Please tell our readers who you are and what you do?
I was born in Ghana and subsequently moved to the USA where I completed my Bachelor’s degree and embarked on a career in Finance, Banking and International Business that landed me in my current base of Vienna, Austria. Growing up on Hip Hip/R&B, I discovered true electronic music when I moved to Austria and it has had a hold on me since ?.
I immersed myself in the electronic music scene here in Vienna through founding Black Star Music, an events promotion and A&R agency focused on Techno and Tech House.
In major clubs in Austria (FLEX, Grelle Forelle, Pratersauna, Sass Music Club, Auslage, Die Kantine – Wien & Linz); Germany (Suicide Circus – Berlin); Hungary (Corvin Club – Budapest); Serbia (KPTM & Plastic – Belgrade; The End – Novi Sad) & Croatia (DEPOklub – Zagreb),
I have played in support of big artists such as Marek Hemmann, Johannes Heil, Pfirter, Ramon Tapia, Dominik Eulberg, Keith Carnal, Mikael Jonasson, Luca Agnelli, ANEK, Bella Sarris, Mike Wall, Benny Grauer, Timid Boy, Santé, Möwe, and Dan McKie.
How would you describe your style and genre?
As I DJ, I aim to bring a unique twist to dance floors with my roots out of W.Africa and the USA. I call my style “#DirtE sound”, and it fuses the best of Techno & Tech House. This bears a direct influence on my signature sound as is evident in my sets, which travel a continuum taking listeners and dancers on a musical journey.
Many often liken me to Carl Cox – this pleases me because it makes me know I am achieving my goal of delivering an unmistakable energy that drives crowds and keeps the floor packed till the early hours.
Who are your biggest idols ever? Dead or alive, musician or non-musician.
My Father (deceased – RIP) remains my biggest idol and role model. He taught me the core values of Honour, Respect, Loyalty, Integrity, and Compassion, which guide every part of my life. My Mother is my greatest hero because I have never encountered anyone who could be so selfless, supportive and show so much love.
Musically I would have to say Gregor Tresher (“A Thousand Nights” was the first ever proper electronic music track I heard and I was captivated instantly!), Carl Cox (of course^^), Adam Beyer, Octave One, Secret Cinema and Coyu have been my biggest inspirations not only due to their talent, but also the way they comport themselves.
What was the biggest mistake you made when you started making music and what would be the number one tip you could give to a newcomer musician?
The biggest mistake I made was not taking the time to understand the dynamics of the local electronic music scene. I was naive in the sense that I thought other musicians would be supportive and encouraging, and further that opportunities would come to me if I worked hard and merited bookings. Boy was I wrong! My advice to upcoming musicians in this scene would be to focus on developing yourself and your talent; To have no expectations that the quality of your output will open the right doors – you gotta hustle and seek the opportunities and most of the time create opportunities for yourself. I’d also advise them to look critically at who their inner circle is – as a musician you need an atmosphere of peace and realness inside you and also around you.
How do you get gigs? Can you share any tips?
Aside from booking myself i.e. playing at events I promoted, it was a rough beginning. Usually exchanging bookings with other promoter DJs or playing for free and at my own cost just to have the opportunity. It also helps to try and put yourself in the right places and always be prepared… don’t leave home without your music – last summer in Ibiza I happened to be at a Villa party where one DJ was a no show… and I had a USB on me. I ended up playing what guests said was the best set of the night and a few days later I was asked to play at a bar having a pre-party for Sankey’s closing. I caution against aligning oneself with people or joining cliques just to be popular among those who can offer gigs – you may get to play a lot, but it could cost you your soul in compromising yourself, beliefs and values.
What has been your biggest challenge right now? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
My biggest challenge at the moment is in the studio. As a new musician with a strong drive to succeed, I am putting a lot of hours into producing and trying to create special tracks to which people can listen and have special experiences. I reached out to several professionals I know for mentorship but sadly none reacted. As such I am overcoming this challenge with extra hard work, observing and learning a lot, and making tons of mistakes but not getting discouraged or frustrated as I recognise that they represent new learning opportunities.
Being accepted in the local scene has also been a challenge and I tried my best to do good to all and be nice to all – but this doesn’t always work as I have found. A complicated one as my principles are steadfast and I do not compromise on those no matter the reward. Fortunately music is global and not local as such I decided that if the local scene is too challenging, I will try elsewhere. To this end I have had great success in penetrating other cities like Budapest, Belgrade and Zagreb, but I was never one to quit and as such I am also maintaining the same level of effort in trying to break through locally as I am doing internationally.
How do you promote yourself? Do you have any specific promotion tips for other musicians?
I promote myself mainly using online channels i.e Facebook, Instagram, Resident Advisor and Soundcloud. These are effective channels that musicians starting out should tap into. Playing diverse gigs also goes a long way for promotion, and to get these more often than not you will have to offer your services for free – but think Big Picture, the earnings are in the spread of awareness by those that come to the gigs and not in monetary terms (fees)… basically you gotta pay to play in this industry ?
We meet again in one year. What has happened?
Subsequent to my upcoming releases this summer I would have released at least 2 EPs or a full studio album on major labels such as Suara, Natura Viva, 1980 Recordings (shoutout to label boss Dan McKie who gave me my first real break signing my first 2 tracks) or Tronic. Hopefully I would have played at a couple of festivals and possibly realised a long term dream to play a gig back in Ghana where I was born. But mainly, I will still be as motivated as I am now if not more with the sole purpose of bringing joy to people on dance floors all over the world.