How to sing and how to dance

Ghostface Killah's son Infinite and Major Lazer's Mela Murder on how to rule the subway – and the soundtrack from the vogue film they just starred in

Youth and subculture is what keeps New York, well, New York. Dazed’s ‘Gang’ offers an lens into just three of its most inspiring creatives. It follows Mela Murder, Infinite Coles and Denasia Moore as they make their mark on the city on their terms. They are using their arts – music, dance as outlets to get heard amongst the noise and power of one of the busiest cities on earth. They prove that there’s a place for their voices – ones that are uncompromisingly their own. From Mela’s gaze as a brown Puerto Rican dancer gaining power from her difference, to Infinite’s journey to rise above the haters, these three are giving us a snapshot of their world. A world where they’re taking ownership of the streets – and themselves. 

Directed by Clayton Vomero, with a brilliant soundtrack from Alex Epton, it's a tale of vogue, power and solidarity – and might be the coolest musical since Saturday Night Fever. To support its debut on Dazed earlier this week, we chatted to Infinite Coles (who is, funnily enough, the scion of Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah) about how to sing, and Mela Murder, choreographer for Major Lazer, about how to dance. Keep your eyes peeled for Denasia's party tips next week, but for now, click play on the exclusive soundtrack, peep the film if you haven't already, and find out how to conquer the club with Mela and Infinite below. 

How to Sing: Infinite Coles

Be free 

I am this really shy person, like, I’m really, really shy. So for me to just come out and sing, was really good to me, because I don't wanna be this shy person, I wanna sing wherever I want, and have just everyone love it! But that moment [in the film] singing in the subway was a really good one. It felt great. It’s a release. 

Be fearless 

I’m conquering my fear whenever someone says they wanna hear something and I just come out and sing. That happened recently a couple of days ago actually. We were at a restaurant and this girl was just like, “Can you sing something” and I did. But then she wanted me to sing again and again and again – I didn’t mind but I had just came from the studio so I was like “No… I’m hungry.” 

"You know when you just forget about everything else? When you just know who you are inside? That’s the moment" – Infinite Coles

Find your voice 

You have to feel when you’re singing. You know when you just forget about everything else? When you just know who you are inside? That’s the moment. I’m honestly still learning, I’m still trying to find myself, and still trying to find my voice, so my advice is to keep pushing yourself to feel something. 

Be Yourself 

It wasn’t that long ago that I had a double life. I was going through things with my family a few years ago, about who I am, and they didn't like it. So I would be with my friends and feel like that’s the real me, and then I’d go home, or be with my family and have to bring it down a notch, because I can’t be twerking in front of them, know what I mean? It was hard but things are better now and I sound like myself. I just realised that like people, besides my family and my mum or whatever but just like other people, they love me for who I am, they like me for who I am, not who I am when I’m in the damn house, you know what I mean? That’s all I wanna do, I wanna live.

Be Real 

I work at this place called Qdoba where I make burritos. That’s just for now, and I’m over it. When I’m not there I’m writing and singing, I also get inspiration from books, from reading, and that’s whats I do in my spare time. I want to let people know that they can be whatever they wanna be, doesn't matter what or who you are, at the end of the day…at the end of the day you wont get nowhere being fake… Qdoba keeps me real! 

How To Dance: Mela Murder 

Be free 

I feel like to just be able to dance and to be able to express yourself you just have to be open and to be free. You can’t have any blocks in your mind or in your spirit, you just have to feel – feel music, feel beat, feel rhythm, and go with it. I relate most to that, it’s my preferred form of art because it’s a physical expression. 

Make dance your therapy 

Every artist has their to deal with society. Some people write, some people sculpt, some people paint…I dance. It’s a good outlet because you relieve such stress and you sweat. You’re in tune with yourself. It’s not this thing that you can create, its your actual body that you're learning from and that you're growing from. Everyone should try to use that as a therapy form, because it works. 

"I have the word ‘cunt’ tattooed on me.‘Cunt’ to me, is like the highest form of confidence" – Mela Murder

Learn about subcultures

To me its so important to undertsand different cultures. Me and Infinite talk about it all the time. I’m Puerto Rican. I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I moved to Staten Island when I was 15 but my scene as a teenager was downtown Manhattan. It’s a strong scene of really tight creatives. We deal with tourists who move in from different states all the time, and they come and they try to capitalise off of the culture, and they don’t know anything about it. And I just feel disrespected. Like, you can’t come into something and not know about it, and the same goes for us. I’ll never throw myself into a situation not properly educating myself about it because it’s a culture that’s been passed through generations that you have to have to respect. 

Celebrate your difference 

We live in a masculine world, and just as a woman - and brown woman at that - it’s twice as hard. We’ve got to put in twice as much work, we have to be twice as educated, we have to be twice as talented and twice as driven as a man or as a white woman. All of that fuels me. I want to be the best, and show people I’m not just a woman, I am a brown woman. 

