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Barbados' DJ Puffy on Notting Hill, carnival tunes and more

BAJAN SENSATION: DJ Puffy will be on the road at this weekend's Notting Hill Carnival

IF YOU don’t know the name Andre Parris aka DJ Puffy by now, you’re unlikely to be able to ignore him for much longer. The Bajan DJ is the winner of Red Bull’s 2016 3Style competition, consistently wows crowds all over the world and has produced one of this season’s hottest tracks Wine Down Low by Yannick Hooper. He’s currently in London for Notting Hill Carnival and made time in his busy schedule of back to back pre-Carnival parties, a phenomenal freestyle mix for Seani B’s special Carnival show on BBC 1Xtra – if you haven’t heard it, it’s essential listening – to speak with The Voice’s Life & Style ahead of hitting the road today [Carnival Sunday] and Monday.

Q: How many times have you been here for Notting Hill Carnival?
A: This is my third time for Notting Hill.

Q: What keeps you coming back?
A: I really like it here – and obviously the people are hungry for the music. I also really love the UK scene. I’m also really into all the music...J Hus, Dave and [more].

Q: What’s been the highlight of the carnival season for you so far?
A:I think the biggest thing for me is seeing the impact that myself and other artists have on the country and how it influences people to come to our country (Barbados), and how that sets the tone for the vibe of Crop Over. That is a big factor me. Yeah I’m doing something I love – and obviously this is my job – but still, people are influenced and inspired to visit the country because of people like me Alison Hinds, Hypasounds, King Bubba, Lil Rick – you name it, so that’s a big deal.

Another authentic carnival is Jamaica. I went for the first time this year. It was my first time in Jamaica, like actually being outside of immigration and airport or seaport. So it was my first authentic Jamaican experience – Jamaica carnival. It was amazing. The fusion between the dancehall and the soca – amazing. And jerk pork every day of course.

St Lucia’s also really authentic...

Q: You’re just going to list every carnival in the Caribbean, aren't you?
A: I mean, cheese man. Everybody has something authentic to offer, you know what I mean.

Q:How does Notting Hill Carnival compare?
A: Notting Hill? Numbers. Just the actual parade. When you look off the float and you see all those people in the street, that is what fuels me...when you see all the people on the side of the road and behind the truck, that is the vibe to me.

Q: Who are you on the road with this year?
A: I’m on the road with Chocolate Nation, Infinite Mas – that’s my squad so it’s always a vibe. This is my second year playing with them. Last year I did the Red Bull [stage], obviously being World Champ I did the Red Bull, Mangrove, their truck, their stage – that was fun. But Chocolate was my first experience and it’s my experience again. I’m back home to do Chocolate and play with Infinite Mas this year.

A post shared by Dj Puffy (@deejaypuffy) on

BAJAN AND PROUD: DJ Puffy in one of the Bim Reppin t-shirts he designed

Q: You wear your Bajan flag proudly. Tell me about the responsibility that comes with representing your island across the world?
A: Although I haven’t been knighted a cultural ambassador. I consider myself as a cultural ambassador, you know. And hopefully that will come later on [smiles] but still, I represent all that is every single colour in my flag. I represent everything that the country stands for. I represented my country on the world stage and I have to continue to do that and that means a lot to me. They supported me through my competition, they basically put me where I am today, or they pushed me here so it’s a blessing, it’s an honour and I will never turn down the opportunity or I would never sweep that under the carpet.

Q: There’s more to you than djing. Tell me about some of your other things you’re working on?
A: We just launched a new t-shirt line. It’s a collaboration between myself and Duty Free Clothing over in Toronto. It’s called Bim Reppin. I designed the t-shirts myself and the hats myself. Duty Free Clothing already had the idea for the Bajan Gold stuff so I came on board with that...and it’s been amazing. And I also have my merchandise through Hoipong. They’re out of Trinidad but based in Miami and they do merchandise for everybody – myself, Machel Montano – you name it. I’m looking into some other ventures – jeans, that’s pending, probably for 2019 we’ll do that. And the parties are there...

Q: What are your top songs for carnival this year?
A: Barbados – would be obviously Yannick’s Wine Down Low, Jagwa Correction Time, Jus D – all of Jus D’s records, all of [Lil] Rick’s records for this year, Bubba’s records for this year. Two Clap [Subance & Mighty] from St Lucia, that’s a big deal, Funky Business [Fimba] is huge, V’ghn Trouble in the Morning from Grenada, Lil Natty and Thunder (Wuss Ways), it’s called Get in your Section – massive, massive song, Soca Monarch winner, Road March. Antigua – [Ricardo] Drue, he has a song called 90 Degrees – massive record in Antigua. That’s it for now, off the top of my head.

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