the city, The Black Repertory. Over 500 kids came out and it really opened me up to the idea of bringing people together. Prior to that, high school students in Providence could really only get together at school dances and recreation centers so it really gave me and other people my age the outlet to just be ourselves.
What was the story with the non-profit gallery/retail space?
When we launched stay silent in 2012, our first event was in an art gallery in Providence. We paid a few hundred dollars to rent the space but they didn't let us put anything on the walls, wanted us to only serve wine (no Hennessy!) and were just stiff about the music. That made us realize that if we ever opened our own place what we would want it to be and not be. In 2014 on stay silent's 2 year anniversary, we opened Trade Pop-Up, our 501c3 non-profit arts organization and space which we give local creatives and small businesses the opportunity and resources to host 4-day pop-up shops year round. With that space, many creatives in our area are able to do their first show/pop-up shop + people in the community are able to support their own.
You mentioned the other night that your mentor was a one-handed DJ named Lefty who spun 45s. How did you two link up? Did you start off on vinyl?
I've literally known Lefty since the day I was born. Our families are both from the Cape Verde Islands and have known each other for years because our parents lived around the corner from each other here in the states. Lefty is much older than me so growing up he was more-so peers with my older cousins and the different OGs in the neighborhood so I always looked up to him. In Rhode Island and in the Cape Verdean community, he's literally a legend in every aspect of DJing so when I started DJing it was important for me to give him a copy of one of my mixtapes just to just to get his feedback. The CD was terrible but Lefty took the time to get together with me often where I would just soak up game. I started DJing in the transition of vinyl to Serato so he was able to teach me alot of old school tricks and rules that I still hold true even regardless if you're using a controller, Serato or actuall vinyl.
Where has DJing taken you in the world? Where do you want it to take you this year?
I've had the opportunity to DJ consistently between the New England area and New York plus travel to Atlanta, DC, Miami and LA to play gigs. I really want to continue to travel throughout the US and to be able to play in Cape Verde and Jamaica. It's super important to me to be able to bridge the gap with The Cape Verdean/African diaspora + what's going here in the states.
What’s your vision for your community & the scene you want to build?
My vision is to have a truly intergenerational community/scene because that's where I think everyone learns the most, which creates the environment to push culture forward. I always think about it in the sense of music, a place where you could hear Camp Lo's "Luchini" but also go crazy to Sheck Wes' "Mo Bamba." A place where you might hear some zouk/kizomba but still gonna hear and appreciate some Young Dolph. A place that pays respects to those that came before them but champions those who are coming up beside them.
Any advice for the younger heads who aspire to do what you do?
Listen to Nas & AZ' "Life's A Bitch" every year on your birthday and sometimes you gotta just try some shit. All that aesthetic, planning and brand identity is cool but it doesn't mean anything if you're too afraid to jump off the porch to make some mistakes. When you make those mistakes, learn and adjust. Most importantly, be an active participant in the community that you're trying to be a part of - don't just come outside because you have something on your agenda. Enjoy + support what's going on around you.
Quick, Top 5 records you can’t keep out of your head right now.
Gunna f/ Young Thug + Lil Baby - "Oh Okay"Fatman Key - "Love On Ice"Buddy - "Trouble On Central"Drake - "Jaded"Sizzla - "Give Me A Try"