Get to know: Afriqua
We caught up with the R&S stalwart ahead of his appearance on 24th November for Egg LDN Pres. Novamute, R&S Records, Phonica Records...
Having released his breakthrough ‘Aleph’ EP on R&S last year, the approach behind Afriqua’s music to weave deep samples into spacey sonic tapestries - whilst honouring black heritage at the same time - was something that quickly caught the attention of Renaat Vandepapeliere of the seminal R&S Records.
Since then, Afriqua’s profile has begun to grow steadily throughout his Berlin base and beyond into global territory, particularly after the release of his ‘Vice/Principle’ EP on R&S back in June. The American producer has played at renowned institutions such Concrete Paris, The Block Tel Aviv, ReSolute New York, Comunité Tulum, and Fuse Brussels to name a few and has added Egg LDN to his list for a debut set on November 24th. Currently working on his debut album for R&S, it's likely we'll be hearing a lot more about Afriqua over the next few months.
But before all that, we wanted to know a little more about the enigmatic artist so we had a chat with him to understand what his sound is all about and how he began his relationship with R&S amongst other things…
We’ve listened to your Crack Magazine mix here in Egg HQ and I’m curious to know, in your own words, how would you describe the sound of Afriqua as that particular mix is a blend of multiple genres and sounds?
I’ll follow your lead, and call it a particular blend of multiple genres and sounds that I like. It’s hard for me to be any more specific, as it’s not really how I listen. I just love good music and don’t spend too much time describing it.
You studied classical piano at the Royal Academy of Music here in London before progressing into electronic production and DJing. These days, when you’re playing in a club setting, do you still weave elements of your classical background into DJ sets?
Not explicitly, but musicianship informs every musical activity somehow. It could be in the notes you end up spontaneously reaching for on a keyboard in the studio, or how you mix in the next track in the DJ booth. Once you’ve done the work to refine your ear, though, there’s never a need to prove it by throwing a string quartet on in the middle of a rave. It comes out simply by focusing on doing the task at hand as enjoyable as possible.
Are there certain records that you always take on the road with you? If so, tell us which ones and why?
There are many cases in which there’s not enough time to prepare an entirely new selection for each gig, but if possible I prefer to. Switching it up is the only way to continually surprise people (myself included).
You’re currently based in Berlin, what’s the most positive thing about living in such a hub of electronic music?
The entire history of the music waiting to be discovered at some of the best record stores in the world. How did your relationship with R&S first begin? Renaat and I started corresponding sometime shortly after I released my first record on Dream Diary in 2014. We stayed in touch for a couple of years exchanging music and after our first encounter in person, we decided to begin working together.
Are there other artists from the imprint who have caught your attention recently?
I’ve been a big fan of Djrum for some time. We both released on 2nd Drop Records, and I was really pleased to see him join R&S around the same time as I did. Apart from him, SW, SVN, Vakula, Nicolas Jaar, the list goes on...
Looking ahead to your debut with us on November 24th, do you have a rough idea in your mind of what you’re going to play or is your approach usually to just turn up and see what the vibe is like?
Preparation is all about being able to respond to and enjoy whatever vibes are floating around on the night. Looking forward!Get Tix to Egg LDN Pres Novamute, R&S Records, Phonica Records Here