Third Horizon: A Conversation With Adam Cooper on Avant-Carribean Culture Across The Map Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles by Adam Cooper

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 6.56.46 PM.png

When most people think of the Caribbean, they think of reggae music, pristine beaches and rum. All great things, to be sure, but there’s so much more to the region. It’s nothing less than the crossroads of the world in both history and geography, a pivot around which the east came to the west and the old world became the new. A group of tiny islands and nations shaped by several centuries worth of migration and colonialism, it’s home to every race and creed imaginable and perhaps the most concentrated cultural diversity you’ll find anywhere. Simply put, the very idea of the remix was born in the Caribbean, which is just as much a process as it is a place.

Read more.

Cult Classic Magazine features foreigner + ROADBLOCK™ by Adam Cooper

It started with a birthday—a birthday in Trinidad. Adam Cooper gathered some friends and family and threw himself a party. He played a bunch of his favorite tracks, on a borrowed controller, for his first unofficial set.

Adam, a.k.a. foreigner, is a Swiss knife of innovation, single-handedly teaching himself how to DJ and go on to produce some of LA's most memorable Afrodiasporic events. As I sat with him on the eve of Roadblock™️, his latest underground Afro/Caribbean operation, Adam shared some memories with me of growth between cities and the impact this had on his identity. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, raised in Caracas, Venezuela then NYC, the moniker, foreigner, speaks to the multiplicity of his experiences traversing the map.

It is important to note that I write this as a non-black person, invited into Adam’s remembrance of his own black experience dispelling the notion that blackness is monolithic. Sharing reflections of his childhood in Caracas, followed by Brooklyn and NYC, Cooper uninhibitedly recalled the anti-blackness surrounding him and his family in Venezuela specifically. He grappled with questions of identity early on in boyhood, struggling to make sense of this racist mistreatment by his peers and those around him. New York City provided a safe haven of cultural connection where he could finally relate to the many diasporic identities within the city itself. In the early 2000s, Cooper studied International Business and Marketing at Howard University, where he noticed how fragmented black identity was, amongst the student body, different from his formative years in NYC. This would later influence what would become foreigner–an all-encompassing creative avenue for the multidisciplinary Adam Cooper.

Fast forward to 2012 in a downtown LA apartment, where foreigner came to be. It was at these studio parties that Samantha Blake Goodman aka Muñeka and DJ Kelman Duran asked him to be a part of their project Rail Up–a now well-known Afro-Caribbean/Latinx dance party. Yet, foreigner didn’t stop there and begain to orchestrate his own events centering the essential Trini fête. foreigner approaches parties with pure artistry and intentionality, utilizing spaces like blank canvases for experience. Los Angeles’ Caribbean scene is divided across the city, from Leimert Park to South Central, never truly entering the realm of foreigner’s visions for a party. Meantwhile, the contemporary art scene, which he is also a part of, doesn’t stray far from electronic music into the black immigrant experience. Events like Play™, Junkyard Jouvert, and his most recent Roadblock™, are his way of bringing people together on space with the common goal of cultural ownership and pride.

“The way my philosophy is evolving, I really want to center people from the diaspora, specifically people behind the scenes and behind the decks. Oftentimes, in the underground scene, you hear Afrodiasporic music, but you’ll seldom see black people playing it. It just hit me at a certain point that there are so many talented black people in LA that create and play the music that inspires me, that are only limited to mainstream platforms, which are very scarce in LA. In other words, the club scene is very network driven.”
Rhythm is the root of all music. The African diaspora is the root of rhythm.

Rhythm is the root of all music. The African diaspora is the root of rhythm.

Rhythm is the root of all music. The African diaspora is the root of rhythm.

Red haze emitted from the headlights of a white ‘79 BMW 3 Series, bouncing up and down with each whine from a dance atop. Crowded yellow and white coupes filled the warehouse, juxtaposed with ceiling high scissor cranes, as attendees mounted car hoods, dancing on seats and trunks. Roadblock™ turned out the night with dancehall, soca, and Afrobeat favorites from localDJs Shacia Payne, Lady X, Tomi Tribe, and foreigner himself. Eleven seemed rather early for the night ahead, with the warehouse filling up as 1am approached. People were pulling motorsport looks and neon fishnet ‘fits at this indoor block party.

High energy never faltered once amongst the crowd, as sounds flowed into each other, starting with Belizean filmmaker and DJ extraordinaire, Lady X’s dancehall and soca heavy set. This set was followed by producer Tomi Tribe’s Afrobeat edits and numerous hits. In that moment, the party was beyond a late night, accessible warehouse gig. Under a freeway underpass, this could have been Lagos or Kingston, or somewhere in the Islands. foreigner’s sonic curation resulted in an atomsphere of togetherness through shared freedoms and comfortability that a-cultural events do not create.

“There’s a different energy or a vibe when you look to the booth and see a black femme up there, and not necessarily opening up the night.”