Be fearless 

You have to reach a point - and I think this is just the artist in general, not just dancers - where you do not care. You can not give a shit, you have to be fearless. It takea getting knocked down, your confidence being brought low, people saying mean things, and people having all types of opinions. We’re living in an era where, people are so mean and it’s so scary, but I can’t stop dancing because people are so mean, you know? You just have to say, ‘Fuck this, I’m gonna do me, I’m gonna I've my life and I’m gonna be free. I’m gonna do my best. I’m gonna do it all.” 

Worship your influences 

I fucking worship Danielle Polanco, Oh my god, she’s my life! She is every fucking thing, like she is the physical fucking form of freedom, she is free! She doesn't give a shit, she’s from the Bronx, she’s a Puerto Rican girl and I love her, she opened up that world for me. 

Be cunt 

I have the word ‘cunt’ tattooed on me. I got it when I was 15 because that word is actually super powerful. ‘Cunt’ to me, is like the highest form of confidence. When you’re ‘cunt’ you’re confident, you're fearless, you're feminine, and hardcore. There’s a bunch of different elements to it but all of it just amounts to being completely confident. It’s being self-assured and knowing and loving who you are and not giving a shit. That’s what cunt is. I am that, and you are that and we are that.

How To Dance: Denasia Moore 

Make dance your life 

It's a process of creating art. It's passion. It's expressive. It's life. When people think Denasia, they don't have to even think twice. Dance is me.  

Use your energy

Being the middle of seven kids in a chaotic household most of my life, music always helped me escape. My older sister really inspired me, she loved dance and by four years old I was already mimicking everything she did. I was her biggest fan. Growing up watching Destiny's Child, Janet Jackson and shows like In Living Color really made me want to be a dancer even more. I've always had way too much energy, I could never sit still. My dad used to call me "Hype" because instead of walking I would run and do a cartwheel, or instead of doing my homework I was practicing standing on my head.  

Have a colourful soundtrack 

I have a very colorful spectrum of music but catch me in a studio alone and I might be listening to Childish Gambino's Zealots of Stockholm or some Florence and the Machine. I love reggae and island music, always have since I was young, so I definitely love some Konshens, Kranium, Movado and Vybez but I also always loved indie music like FKA twigs and BANKS. 

"I am very proud to be black and even more so to be a young educated woman with passion and talent. Dance has always been a communicative language in our history" – Denasia Moore

Celebrate your difference 

I am very proud to be black and even more so to be a young educated woman with passion and talent. Dance has always been a communicative language in our history. I feel that this film was a perfect opportunity for us to put what we do on an even higher platform and allow young women everywhere to feel free and stay true to who they are. 

Use your role models to help you break boundaries 

Artistically, FKA twigs inspires me so much. She is a beautiful free spirit who has a background in dance and just an overall love for music, creating and pretty much sharing that with anyone who will listen. I admire her boldness. She is fearless and so true to her individuality and has never lost that along the way. Its beyond inspiring, its breathtaking. Politically, I have always been a huge fan of the feminist movement of the 19th century and just watching the great strides we have made towards overcoming sexism. I am a strong believer in the equality of sexes and I have never let being a woman allow me to become a victim. To know that so many woman have had to break so many boundaries just for me to be where I am today is not only inspiring but extremely motivating.  

Own your culture 

I believe that it is super important for minorities to feel like we have a place in the arts. A lot of the funkiest styles of dance and music that have been twisted and re-tweaked by almost every new wave of artistic culture does come from the prehistoric foundation and subculture of minorities. Its so important that along the way that, that itself isn't forgotten. This new wave of twerking or the excitement we get when hearing edm/mumbathon can all be traced back to roots in Africa and Latin America. As a minority or even just as a black woman, I do feel that it is a lot harder to make it in the industry and to have your voice heard. It's beautiful thing for us and for minorities everywhere struggling to have their voice heard and their individuality appreciated.  

Credit where it's due

I would definitely like to see a lot more credit given to minorities for being the original creators for trends that are being swallowed up by the industry and spit back out to the world as "fresh", "new", or "innovative". The underground world of vogue, twerking, rap and many other beautiful outlets have existed long before now and will continue to exist when it is no longer cool to the world. It will always be our communicative language driven by our culture and passion, just as it has always been. I would love to see people just embrace that and not be too caught up in whether its accepted. 

Be loved for being yourself

I can only hope to inspire our next generation to not get so caught up in social norms and appealing to what is socially accepted, because the only thing that truly matters more than anything is self acceptance. If you are loved for pretending to be something that you are not, then are you truly loved at all? 

Own the world

The last time I felt like I owned the world was being onstage and dancing with Mela at Coachella in 2013. I just remember looking at her and out into the sea of people all there for one simple reason, to enjoy music. In that moment I felt like nothing could bring me down from the clouds and watching videos from that performance, I can still feel it.