Tell us a little bit more about the name Bambii.
So Bambii is a nickname my mom used to call me when I was ten, and it sort of just stuck. I remember as a kid, I always wanted an alias. I would try and get people to call me different names while I was in school and Bambii always stuck.
How has your past influenced what you create now?
Well, I grew up in Toronto. Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. My family is Carribean, and I grew up in a very Carribean area, but I was also exposed to a lot of different kinds of people growing up. My mom was an artist as well and a single parent, so I was in a lot of adult spaces. She was always taking me to her rehearsals, to gallery shows, to different openings, and plays—sometimes appropriate, sometimes not so much. I was really in the mix with her. I kind of think all these experiences cumulatively have helped shape who I am.
Where do you see the creative scene in Toronto going?
When I started JERK six years ago, I didn't know anything like it. I didn't see black women in my age group leading the arts and culture spaces in Toronto at the time. I feel like so much has changed. There are so many cool parties run by all these amazing black women and collectives here. I used to feel very jaded and bored of Toronto but I do think that there are people here doing things that I find exciting and important—I just didn't feel like that a few years ago. I think one thing that's annoying about Toronto is that I don't think Toronto has the infrastructure to properly support the art scene here, but I will say there are people pushing back against that and doing cool shit, so it makes me optimistic. Also, I've realized that underground doesn't exist without tension, or this feeling of being repressed. It's kind of like the whole point of it.
You have a very close relationship with your mother. How has your relationship with her influenced your career?
Well, I think the arts are still uncertain, especially while being a freelancer. In that sense, my mom definitely makes me feel like it’s still legitimate work. I feel like when you work in the arts you always have to prove to your parents that it's a "real job". She actually understands that I'm doing something legitimate and important and she treats it that way—that really helps me. I don't have a boss, I don't have someone telling me what to do. You create the world for yourself and I think that having a parent who gets that has helped make it less stressful.
Can you tell us about your craziest experience as a DJ?
Touring with Mykki Blanco. They just hit me up one day over Snapchat and was like, “do you want to go on a two-month Euro tour with me?” Two weeks later I was in Europe with them. It was very spontaneous, we were playing huge shows and it was my first time touring. Also, we were just touring in such crazy environments. We went to 20 cities and 11 different countries that I can't remember, but it was a really long tour just jet setting around. It changed my life and my whole perspective—it made me a better DJ. You tend to just think small when you only have been in your own city, so it had me thinking about what's possible outside of Toronto.