TYGAPAW (Dion McKenzie) is a multi-disciplined producer and DJ based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Her Jamaican ancestry and upbringing fused with her thirteen years living in New York City have influenced a music style she dubs “Sultry Club.” She incorporates sexy 90s R&B sounds with futuristic vibes and intricate melodies that are as much for the club as they are for a chill kiki at your home girl’s crib. Her productions are unique and specific to her history. She is the curator behind “Fake Accent,” a monthly Brooklyn- based queer club night that has featured DJ’s such as Rizzla, False Witness, HD, Mursi Layne, and more, and also the co-curator behind the queer Caribbean party series and creative platform, “NO BADMIND.”

Has the pandemic had an impact on your art? If so, how has it informed your creative process?

It has impacted how my art is presented and performed and how I'm thinking about the evolution of my process. I did experience a brief grieving period with the cancellation of my Euro tour and a performance at Tribeca film festival, which was a very big opportunity. It's very hard to feel motivated to create when you're unsure about income and whether or not you'll be able to pay your rent. New York feels apocalyptic at this point, it's very hard to focus on making art right now without the state of things impacting the outcome of the work. I do try to make the best of unpredictable circumstances; I'm using this time to focus on my next project which will be my debut album I’m releasing with NAAFI in addition to an EP that I’ll be releasing on Bandcamp via my label Fake Accent.

When you were in residence, I thought it was really interesting that you made music to nature films, which is something I've actually adopted during this quarantine. Is that still part of your process?

I think at the time I was in a stressful place mentally, and the nature videos helped to calm and center me while I was in the studio. It gave me something to visually focus on, almost like I was creating a score to the visuals. Which is something I aspire to do (scoring for film). I still create to visuals because it helps with inspiration and keeps me motivated when I run into creative roadblocks. I'll take a break and watch a film and listen to the score when I'm feeling stuck, and it always does the trick.

What are 5 things that are helping you get through quarantine?

  1. I've been cooking a lot which has been a very therapeutic process for me. I don't follow recipes when I cook. I grew up in Jamaica where most of my family members cooked in a very instinctive way, using ingredients from the island. A few things I've been making are baked chicken with jerk seasoning, miso chicken avocado salad, [and]  tofu with bok choy.

  2. Not sure if exercise counts, but my home workouts have been doing wonders for my mental health. My focus is strength training.

  3. Sleep, it's essential.

  4. Films: Miles Davis: Birth of Cool, Orlando, Queen & Slim, Heathers, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Favourite

  5. Cleaning, also essential and very Caribbean of me.

Any links or upcoming livestreams you want to share?

I will be releasing music on Fake Accent label next month:

Check out the most recent Fake Accent mix from Lot Radio and tune in May 27 for the next performance.