Massacooramaan is the production and DJ moniker of photojournalist and writer Dave Quam. Born and raised in Portland, he moved to Chicago in 2005 to study photography, film, and sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During his time as a student, he started playing house parties and discussing music from all over the globe on his blog It’s After the End of the World. He rose to international attention through his writing and photos of then underground juke and footwork artists of his adopted home, which were some of the first to thoroughly document the scene. Since then, his work has been published in magazines such as Spin, The Wire, and Rolling Stone. Currently residing back in his hometown of Portland, Massacooramaan tours the US regularly, while spending lots of time in the studio making his own creations of experimental dance music. With a contempt for rhythmic regularity, he reconstructs juke, reggaeton, and other styles from various corners of the earth into his own twitching and brutal sound, as heard on his debut EP “Dead Long Time” on LAX-based label Fade to Mind. His DJ sets have a strong emphasis on current South American, Caribbean, and African dance music, as well as hyperlocal genres from US major cities, and imaginary metropolises that have yet to exist.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. My name’s Dave, and I DJ and make sounds as Massacooramaan. I also write about music for various magazines and take photos from time to time.
Describe your current studio or practice space. My laptop, a pair of shitty monitors, and a pair of headphones wherever they happen to be at the moment. When allowed: other people’s stuff.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. I have a huge list of words and names on my phone that I add to whenever I hear a new one I like. I start putting random sounds together in a loop, and if they grow into something cool, I pick something from said list, and name it, sometimes vice versa. Then it gets tweaked for months.
How did your interest in music begin? My earliest memory is hearing the sound of a lawnmower outside the window of my crib. So probably then.
Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? Lady Saw. E-40. RP Boo
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your music?
Best: The time people started crawling on the floor.
Worst: The time I got attacked while DJing.
Where is your favorite/ideal place to perform? Dark as FUCK rooms. Outside. To animals. Near a body of water. In a cave.
If you were a drink, what drink would you be? Raw durian in a Old English 40 bottle.
What kinds of things are influencing your music right now? Eating good fruit. Playing basketball. The movie Class of 1986 and the sequel Class of 1999.
What are you reading right now? The Rastafarians by Leonard E Barrett
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I’m working on a new solo record for Fade to Mind, some releases as Vissacoor, my collaboration with L-vis 1990, a project with Dubbel Dutch called Ancestral Club Mix, and some ghetto house records under the name Modern Melodies with my friend DJ Rafael. Also, a handful of tracks with VOICES.