EP 010 / 11.05.2021
MUSIC IN KENYA
L.A. Dave 0:00
No, most definitely, you have to be a perfectionist. Because let's say for instance, you're tuning a car's engine, you have to be a perfectionist, you have to know that you have to know how the car behaves, you have to know how the engine behaves, and then you have to tune it accordingly. Same with your sound when you're DJing, you want to be you want to always have a perfect mix, you want to know when the track is about to go out of sync, you want to you want to read, read that you want to know that, oh, it's about to go out of tune. I'm doing this and that. I'm going to act before anything happens, you know, to ensure that the mix is perfect to ensure that you're playing the best set you could possibly play. And most definitely, the values and some of the things that you know, they're very alike industries in terms of your drive as a human being and what you're trying to achieve. You're going to follow certain things to achieve that both in motorsport. And in the music industry. Yeah,
Farah Nanji 1:07
You're listening to the mission makers show, a podcast that inspires humans to get into the mindset of success. My name is Farah Nanji. And I'm the founder of a business in the Motorsports industry that explores leadership lessons from things like Formula One. I'm also a DJ and music producer in the underground electronic scene, and a public speaker on key topics like resilience, building high performance teams, overcoming learning difficulties, and stimulating creativity. And to tie it all together, I love writing thought provoking content as a journalist for these industries, which is so unique in themselves. On this show, I'm sitting down with some of the most inspiring and driven people I've met around the world to talk about their processes, their failures, the lessons they've learned, and how they are truly making an impact on this world.
Hi, guys, and welcome back to the penultimate episode of season two of the mission makers podcast. Today, we're joined by another good friend of mine, L.A. Dave. Dave is a fellow DJ label owner and Motorsports lover. He's widely recognised for being one of the pioneers who brought the underground, the minimal and techno scene to Kenya. And in this episode, he shares with us his journey of bringing the underground to Africa, his views on the future of the music industry and his experiences in running a label. Just before we begin, if you're interested in some really cool rewards like DJ lessons, signed books from our guests, and exclusive merchandise, head over to www.patreon.com/missionmakers to check out how you can access these exclusive rewards. And thank you to all of you who've been writing into us and subscribing to the show, it really makes a huge difference. So don't forget to hit that subscribe button if you love the content that we're making here at Mission makers. Dave, thank you so much for joining us today. How are you doing?
L.A. Dave 3:03
I'm good. Thanks so much for having me. It's a pleasure looking forward to talking and going through all the questions. Yeah. How are you?
Farah Nanji 3:12
Yeah, I'm good. I'm really excited to speak with you. And, you know, we've gone way back in I don't know, quite quite a few years now. We met in Nairobi. And it's really cool that you're here in London at the moment. So I'm excited. Hopefully, as we were saying off air, when things get back, we can hang out a little bit more and do some jams.
L.A. Dave 3:33
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah,
Farah Nanji 3:34
definitely. So I want to start by going back to the beginning, as a young child, what was your like exposure to music? And when did you kind of first discover the electronic scene?
L.A. Dave 3:46
Ah, okay. So basically, actually, it was my grandma's 85th birthday the other day, and we were watching some family videos and in one of the videos. My dad is changing my diapers and music is literally blasting and my mom's coming in from the kitchen shouting at him, like turn down the music. My baby is gonna go deaf. So I think I think I've always been around music because of my dad. He's always been playing. He's an audio file. I mean, the guy buys speakers probably every other month. And it's, it's an obsession. So, you know, he taught me a lot like, you know, from the 80s era, disco bands, this and that. So I've always been around music, but I think electronic music specifically, I started falling in love with electronic music. I I would say when I was living in LA when I moved there, which would have been around the early 2000s when I first had kind of started listening to you know, I'd be playing FIFA or something and then I'm playing it. DJ said somebodies, you know, deep dish called caulks. You know, and I'm listening. And that's how it kind of started. And I kind of fell in love with it and then started researching more artists labels who remixed that song, what label are they on, find out all the other releases on that label, what it was, is their sub label. And then it was just research research until the point where I kind of finally found what I love to play and what I want to play and the artists, I you know, because when I play a set, there will always be that one reoccurring artist, that one reoccurring label. Because it's so good to me, you know, I love how it sounds. And it's consistent. But not to start listing, but that you know what I mean?
