90. Floyd Vader

February 19, 2024


Decimus Yarbrough, AKA Floyd Vader, is a well-regarded musician, dancer, and community organizer based in Portland, although originally from Virginia Beach, VA.

Decimus is actively a conduit for many musical offerings in the Rose City; from his roots-of-house inspired DeepLike Lifestyle events alongside fellow local legend Cee White, to his dance classes and workshops, not to mention his new live band the Problematics, and his own studio productions.

With his recent chart-topping release, his Indicator EP, adding to his deeply funky catalog, it couldn't be a better time to have Floyd Vader on the other side.

Congrats on getting your new Indicator EP to the top ten spot! Can you share a bit about your inspiration and production process?

Thank you! Although I didn't include this track in this mix, which I probably should have lol, this is one of those tracks I am extremely proud of. The inspiration behind this piece was first initiated from the likes of a period of time where I was heavy in a swing of having so many sketches of tunes that were in my quintessential "Floyd Vader bag" & wanted to kind of break that up a little bit and go back to the roots of more classic style Deep House tunes. Leaning more on the boogie and the bounce of the record, opposed to my usual innovative rhythm and syncopation tactics. Artists like Jovonn & Kerri Chandler came to mind when I sat down to sketch out the instrumental. From there I presented that to my good friend Juliet Mendoza while I was in L.A. for a gig. I told her, "I really think it needs a vocal .. you wanna spit some words on this?" To which she then asked me to tell her about the piece. I says to her, "It got a little bit of funk, little bit of swing, little bit of soul in the synth .." and she stopped me in my tracks right then and there and said, "SAY THAT!"  Shortly after, I came back to my studio in Portland & Dis Muhfuckin Groove came together in it's fullness!

When it comes to organizing your events, what connecting threads are there behind the scenes? What do you aim to bring to dancefloors besides the music?

When it comes to organizing the Deep Like.. events, or really any event, my goal is always to bring my roots and the roots of black culture / club culture with me. These things are ALWAYS organically driven, by putting the music first. My belief is that the moment you put yourself or any concept or gimmick above the music, it spoils the recipe. It starts by talking with my big brother & mentor, Cee White about the visions I have for coming shows and activations, as well as gathering his ideas. Yes, Deep Like.. is my baby and vision, but without consulting Cee first, I do not move on anything. Our mission is to bring dance floors genuine connection to the music, to each other and to encourage them to dive within themselves to apply the messages of the music, regarding love, healing, togetherness and authentic exchange. We promote the idea of entering the spaces we activate by leaving all negativity at the door and putting all your worries, pain or any other adversity on the floor when you let go and submit to the healing power of music. So in a nutshell, for me & us .. there is no "besides the music", it is always about the fact that we have the greatest weapon of universal light and positivity on this planet & that is music!  

When it comes to the full picture of your relationship to music, dance is obviously a key component as well. Would you talk a bit about your history as a dancer?

Dance has always been there, just like music. For me, the two grew up together within me. I started with the drum in my lap, playing for dancers as we do in traditional West African dance contexts. Not long after I also shifted into dancing in those lines that I once played for. It was always a balance for me. Traditionally speaking, the drum informs the movement, which then gives back to the drum & it is a constant process of the two leveling each other up in real time. From those roots I found Breakin' which changed my entire trajectory as a dancer, opening the door to understanding how to dance for myself in more of an improvisational aspect. I got snuck into my first club when I was 14 yrs old (don't tell nobody hehe) & this led me to a sea of endless possibilities as a mover because it opened my eyes to a freedom of expression I hadn't quite unlocked yet. After that I went on to further my studies of movement & dance in the forms of Capoeira, Afro-Cuban, Samba, Vernacular Jazz & continue to keep my mind open to the studies of the bodies relationship to rhythm .. which just ultimately ties back to the root of how I learned drum & dance in the first place. It's all full circle.

After seeing you're live drumming behind the DeepLike events, I'm glad to see you've got an additional outlet through your new band The Problematics. Can you tell us a bit about this project?

