By Rami Abou-Sabe
Last Thursday (Mar. 3), tropical house producer Viceroy brought his eclectic live show to Cambridge. The prince of breezy summertime jams rocked The Sinclair with saxophone player Joe Berry (of M83 fame) and guitarist/violinist Chris Clouse.
Highlighted by Berry’s incredible improvisation and Clouse’s groovy guitar work, the trio played a varied set of popular remixes and newly released originals. At times disco, at times jammed-out psychedelia, the performance was truly impressive and Viceroy’s live show will quickly climb the “can’t miss” festival ranks.
After the show, we caught up with Viceroy, born Austen Afridi. Afridi grew up in New England and feels a strong connection to the area. “Boston’s always really fun,” he says.
“I grew up in Connecticut half my life, and went to school at Trinity College. So I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for Boston. Every time I come out the crowd is always really interactive. I always know I’m gonna have a good time.”
Afridi fed off the energetic crowd all night, bounding across the stage in between filter-sweeping and glass-raising antics behind-the-decks.
The DJ/producer first broke onto the scene with his catchy Jet Life remix series, taking on the likes of Biggie Smalls and Shaggy. The remixes made Viceroy one of the hottest dance artists, and a perennial chart topper on blog aggregator Hype Machine. “I haven’t done a Jet Life remix in over a year, but I plan on bringing that back,” Viceroy revealed about the fan-favorites. “I just wanted to focus on some other stuff. Picking out the right song is important.”
The producer has recently turned to original music, including his popular 2015 single “Back at the Start” and the February EP release Just Marinate. “Marinate” feat. Wilki is already bubbling up on the dance circuit. The single came together haphazardly when Viceroy and New York DJ Justin Wilkinson found themselves stuck in Rhode Island during a rare labor day tropical storm. “I was like, ‘Dude we might as well work on something while we’re here hanging out, you know?'”
With nothing but a laptop and headphones, the duo wrote and recorded the guitar-heavy club track in the eye of the storm. “We actually finished everything in a day and a half,” revealed Afridi.
Viceroy continues to tour through March, finishing up with a show at San Francisco’s mezzanine on the 25th. Afridi and co. kick off their summer with a performance at Rothbury’s Electric Forest June 22nd.