As much a DJ as a young Amsterdam club icon, Mairo Nawaz is consistently serving standout style—whether it comes in the form of music or notorious looks. Teaming up with Glamcult for the release of his Superbad mixtape, we suitably took to the golf course with photographer Lois Cohen and style god Bonne Reijn. Have a first look at their visual essay here, and delve into Mairo’s sounds of summer.
We’re very happy to premiere your new mixtape. How do you normally go about making one?
I usually spend a few weeks looking for the right tracks and finding cool skits. Recording the mix itself is not even that much work. It’s the exploring it takes beforehand that costs a lot more time.
Your Soundcloud comes across much more laid-back than the sets you play in the club. Would you agree?
Well, in Amsterdam I often perform at parties like Bassline but I also play at De School. You have to adjust to your environment. Through my mixtapes I try do what I do best, as nobody imposes any restrictions. The mood, the music—they’re me.
There are very few DJs that play at such diverse venues.
Yeah, and it’s hard to explain the difference between different parties; in every place you’re viewed differently. When I play at De School I feel very connected to the people, even though it’s such a dark place. Wherever I play, I like to show that I’m not restricted to hip-hop or just one genre.
What DJs do you look up to?
Vic Crezée! But to be honest, I don’t really focus on other DJs that much. Of course I do hear them all the time, but I don’t consciously listen to their mixtapes. I like seeing someone live because it says much more about talent.
Where do you find the skits for your mixtapes? They’re so much fun.
The skits are all from movies I really like. For the previous mixtape I used a few excerpts from Hit and Run. You have to watch it! I look for humour but also a sense of realness. And of course the film has to be good.
Do you have a favourite party or venue?
No! [Laughs] Every gig is my best gig. Think of it this way: it’s now 6pm and I have to play at 11pm. I’m already psyched. I do get very frustrated when a set doesn’t go well. People will definitely notice afterwards. When a set doesn’t start how I want it to start, you’ll find me looking sour. I can’t party after that.
You star in our golf-inspired story by Lois Cohen and Bonne Reijn. How and when did you start working together with Bonne?
For about half a year I used to be Bonne’s styling assistant. I had quit school and didn’t know what to do instead, but I did like clothes a lot. That’s how we became really good friends. We were friends already, but then we formed a new sort of connection. Bonne truly knows what I like, for this shoot we even picked up the clothes together.
You’re a member of Patta Soundsystem. What exactly does that mean?
Well, of course there is the Patta brand, which is big both in the Netherlands and beyond. Some of the best DJs from Amsterdam have actually worked for Patta, so they were being asked to do the (after) parties all the time. When Patta got serious, they started travelling the world and bring their own DJs. The team now consists of five DJs and three MCs. We go to places like London, Berlin and New York—it’s sick.
You have “SMIB” tattooed on your wrist. How do you relate to the group and how would you describe it?
SMIB is like a collective. It started when Ray Fuego and GRGY formed Bummy Boys quite a while ago. When they consequently started teaming up with friends, they called it SMIB. Does that mean I’m part of a group now? Yes, no, I don’t know. I also used to be part of TNO but, coming from there, people like Larry Appiah and I have started doing our own thing. The tattoo is really a sign of appreciation for the people that form SMIB, whether that’s a group or not. It’s a bit confusing because we’re friends. Friends hang out with friends of friends—we chill together. So people start to ask: are you a rapper too? No, SMIB is more than music.
What music do you currently listen to?
Jazz. And a lot of funk and reggae. I like laid-back music, I also like turnt-up tracks from artists like Young Thug. Jazz makes me just as excited though. Every genre has great music; it’s a certain feeling. When a track has that feeling, I’ll have it on repeat for weeks.