Ah yes! While this project is still very fresh, it has been very fulfilling in so many ways. Aside from me being mainly behind the percussion aspect of the band, we have long time Portland music OG, Ian Hartley on the drum kit, the immensely animated Mateo aka Montell Spinozza on keys & the good brotha Delo aka Delo.Thirteen who switches between guitar & bass, who gives George Benson a run for his money! Mark my words, we will be a force to be reckoned with just a little bit of time! This project also came together very organically. Mateo & myself had always talked about doing some sort of recording project but when Delo & Ian came into the conversation, we started playing with the idea of doing live shows. Fast forward to a night where local superstar pianist / keyboardist - Charlie Brown approached us while we were kickin it after a party DJ'd by Delo & myself. Charlie says to us "Greater Kind (his band here in Portland) is playing a show tomorrow at Ron Toms & you guys are opening! You don't have a choice! It's happening!" That kick in the ass, pushed us into doing 3 more shows to follow and now we are working to refine this project into another Portland staple on the music scene!

Given your considerable, and for that matter increasing involvement in the Portland music community, I'm curious what thoughts or reflections you can share?

Wow! Uuuuuhhhh .. I could probably go on for days with the answer to this question lol. I'll start by saying, there is a lot of great collaboration happening in the scene right now. People are finding their niche and really leaning into their pockets of community and that is what makes for a great range of flavors for patrons and supporters to dive into and choose from. What we have to be careful of is, as our communities grow and the city grows more populous, etc. we have to be careful not to see each other as competition if we maybe have shows on the same night or things in that light. This is actually what adds value to the scene, when it is continuously flowing with possibilities for people to choose from and even be able to attend multiple in the same night or weekend. Patrons have to do their part as well in actively supporting the projects and productions they want to see continuing to thrive. This means, not showing up only when they think the most amount of people will be in attendance .. activate the dance floor early and keep it going until the last song ends! showing up after 11pm and leaving at 1am is a sure shot way to drain the potential a production could have. It also doesn't do justice to the people who put in the working efforts and hard earned money to pay artists and facilitate venue space so that we can even have these shows in the first place. A lot of us play it cool so much and tell each other, "Ah yeah it probably won't fill up until after a certain time" .. when really, we would actually prefer to have people in the space from start to the very end. True support is seeking out the understanding of what it takes to make these projects and the part that patrons play in keeping these things running. If you ever walk into a space and look around, only to complain about it not being "poppin" yet or that no one is dancing yet, but you aren't willing to contribute that to the space yourself, then you are working backwards and actually not providing any real "support" to something you say you do support. Ok, I'm gonna get off my rocker with that one now haha! But All in all, there are so many beautiful people in this scene that contribute so much & I know I can speak for every artist, promoter, curator, etc. when I say, we see you and we thank you!

For more from Decimus, be sure to give him a follow.



Floyd Vader:

Kay Suzuki, Babacarr Dieng, Jally Kebba Susso - Music (Atjazz Astro Dub)
Floyd Vader ft. Lapaushi - Sabroso [unreleased]
Trinidadian Deep - I Never Thought
Cullen Greaves - Heat Seeker (Frankie Feliciano’s RBL Remix)
Aleqs Notal - How Soon For What
Ezel - Origins (Floyd Vader’s Deep Like Remix)
Floyd Vader - Conductor
Vick Lavender - Chicago Samba / Black Mamba (Still I Rise Mix)
DJ Oji ft. Deborah Bond - See You In My Dreams
Ezel & Rona Ray - If I Am Being Real
DJ Clock - Union Dance
Floyd Vader ft. Novakance Omega - Paradiso [unreleased]

Feu du Camp:

Psyche - Elements
A Guy Called Gerald - Untitled
Reel by Real - Aftermath
A Guy Called Gerald - Hot Lemonade (Transcendental Fizz Youth Mix)
A Tongue & D Groove - Feel Surreal
Shakir - Sequence 10
Mr. Fingers - Slam Dance
Rhythim is Rhythim - The Dance (Living Room Mix)
Derrick May - R-Theme
Model 500 - Info World
Long Ago - A Relic