Farah Nanji 5:52
Yeah, no, definitely. I mean, I can imagine the scene in LA in the early 2000s, must have been so different to what it is now, even just the type of electronic music coming through. True, true, it was.
L.A. Dave 6:05
Well, I was still quite young. So I wasn't really going out yet. But I did. I did spend New Year's Eve about three consecutive years at this party at the LA Coliseum if I'm not, if I'm not mistaken, called together as one done by Insomniac events. And their lineups. were really good at that. At that time. We're talking, you know, early 2000s. Or was it? Yeah. Well, I'm kind of confused with the dates now and the years but I would say this was 2000 and 567. Somewhere there if I'm not mistaken. And yeah, that was big. That was probably kind of like my first big scale, larger event where I'm seeing, you know, how it's done, you know, from the, from the organisation, the sound, the lights, the DJs? Yeah.
Farah Nanji 6:56
People always ask me the same question of like, when did you first kind of, you know, experience music on the dance floor. And I always, I always, I always kind of chuckle because the first place for me it was fabric, I snuck in, like 15 or something. But what a place to discover, like, you know, hear a sound system and, and, you know, it's no surprise that in places like that we both kind of, you know, gravitated naturally to the DJ booth, I'd say. Something that we like to do that we'd like to dive deeper with all our guests is really kind of go into the meaning behind their names. And in biblical terms, David was the future king who defeated the giant Goliath in his youth. He was this year, the young Shepherd also happened to be a poet, a musician, a soldier, a statesman and a prophet. The name surprisingly means brave and beloved. So it's quite, you know, it's quite, it's quite a powerful name. Has this meaning ever had an influence on your life? Have you been aware of the history around it?
L.A. Dave 7:56
Absolutely. Yes. But my DJ name came from people calling me la when I moved from LA to Kenya. No one really called me David or, or even Dave, they were just kind of like La La until, you know, my close friends decided to join the to and start calling me LED and that kind of just stuck. I didn't. I guess you could say I didn't even get to choose my DJ name kind of thing. It just ended up being la Dave. But definitely my real name, David. It's actually pronounced David. And my mum kind of named me that so that people wouldn't give me a nickname. Although, because back home, originally, in Serbia, it's not David, it's David. And there is no real nickname for that name. Because all the other names people will come up with like a nickname. I know that that was one of her reasonings behind naming me, David. But yeah. Or David, should I say? Yeah.
Farah Nanji 9:14
But in the end, you guys kind of made a nickname anyway with La La Dave. And in a funny way.
L.A. Dave 9:19
As soon as I moved, I mean, as soon as when I was growing up here in London. I was David when I moved to LA. I was Dave. And then when I moved to Kenya, I was in LA and then led. So that's kind of the transition. Yeah, full circle. So
Farah Nanji 9:38
growing up, what kind of goals did you have for yourself at that point, and how do they kind of match or differ to your present reality?
L.A. Dave 9:47
Oh, completely different. When I was a kid, believe it or not. I wanted to be an archaeologist. I was obsessed with Egypt. You know, Egyptology is one of the sub As I studied, I was probably at the British Museum growing up here in London, I was probably there every week, my auntie even can confirm that. She said that, oh, you're a pain in the ass as you were always asking me, let's go, let's go to the British Museum like it was a thing for me because I would either be drawing pictures or making notes. And I got to ask my mom actually where all that stuff is. But that's kind of what I wanted to do. And then yeah, by the time I was, when I moved to California, by that time, I was obsessed with basketball, I was playing basketball, and basketball was my life, I kind of forgot about archaeology, and all of that. And then, and yeah, but yeah, that was one of my goals growing up.
