Miami Party Collective Jezebel Sound is pushing for raves to showcase local talent

As dance music tends towards the mainstream, the hedonistic appeal of the underground continues to fade. Hope for an authentic rave experience has all but disappeared in the rearview mirror — stories aging ravers tell their younger counterparts about warehouses in places where condos now loom.

Yet in an era of 90s nostalgia, many dance musicians are hoping to recapture the spirit of the old school – a return to the roots of the culture, in more inclusive spaces. Miami artist collective Jezebel Sound has spent the past year curating events that capture that spirit and have triumphantly shed light on the local dance music scene.

Long before hosting its first event, the collective’s founders, Juan Mejia, Luis Yepez and Camilo Cano, saw a need within the community for something that broke with the status quo of Miami club life.

Mejia says Jezebel was a reaction to the many issues that arose amid the pandemic. As industry standards were challenged, safety and inclusivity took center stage. While some found these conversations difficult, they inspired the trio to create something new.

“Jezebel itself is us reacting to the things we didn’t want to see in our own scene and environment,” Mejia says. “Bringing back the hedonistic culture on which rave culture was originally founded and creating and curating a more sustainable and inclusive approach to nightlife that moves away from advertising and thrives more on specially curated parties with big names DJ.”

All of the longtime DJs Mejia, Yepez, and Cano realized there was an untapped talent pool in Miami: talented performers who constantly have to downplay their abilities as headliner support. Their solution was to organize parties around the premises. They always book headliners like Kim Ann Foxman, DJ Swisha and Kush Jones. But the locals occupy the seats during prime time. This commitment to cultivating and celebrating Miami’s talent has been unwavering.

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Jezebel Sound co-founders Camilo Cano, Juan Mejia and Luis Yepez

During the pandemic, Miami’s music scene — and the entire music industry — went through a reset. When clubs finally reopened, pop-ups charged over $100 a ticket. A scene intentionally built on diversity and inclusiveness became exclusive.

At the time, the founders, who have known each other since college, had not yet imagined a collective of artists. Mejia originally envisioned Jezebel as a clothing brand. Yet when the opportunity to host a friend’s birthday party came up, they decided the name would fit their budding brand of events.

Jezebel’s first show was on a Tuesday night – and it was a hit. The collective was invited back for more shows on Tuesday nights. And as his community coalesced, the party moved to Thursdays at ATV Records.

“We lived through the beginning of the pandemic guidelines coming out. So we saw our own residence go through curfew and disappear. And thanks to this restart, which was super vital for us, we were able to be placed in the middle of the whole electronic music scene in Miami.” Mejia explains. “For a lot of people, it’s a gradual progression to the stage. We were sort of slapped right in the middle, and we had to adapt in real time to how it was moving. A year later, we have reaches that point where we know exactly where we are musically and where we are in terms of the quality of the party we want to achieve.”

The collective has also expanded the brand’s footprint. He recently released his first limited-edition t-shirt design, showcasing Mejia’s envisioned clothing line. The bold abstract design is inspired by South American almanacs from the 1960s and 1970s.

“I’m very inspired by the different approaches to art around the world,” says Mejia. “And in the beginning it was mostly trying to bring back the classic 90s rave style – hardcore graphics with a very electronic feel. But then we started moving on to something that might be more – I wouldn’t say inclusive, but more comprehensive.”

Jezebel has also recently gone into a record label, releasing its first compilation. It’s a direct reflection of its mission to elevate the talents of Miami’s burgeoning dance music artists.

“Most of these local artists are usually used to support concerts and opening concerts and are used to a slow or slower pace of action,” says Mejia. “The compilation directly reflects our approach to this. I’ve personally asked most artists to give me something more energetic and uplifting. So the compilation itself has a lot of sonic attitude, and it’s is very explosive.”

Click to enlarge Jezebel Sound is driven to continue its mission of bringing old school rave vibes to Miami.  - PHOTO BY LAUREN MORELL/@LAURENMORELLL

Jezebel Sound is driven to continue its mission of bringing old school rave vibes to Miami.

Jezebel’s first birthday is fast approaching and is being celebrated with two organized parties. The first is Jezebel Year One at Floyd with Danny Daze.

“Danny has been a huge inspiration to us since we started DJing,” says Mejia. “He personifies the type of DJ we aim to be.”

The second show serves yet another purpose: Jezebel Year One at the Center for Subtropical Affairs will be the band’s first outdoor event. The bill is a fitting celebration for a Miami collective. Local hero Coffintexts will bring that low bass sound from Miami. New York DJ Elise’s tropical beats will be perfect for the beautiful garden, and at the helm will be New Jersey soul assassin Ase Manual.

“We always wanted to have a party outside — you know, under the moonlight,” Mejia says. “It won’t be two parties of the same type. They will be two completely different things. So people can get a taste of what Jezebel is really like through different types of parties.”

As the founders reflect on a successful first year, they are excited to continue their mission to bring those old school rave vibes back to Miami.

“The first year was more about: let’s get our feet wet. Let’s meet everyone. Let’s get to know the city. Let’s lay the groundwork. Let’s do good for our people. ‘future years,’ Mejia says. And we are here to stay. It’s all about attitude. We are here, and we are not going anywhere. .”

Jezebel first year. With Danny Daze, Milo Ziro and Jan Anthony. 11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at Floyd, 34 NE 11th St., Miami; 786-608-2824; floydmiami.com. Tickets cost between $10 and $30 through eventbrite.com.

Jezebel first year. With Ase Manual, Coffintexts and Elisa. 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, at the Center for Subtropical Affairs, 7145 NW First Ct., Miami; cstamiami.org. Tickets cost between $10 and $30 through eventbrite.com.

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