We caught up with Chef Boyarbeatz at Okeechobee to get the inside scoop on his recent rise to fame in the bass music realm and more.
Cooking up the heat and making waves in the bass music scene as of late is Los Angeles-based DJ and producer Chef Boyarbeatz. With a keen ear for his craft, he’s known for bringing next-level dubstep and fresh drum and bass to the table in all his sets. From releasing with coveted imprints like Deep, Dark, and Dangerous to having his track, “Steady Slurkin’,” named Duploc‘s Dubstep Track of the Year, it’s safe to say Chef Boyarbeatz had a breakout year in 2022 and is only gaining momentum from there with a huge one ahead of him.
After Chef Boyarbeatz’s performances at festivals like Sound Haven, Infrasound, The Untz, and Lunar Tide wowed the crowds, it was only a matter of time before we’d start seeing him on more lineups. Dubstep fans knew they were in for a treat when his name appeared on this year’s lineup for Okeechobee, and it was later revealed he’d be serving up beats at the shady tented Here stage to a Sunday afternoon crowd.
Prior to his Okeechobee set, we got the chance to sit down with the Chef himself on the first evening of the festival to talk about his upcoming set, his rise as an artist in the bass scene, food, and plenty more! Be sure to stream his most recent single and collaboration with Chark, “Corpse,” and read on for the full conversation!
Stream Chef Boyarbeatz & Chark- Corpse on Spotify:
Hi Chef, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me here at Okeechobee! So we know your set isn’t until Sunday, which means you’re going to be hanging with everyone all weekend at the festival. What do you think of the festival so far since it’s your first time here?
Honestly, just walking over here to meet up with you is the farthest we’ve explored; it was kind of a shit show getting in! We went to the artist camping area, and they tried to tell us they didn’t have a spot for us. This was after we’d been up early getting supplies, picking people up, picking up our credentials, and driving down here and whatnot, so it’s been a journey.
Then they didn’t have my photographer, Jwin, on the list, so I had to call my manager and figure that out. It’s kind of been like thing after thing, but we’re finally here now! As for a first impression, it seems like a beautiful venue that’s almost giving me Lightning in a Bottle vibes, and we are definitely excited to be here for the full weekend with so many friends.
Besides the obvious, Skream’s dubstep set, which sets are you most excited to catch at the festival? Any non-electronic?
I’m really hyped for Justin Martin’s drum and bass set! My homie Soukii, Kahn, honestly, I haven’t looked at a lot of the rest of the lineup. I feel like I’m out of the loop on most of the non-electronic stuff. I saw JPEG Mafia is on there, and I fuck with his stuff and, of course, Nia Archives.
I was lucky to catch you play at festivals like Sound Haven and Infrasound last year, events that are quite a bit smaller than one like this, so how does it feel to be getting booked for events like Okeechobee?
Fucking really tight, and this is my first time at a big festival in a long time. Lightning in a Bottle was probably the last big one we did, and that’s only around 30,000 people; this is obviously way bigger than that. So yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done a big festival, and I’m really not a big fan of them anymore, to be honest. The issues we had when getting into the festival is a perfect example of why.
Let’s talk about your upcoming set this weekend at Okee – did you prep for this set any differently than you would a club show, or does it all depend on how you read each crowd in the moment?
I definitely included a lot of heavier, higher-energy tracks for this set! I always wing it in my sets and read the crowd, but I’m playing after Emily, episcool, who plays heavy bass-trap vibes, so I definitely want to keep the high energy going. I’m opening the set with a new one I made last week, so I’m excited for sure.
Your first release of 2023 is a collaboration with Chark, whom you mentioned is a close friend of yours. Can you talk about how that came to life?
Yeah! We had been homies for a little bit, and he had been hitting me up about working on a tune for a while. We sent one or two ideas back and forth that didn’t become anything. Then I sent an idea he really liked – we passed it back and forth a few times, and then it came out pretty quickly! But this is his last release; he’s quitting bass music, so I’m really glad we got to work together. He’s incredibly smart, knows his shit, and is a great guy.
“Steady Slurkin” was such a massive hit and led to you winning Duploc’s Best Track in their dubstep awards last year. How did it feel to receive that much praise (before it was even released), and have you experienced any pressure when creating new music since then?
It was pretty crazy when everything went off. It didn’t feel real for, honestly, like two months. Everyone was hitting me up for it, even people from the UK I’d never even heard of, and I was just handing it out like candy. But yeah, the pressure from it since has been pretty crazy, feeling like how do I top this kind of thing, you know? I’m glad the reception from people on the all-unreleased mix I put out last month has been good, so that’s encouraging that people are enjoying my new music.
I know you’re on tour right now – you’ve hit a lot of new cities for the first time recently. Is there anything that surprised you about certain cities so far or any odd things that have happened?
I’ve been going back and forth between smaller, homie-promoter-type vibes and then really big shows. (Jwin) came out with me for the two shows I had in Reno and Portland, and we ended up getting the shittiest hotel in Reno by accident. I didn’t look at any reviews or anything, so that’s obviously my bad, but we get there, and it literally just reeked of cigarettes. There were cigarette burns and holes in the bedsheets.
Thankfully we were only there for literally three hours because we got in at 8pm before the show and left at 4am to fly to Portland for the next one. That was at the North Warehouse in Portland, which is such a sick venue. They have a 360 room, and then the main room is a massive warehouse with a massive LED wall and Funktion-One sound. It’s a dope venue, and the crew working it is super cool as well.
Finally, have you gotten horchata in every state you’ve toured in – and what did you think of Bojangles when you visited the south?
Ah, not in every city. I used to have it on my rider! [Laughs] The issue was I would always eat before my show, and then by the time I get there, I’d be full and have one or two sips and feel bad I couldn’t drink it, so I took it off. I thought Bojangles was mid! Maybe I need to try it again.
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