Farah Nanji 10:51
So what kind of inspired you to take the plunge into into the different music,
L.A. Dave 10:58
I'd say a different environment, you know, environment really impacts a person. And the environment I was in, in California was, you know, the kind of environment that made me fall in love with sports and basketball. And that's kind of what I know, but then the strange thing is, the strange thing is, I kind of lost that love for basketball, I still love basketball, I still follow basketball, but I kind of lost that drive to continue playing. Because at the same time, I was so obsessed with electronic music, and I focused everything I had, you know, into electronic music and finding out more, getting just diving deeper into the whole world of music, and basketball, kind of unfortunately, I stopped playing. Although my mom always says if I trained hard enough, and, you know, if I continued doing what I was doing, and then even some more, maybe I would have ended up somewhere maybe playing college ball or something. I don't know. But these days, I kind of play just recreationally.
Farah Nanji 12:16
Fair enough. Well, what's meant to be is meant to be right. And yeah, you know, talking about sort of environments. And you've touched upon the fact that, you know, your roots are from Serbia, you grew up in London, but you spent time between California and East Africa. So, you know, in those kinds of travels, which one place surprised you the most when it came down to this sort of shared collective passion for electronic music?
L.A. Dave 12:40
I'm not Kenya, Kenya, most definitely. So when I arrived, this was Oh, nine. So 2009 2010 I arrived from California, not so. So I flew California, London, spent two weeks here and flew straight to Nairobi. My dad was waiting for me, we took another flight straight to our family home in Tanzania. So I didn't spend too much time initially in Nairobi, I spent about one year in Tanzania, in Russia before I moved with my dad to Nairobi, but I mean, it's a five hour trip. So we always went back and forth throughout the last 10 years. And most definitely when I arrived. Yeah, and when we finally moved to Nairobi, that's when things kind of got serious with music and with DJing. And with the parties and with all of this because of my really good friend, Chucky, who's probably one of the first at that time to have a pair of CDJ 2000s and a DJ m 800. And we had no idea what anything would do. I have every day after school, I would visit him at the house, and we would just kind of be figuring it out. You know, and then six months later, boom, we're mixing, boom, it's, you know, we've got it down and when we're ready to play and that's kind of what happened. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 14:12
I had a feeling you'd say Kenya because you knew how out of all of those places, you know, how could you know it's it, it's just absolutely unbelievable. The scene in Kenya which a lot of people aren't so plugged into but it's like almost embedded you know, rhythm into their culture and this is absolutely like a shared love for having a good like Kenyan people just so friendly and so happy and you know, music really brings that alive. So we'll definitely talk more about the scene in Kenya as well. I just wanted to actually ask you like you talked, you talked about your dad being this huge audio lover and so what's this kind of like, What's your relationship with him? Now with music and sound? Does he come to you for music? Like, is he really proud of what you're doing?
L.A. Dave 14:57
Absolutely. from the get go. When we moved to Nairobi and you know started going out I have all my all my buddies No Dad, you used to come out with us all the time. A big music lover still reaches out and we speak every single day. I'm always posting music as well. So so basically keywords Yeah, we kind of vibe off each other either he plays me something or I play him something. And ultimately, it would lead to him sitting on the couch and recording tapes. He still has a chi Gx 75 tape deck which he records like music he really loves. So some of the music that I give him he kind of makes like this little compilation on tape. And it sounds really good in our living room in Tanzania because that's where all the speakers are and his and his babies, his equipment, you know, so? Yeah, most definitely.
Farah Nanji 15:59
Yeah, we will mad respect to him. I'm sure we're going to be those types of parents someday who accompany our children on the dance floor and their sounds. Definitely say, talking about obviously, East Africa and Kenya and stuff, you are undoubtedly one of the key artists, you helped shape the underground scene over there. So talk me through that journey. I know, it's been a really tough one, you know, bringing that minimal sound to Kenya and beyond. So, yeah, just kind of walk me through the process and the reflections about it.
L.A. Dave 16:32
Um, alright, so basically, basically, where do I start them? So I moved to Nairobi, I link up with, you know, Eugenio than Archie Chucky. At that time, Sean Pierce, who runs a supersonic Africa it's a studio, very talented producer. At that point, I'm also meeting the likes of Suraj. Dillon, fool, Zack.