Shacia Payne kept it going, headlining with 90s dancehall and the deepest Jamaican cuts, for which she is best known. Mysta Crooks, acting MC, gassed the crowd up as Payne delivered. Passion, release, and excitement carried us deep into the night, with nobody weary that dawn approached. It was nearly 4am when foreigner played to a loving crowd of his eclectic supporters, as all members of the diaspora and underground communities met in movement. After that night, I can’t say that any party I will go to can surpass what I experienced there, thanks to the talent and extreme joy surrounding me.

Adam Cooper is humble in admitting intentions to evolve his craft and contributions to his community. For foreigner, his visions exist beyond one party, it is his desire to provide space for carefree, black joy, and recontextualize diasporic unity, that make all his ideas boundless. This is an effort that won't end and he wants you to see he's coming up with this year. Chances are you might not know what to expect. ⁣

foreigner is now,⁣

foreigner is here,⁣

foreigner is there,⁣

foreigner forever.

Words by Apryl Fuentes for Cult Classic Magazine

Foreigner included on shesaid.so's Power 100 Music List by Adam Cooper

AltList2019 Honoree-Tw cover.jpg

The Alt List is an annual campaign that we kicked off 3 years ago to celebrate the music industry's traditionally underrepresented communities such as women, people of color, with disabilities, people from emerging markets, LGBTQ+ etc. For more info please go to our website in the link shared above.

This year's theme is focused on COMMUNITY and aims to shed a light on those who bring others together to foster a stronger sense of collaboration; those who lift up their peers with their work, advice and mentorship; those who have either nurtured a specific community or have contributed positively to the music community, in general.

Foreigner was included for his “incredible ability to mobilize his community and the Caribbean diaspora in Los Angeles through music events that bring values of unity and inclusion to life.”

See all 100 honorees here.


BLOW YOUR HEAD Episode 1 / Season 3 (NTS Radio x Mad Decent) - Foreigner + Junkyard Jouvert by Adam Cooper

NTS Radio worked hand-in-hand with Blow Your Head to identify a variety of underground makers around the world. Foreigner was profiled for the episode covering LA’s contribution to the underground.

"You would think that the brutality of the triangular trade would obliterate the NATIONALITY that is blackness, but [Panafricanism] is distilled and manifests itself the strongest through our music." 

Listen to mix here:

ROADBLOCK™ through the eyes of VVHY by Adam Cooper

“In the heart of Los Angeles, Foreigner a.k.a. Adam Cooper throws the hottest underground parties with afrodiasporic spice, mixing not only music but people in a diverse punch of cultures and passions. Video: Natasha Masharova (https://masharova.com) Anatoli Ulyanov (https://dadakinder.photography)

Music: Sleazy Stereo (https://soundcloud.com/sleazystereo) "Pussyjuice" (feat. COR)

Featuring: Adam Cooper (http://fromforeign.co)

Production: VVHY Visual Lab (https://vvhy.tv)

Los Angeles, 2019”

CALI QUILOMBO vol. 1 via INTL BLK by Adam Cooper

Cali Quilombo is a collection of Afro Brazilian inspired edits of California rap hits. The concept behind the series is the idea of transposing an Afro Brazilian Quilombo to California, a state full of rich histories of Black peoples struggling for self-determination. The quilombos of Brazil also serve as a guide for the artistic philosophy behind INTL BLK. 

The songs included in this volume are: a Bahia carnival take on Tyga’s radio hit “Taste”; a classic Rio funk version of Ty Dolla $ign’s “Dawsins Breek”; a cheeky party edit of 03 Greedo’s G-Funk slap “Rude”; and finally, a 150 bpm funk version of Roddy Ricch’s meditation on violence in the black community “Die Young.”

Live at Grand Park with MAPS by Adam Cooper

MAPS—a platform dedicated to the traditional and contemporary arts of the Afro-Latinx and Caribbean diaspora—hosted a night of live performances and DJ’s at Grand Park in Los Angeles. This is a recording of foreigner’s live set.

Meet Rail Up, LA's Emerging Party Series (Red Bull) by Adam Cooper

railup-rbma-rhythmsection.jpg

Over the years, despite a lack of social media presence, the party has outgrown many of its original venues — the mailing list has grown to include 3,000 subscribers just by word-of-mouth. Success has aroused concerns among the three founders that the party would lose the renegade spirit that made it special in the first place. “Technically speaking, parties always die,” Cooper said. “But what we have, and the way we approach it, is very non-traditional and it hasn't been seen before. It won't lose it, but it won't be easy to keep it.”

READ MORE >

IMPRESSIONS: Laventille Rhythm Section bring the iron from T&T to LA (Jesse Serwer via Largeup.com) by Adam Cooper

photo by Alexis Gross

photo by Alexis Gross

“Laventille Rhythm Section is one of the rawest examples of Trinidadian rhythm, and it’s a proper spiritual experience when performed live,” says Adam Cooper, one of Rail Up’s organizers. “People were blown away by the performance. It was a truly spiritual thing that put a lot of the music associated with Rail Up into perspective. Giving people in LA a chance to jump up to live, minimalistic, high-energy Afro-Trinidadian percussion was definitely a milestone.”

READ MORE >