It seems to be the most eclectic mix for recent Cxema series. So, what’s inside?
It’s a freshly picked bouquet of new music that I’m very excited about and eager to share with the worldwide massive. I had in mind the raw youthful energy of Kyiv ravers I’ve heard so much about throughout the time I spent cooking this bad boy up. The first hour is made up of strong club ready beats, and final 30 minutes is more on a wild experimental tip where I just let the music DJ itself, allowing the producer’s message really be heard.
The distance from NY to Kyiv is pretty huge. How did you happen to be a part of this series?
I’ve been so blessed to befriend the very strong Kyiv ravers out here in NY. My dear boy Sean aka DJ Sofiia, who’s photographed and DJed at Cxema in the past, plugged this one.
Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, where you were brought up, is even more аfar. Why did you move and how did you get used to a new place?
I was born in the States and my mom flew me back right after birth, so I’m fully drenched in the African culture. I moved back to the States for college in 2010. The culture shock wasn’t as intense because I had spent some summer holidays in the States with my dad plus I adapt quick. Discovering electronic dance music andrave was the point where I felt like I unlocked the next chapter of my life. Afterwards, I felt very much at peace living here.
Did you ever want to come back and make a party at home? Is it even possible? Are you aware of contemporary Nigerian music scene?
That’s the ultimate mission, actually. I’m just being very patient, considering rave culture isn’t really a thing back home. Nightlife out there runs very different, compared to the US and Europe, but it’s definitely possible and is on my agenda. I just need to thoroughly strategize and execute when the time feels right.
Yeah, I keep tabs on the music coming out of Nigeria, and believe me, it’s a lot of heat. There’s so much more than just the signature afrobeat sound, which is irresistible, but it’s good to know the people want more.
Can you drop some names?
Yeah, sure – Wavythecreator, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi and Tekno are my faves at the moment.
Please tell about your own series of parties Groovy Groovy. Why is it so necessary to „sweat“ at them?
It all started when I got tired of my college nightlife options. There were barely any proper dance parties, so I decided to fill that void. It kicked off in basements on campus in New Jersey, eventually moving to NY, and the rest is history. For me, rave is ritual. I believe the purpose of a dancefloor is to foster raw human expression and release. Release can happen on various levels, but the sweating is an indication of the intensity at which we express ourselves on Planet Groovy.
Rave is ritual? When did you start thinking that way?
I realized raving was probably more than just a fun weekend activity when I became aware of how much my life revolved around it. It has changed my state of mind, method of communication, and general perspective on life since leaving Nigeria. The striking realization of how willing I was to travel every corner of the world (online and IRL) to seek out this magical form of energy that can't even be seen or touched resonated deeply with me. Over time, it was clear the principles of the rave became my principles – P.L.U.R. (Peace-Love-Unity-Respect).
The build-up of excitement from party announcements, the very intimate post- and pre-rave rituals, the mental state I always found myself in while I am on a dancefloor – all of these recurring experiences cemented the idea of rave as a ritualistic experience.
I heard that it is usual for you to put a track and go dancing during your set. Why do you do this?
The honest reason is because I just really love to dance! I derive so much joy from being on a dancefloor and sharing music, so why limit myself? My approach to DJing is also a factor. I don’t believe in the general idea of DJing being this confined role performed in the club. For me, we’re all ravers with the common goal of shaking our bodies, and I believe it’s important to break down any kind of borders between the dancefloor and the DJ booth.
People sweat on your parties, that’s true. How much do you need to sweat in NY organizing your party so it would be on the level you need?
It depends. At times it could run smooth, but the rave is such an unpredictable force, so you have to be mentally and physically fit. It’s a tasking labor of love, you know.
How do you manage to stay in good mental and physical shape?
I try to indulge in physical activities, other than dancing, to keep my body fit. Football, tennis, and swimming do it for me. Organizing raves requires a lot of brain power, considering that you’re responsible for holding a space that assures ravers of their safety. Raves tend to be a very powerful and unpredictable force leaving event organizers no other choice but to be fit to handle any kind of matter that might occur. Personally, cooking, rich conversations and having an extremely clean home helps keep my mind sharp.
Apparently, there isn’t that much talk about NY scene in comparison to European ones. As you are a part of NY scene, tell what’s happening there now. Is NY more interesting than Berlin?
The scene here is buzzing with talent! Almost all my friends make music and when we have listening sessions, I’m always losing my shit in awe. There’s a fresh wave of young and exciting artists blessing the scene right now. Local DJs are receiving more recognition around the States and internationally. I’ve got mad love for both cities though, NY having diversity as its prime gift and Berlin being the perfect rave terrain.
Can you point out a few names?
The Dance Pit, Yogic, Douze, NK Badtz Maru, vveiss, Quest?onmarc, Acemo, Significant Other & MoMA Ready – do yourself a favor and check out what they’ve been chaffing.
You mentioned to The Fader that DJing for you is „never that serious“ and „a chill, sincere, and individual approach to it is the best move“. What about the process of choosing tracks that make you feel so chilled? What are you looking for and where?
Chill means natural. I am most excited to share music that leaves some form of emotional impact on me. I’m a big advocate for „sweet“ music, the stuff that really hits the feels, you know. I approach digging with a very open mind. Having spent a massive portion of my life listening to music from every corner of the world, I’ve trained my ears to pick up on the distinct elements that make a track a really good track. It’s hard to put in words exactly what I seek out, it’s more of a feeling thing for me. I’m extremely active on Soundcloud. It’s where I discover a lot of new music and share it.
Your last year show at Sustain-Release is said to be extremely good. Did you also like it?
Playing Sustain-Release was pure magic. It’s my most cherished rave moment. The festival is so dear to my heart, so I had no choice but to make the best of the opportunity to play. I prepared far in advance for that set and was humbled by people’s reaction to it. The set is recorded and lord knows I’m itching to share that with the world soon!
Putting aside critics, which show do you remember most vividly?
The Interface – Scene 2016 – Movement afterparty in Detroit for sure! One of them raves that shows why you’re passionately committed to this way of life.
You mentioned that you don’t plan to produce so far. Does all energy go to Groovy Groovy? How do you see the future of these series?
Yeah, at the moment I have almost no drive to learn how to produce music. I’m content with having my mind blown by other people’s art, and I believe this attitude promotes creativity and human interaction. My favorite compliment after a set is when friends tell me they could feel my energy through the music I played. The possibility of being able to express yourself and connect deeply with someone else’s creation – that’s real magic. Hosting Groovy Groovy is one of my methods of giving back to the rave, and I’m looking forward to sharing many sweatier dancefloors with vibers around the world.