Farah Nanji 17:02
How old were you guys when you when you?
L.A. Dave 17:04
I mean, Jesus. We were young. We were so young. I was how old? I was. We're talking to him. So I'm 20 1920 around that time. I just turned 30. So 10 years ago, you know what I mean? If not 11. And I mean, I'm just gonna I'm just gonna name everyone here. The one party that was running at the time when I moved was 6am Entertainment, run by Drazen Kuzey DJ Kay, Barney Barrow, shout out to all of them. They are now you know, they're older now. They've that they're the originators, they kind of started doing electronic music parties in Kenya. And by the time I arrived, their party was growing rapidly. Then, there was shout out to Frankie B, who used to play with food. Zach shouted out to bang bang 106 Sam's residents, very talented DJ, a lot of energy. You know, I want to name everyone I saw, I don't. So I don't feel like I missed out on somebody. But, uh, because there's this new but by the time the scene grew the, the DJ community grew larger. So at the time, we were starting out and kind of experimenting with genres. So I was playing not just you know, minimal house, I was playing, you know, new disco. I was playing quite, you know, South African house music, you know, before black coffee was what he is today before you know, or skeeto was what he is today, Professor heavy K and now not just go mentioning and listing everybody but that kind of vibe. I remember being at boxes lounge situated right next to Havana, which is a bar on electric Avenue when Drazen had his residency, because every Thursday night, and then, thankfully, you know, I got to kind of open for him sometimes, and I was playing, you know, I was playing Afro house at that time. And, you know, in the beginning, people didn't like it. People were telling me not to play this play that they wanted radio music, things that they were comfortable with. They didn't kind of want to experiment. Soon after the, the the residency finished, I moved upstairs with my brother Dredd step up who runs a moja sound system, you know, reggae dub and that genre, but we used to play together some house music, you know, so not Afro house, but I would say you know, deep house, minimal house, that kind of genre upstairs. I believe the place was called taboo. Yeah. So we were playing that from time to time experimenting with that means And as things went along, I really fell in love with the minimal sound. People would say it's called Rome minimal these days. It's a very Romanian influence sound. So the likes of you know, rash Radu those kinds of names. And I really fell in love with that sound. And I said, Okay, well, how can I kind of push this here? And at the same time around that, around that time, I had an idea to start the record label, because people used to send me a lot of music on Soundcloud and say, Hey, man, you know, we really appreciate your ear. And you know, your advice, do you reckon you could you can give this a listen and see how you feel. And then it just dawned on me, I'm receiving, like so much music. I wouldn't call them demos at the time, but I'm receiving a lot of music. So I was like, You know what? I'm gonna start a label. And then I'm gonna ask everyone who sent me music, would they be down to release it because it's quality. And soon enough, I had, you know, a crazy back catalogue that I could put out. That's another very important staple. If someone is starting a record label, you want to have music to put out, but we'll, we'll, we'll talk about that. And the label. But yeah, as things went along. Yeah, I was, I was playing, you know, from Afro to house to techno. And then I fell in love with minimal, didn't, I didn't really have a place to play it for people, you know. And the scene was very, very small. I mean, as template came about, which, which is,
I guess the perception of Temple is heavy techno night, with, you know, a minimal Deep House opening act. So, you know, obviously, you'd have a softer opening. And then as the night goes along into the morning hours, it'll become heavier, you know, 135, you know, Berlin, Techno Detroit. You know, it's blaring. And yeah, it started off really small, you know, and of any times it was kind of discouraging, I said, you know, what the hell am I really doing, you know, playing and playing this music, and then like, maybe, for 25 people, then 50 people, and then a year goes by it became 102 100. And then to the point where we couldn't fit any more people up on that rooftop at Temple. But I think, to be honest with you, and with everyone who's gonna watch this, I really feel that the crowd and the community that appreciates techno, real techno real minimal, real deep house is a community of not more than I would say, you know, 700 to 1000 and 1000, pushing it, you know, we we could comfortably say that, as a collective, when I say that all of the DJs who do play the sound, I do feel that we could kind of gather 1000, you know, Techno lovers, but not more than that. And there's a reason behind that, which I think we'll talk about more later. And that's the way the sound is currently in the East Africa region. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 23:19
Well, let's, let's talk about that. Now. I mean, what is, okay, well, why can't it grow? beyond that? That number is quite small.
