The anonymous frontman of the electronic dance act NOISE CANS talks his Bermudan origins, his new EP Bucka (which makes its Africa premiere right here) and that mask.
For Collas, the mask is not a symbol of anonymity: it’s a declaration of self. Growing up in Bermuda, he and neighbours everywhere celebrated with the Gombeys, extravagantly adorned dance troupes known for their colourful masks. An inheritance of enslaved Africans that merged with indigenous traditions, the Gombeys are a cultural practice similar to Caribbean and Latin American carnival parades.
Once outlawed for being subversive and mysterious (the Gombeys sometimes reenacted the atrocities of slave masters, but could not be persecuted because the mask protected their identities) their fetes, and mask itself, have become a long-standing Bermudian tradition.
So, when Collas greets me in a Gombey mask, becoming TRUE Africa’s first veiled interviewee, I understand. For when it comes to his press, music, fashion, and concerts, which feel like a rave in the tropics, Collas’s purpose is the same: ‘I do this for my culture.’
Collas performs in Gombey masks when DJing sets of his awe-inspiring blend of EDM, trap, reggae and carnival rhythms across Europe, the Caribbean and the United States. Released on Dim Mak, Steve Aoki’s label, the new single Bucka with Lady Bee and Mr Vegas, achieves what Collas says he wants for all his creative collaborations: to take artists out of their comfort zones and into his world where dancehall stars wine with house heads and trap addicts.
Since an earlier collaboration with Kat deLuna and Trey Songz for Bum Bum, as well as several hypnotic mixes on Sound Cloud, Noise Cans has earned a growing fan base, now eagerly anticipating the release date for his forthcoming EP.