L.A. Dave 23:26
So, so yeah, yeah. It's, it's, it's still nice. And there are many underlying factors. When 6am used to be held, under construction, the night that that was more a technical orientated party, they had more, more than 1000 people most definitely, it's because people in the region are more attracted to what kind of party it will be. So regardless of the music, you're not, I mean, if the party is good, we're going to go party, we don't care what the music is, right. But as the years progressed, people kind of fell in love with the sound. And as six as you know, as they finished, as they were completing their many years of, you know, electronic spreading throughout Kenya, as that finished, a lot of smaller parties popped up. And then everyone wanted a piece of the pie. So I think the crowd was kind of split. I think it's yet to be tested, if everyone puts the willpower together. And if everyone works together and collaborates, I feel that what I said, you know, a few minutes ago, I think that 1000 threshold could increase with the right marketing and you know, you know, kind of marketing it in a way and telling people Hey, you know, come try it out. Come, come see, if you like it, the party is definitely going to be good, you know. So that's the thing. And as, as the years progressed, a lot of smaller parties popped up. And then something revolutionary happened. And that is, I would say, I don't know how to phrase this. But the Afro house blew up. So at the same location, where we held the temple was the first Gondwana Party, which I played for, I believe on the lineup was jack rooster. Was it Suraj we played the first first one, which was all directed. And it was all about Afro house. At that point, Afro house blew up, everyone was playing in our house, even the exam organisers for the dance they brought in. And, slowly, slowly, you know, people from South Africa started getting booked one by one, and the scene just grew. The thing about Afro houses, you have Afro Afro Afro house, you know, I'm not going to list a whole bunch of artists again, but people should know what I'm talking about. Because now the main craze, the main trend is I'm a piano. And now I'm a piano player. I love this genre, I think it's revolutionary, you know, it's a, it's a, it's basically gone, slowed down. Because gone was a subgenre of Afro, which is a, which is more Durban sound very hard, hitting very, very loud, very hard. I'm a piano player, like the slowed down version. a similar concept where there is no kick drum is just a base, and highs. So you will have almost a high pass filter going throughout the intro of the track. And then at about the two minute mark, you'll hear the boom, boom, boom, boom, you know, and it's, and it's extraordinary. So that's now kind of taken over. And it's, it's become really popular. And Afro, I can comfortably say, is the number one marketed genre in Kenya right now, many of the DJs play Afro, and market themselves as Afro DJs.
And, yeah, yeah, and, and with the week of that, and with the popularity of it, also, a lot of smaller parties, ended up trying to get a piece of the pie, and, you know, put their spin on it, of course, and at every one of these events, you know, there would be a much larger crowd of a much, much larger crowd, rather than, you know, if you went to compare it with a, with a techno event, with a with a live band event with an acoustic event, with, you know what I mean? So, um, but in respect to that, that's where we are right now in Kenya. So Afro house and I'm a piano are the main genres that people listen to and vibe to? And then there's the sub genre that is still, you know, being a nice bringing in smaller crowds, but still providing, you know, a top party. And that's something we all will always try to do. Me being a resident of Kenya, nice shout out to raise, but we tried to do it all, you know, from Afro house to Major Lazer that, you know, three times four times is it I can't even count anymore, but so doing a commercial gig, which would then supply a more underground focus gig. And a lot of people are probably wondering how many, you know, probably watching this, but you just had Major Lazer and then talking about, you know, Techno and bringing, you know, this person, how does that even work because here in London, people are so Sonra focused. And they're so you know, because in respect, over here, you have multiple different sub genres, you have multiple different crowds and scenes. So you have to focus on one certain thing, because if you don't, you lose respect because the crowd will say, Oh, well, this person is now trying to do this and that, but in Kenya, what they don't realise is the largest shows right supply financially marketing wise, pulling in that crowd. The larger show's supply the smaller shows, so if the fact that we were able to pull off Major Lazer we were able to then book Rodriguez Jr. For a live show. We were then able to get you know, Huxley to come down. We were then able to understand, so that's how it goes.
Farah Nanji 29:56
Yeah, yeah, definitely. So when you have a lineup like that, let's Say, you know, and you've got let's say someone like Rodriguez playing, I'm not sure if it's before or after. But, you know, what happens to the dance? How do people stay energetic? And in fact, like, do they kind of Is it easy to retain them? because surely, you know what you touched upon there about, like people wanting caring more about the party and the having a good time as opposed to the music, but surely, I mean, maybe we're just of the opinion, because we're DJs but like, surely you play good music and the rest follows. I mean, surely that's the job of a DJ right to to create the good party, the good environment, and the amount of effort like you guys, you know, I've known you guys for almost a decade in like, your safest play for 6am you know, been down there and like, you guys, I like put in so much effort. And it's also like, you know, Kenya is a country, which is very, in a way, let's say community focused, you know, that it's about word of mouth. It's not about the fancy marketing and this and that, because it's very much about the organic kind of thing. So how does like, like, do people kind of, you know, they have someone like Rodrigo, who is quite melodic, who's quite ethereal. Like, we'll kind of go do they have stars in their eyes after hearing my Major Lazer or what happens?
L.A. Dave 31:13
I'm going to Okay, I'll describe three different parties, three different sounds, and I'm going to try to compare them. So Major Lazer, everyone knows Major Lazer. They know Diplo, and it's more of the party. I mean, per se, I'm not a fan of the music. But if I'm there, I'm gonna. It's so extraordinary seeing, you know, five and a half 1000 people jumping up and down screaming, you're dancing as well. And you're having a party, the opening act for Major Lazer. Let's talk about that. You know, we're Afro house one year, we had Jeff Jeff Afro Zilla, the other year, we had a member. So I mean, you know, it was a melting pot of music. And because people came for the party, they accepted, whatever was thrown at them. That's that's one. Rodriguez Jr. As you mentioned, very melodic, very ethereal. There is a fan base, a smaller one. So people do know of Rodriguez Jr. They have played his tracks, and they did want to see him live. But obviously, what's been five and a half 1000 people, you know, because this was marketed as major. This was marketed in a smaller niche at a smaller venue. We also had two of my favourite DJs come down, shout out to Chris for making that happen. He actually pranked me and said, No, no, no, they're not coming. And then they ended up coming in, I was really excited. And that is so bad. And Archie Hamilton, you know, what, some of the best DJs that I've seen with my own eyes playing music. And now let's take that as an example. So we had some bands come down, we had Archie come down to smaller venues, and the style of music that they play, you know, house techno, the kind of middle ground between those two genres, with a bit of minimal with a bit of deep house. You know, I don't like labelling, but I have to explain for the audience here. You know, what, what the artists play. So now, they come down. And this is what I think it falls down to the crowd at that point at these parties. You know, sometimes they're very impatient, they want to hear a drop, every 3030 seconds, every minute, boom, boom, boom, you know, the music, that sub band and Archie at that point, the music that they played is, you know, it's
Farah Nanji 33:43
you have to be,
L.A. Dave 33:45
it's groovy, you have it's rolling, you have to be patient, it's end to end mixing. It's, it's, it's a problem set. And, and the set is played where you make one track into the other seamlessly and make it sound like one long song. And because it's so alike, the similarity, the one track going into another which sounds similar. I think people then lose interest if you were to do that at a larger scale event, people would lose interest very fast, but because it's at a smaller venue, and it's a niche, people actually take the time to listen, and to kind of give themselves a chance with the music. And I think that's what happened at the Temple because it's such an intimate venue. Once you're in there, you're not going to really leave. Sorry. So you either listen to the music, or you're at the bar in the back drinking, you know. But yeah, so we've kind of seen it, and then to compare those artists that I just mentioned with the afro house parties We thought that we were the first to bring down Prince kV four I believe it was Kenyan eight, eight, the ninth anniversary, I'm not too sure. That was madness at one of my favourite venues that recently got demolished. treehouse. It's going to be so different when I go back, and I go to that area, and nothing's there with so many memories at that place, but just his name, brought in a sufficient crowd. And, obviously, Afro houses are going to be big in Africa. It's the elements, you know, kalimba Congo's drums, it's, it's embedded, you know what I mean? As opposed to here I am now in London, I also play you know, I love my fair share of Afro, and I'm not really seeing from the research I've done. I don't know, I know a few people, you know, shout out to the malice and surf combo that came to Muse club. Recently, before locking down in Kenya, I reached out to him, hopefully, looking forward to meeting him and the mallets, who I've been in touch with for many years, but we've never physically met. They're really great DJs; they both run labels. I want to see more. I want to. I want to attend something here, which is similar to let's say, going back home. You know, I want to hear Afro house music that is being played back home over here. And what I found out, as you know, this is almost my sixth month here in London since I got back from Kenya. Not actually more than nine months, but I'm I'm I'm trying to see, you know, what? What, what's that one staple party that provides? You know, Afro house in London and his Afro house in London. A niche? Is it smaller? Is it? You know? What? What kind of crowd does it pull? How many people? Where are the fans? Who are they? Where do they live? What kind of vibe and scene? Is it here? Because I don't know. And that's something I'd like to find out. So most definitely, as my stay here continues, I would love to find out more about the scene, the afro house scene here. Because I'm very familiar with, you know, the minimal house scene. I'm very familiar with the techno scene. I'm very familiar with Crazy Nights at fabric. I'm very familiar with a lot of underground warehouse parties, you know, in Hackney work and, you know, on that side of London? And basically, yeah, yeah.
Farah Nanji 37:45
Very interesting. Well, talking, I mean, it's obviously a lockdown. And he did discover the scene right now, obviously, is we're gonna have to wait some time. But but but I think you'll be surprised. There are a few there are. But I think you've touched on an interesting, potentially an interesting gap in the market, because I don't think anyone's actually done it the way that you're talking about with the authenticity of Africa. And so talking about that, what do you think is maybe perhaps some of the common misconceptions that people in the West might have about the African continent and his music scene, and a lot of people, when I tell them, I'd like TJ and Kenny, that no idea seen exists, or went to Uganda played no gay, like nobody really seen exist. And so I would like to ask you about that. And also, maybe also touching upon, do the promoters kind of work quite well, across different, you know, countries. So, what's been your experience of that?
L.A. Dave 38:39
All right. All right, I'm gonna, I'm going to try and because here I am, in this interview going off the top of my head, I should have taken some notes, as I mentioned earlier, but everything is in my brain. It's just how I phrase it. And I'm going to start off by saying in regards to that question, Is this for many years now, many producers in the electronic music scene have been sampling something African chance this and that, you know what I mean? And unfortunately, those recorded chats, those communities that people visit, unfortunately, they don't ever see any royalties, any monetary kind of gain. And it was very nice to see actually recently, that my buddies did a sound of Sasabe, something, Zach? Yes, yeah. And they actually gave back; they actually helped build a school because they were receiving backlash. You know, why you guys, you know, recording these communities. What are they gaining? Well, boom, we've helped construct a school. And that's lovely to see because it's all about you cannot go somewhere, somewhere where it's indigenous where there are tribes and you know, hey, I'm from In the Western world, I'm here to record you, I'm going to make it sound dope, I'm going to head back to where I'm from and play it and bomb. But like, what have you done, what have you left behind, you don't just that there should, there should always be a respect, there should always be the giving back. This should always be, you know that these kinds of values, because it's important, because some, some people that don't have the means a lot of the musicians now I'm talking not even DJs musicians, because of the underlying corruption in certain countries, they don't see the royalties, the real royalties that they're supposed to be allocated, they don't see a lot of these things that are very well put in place in the Western world. So in respect to that, the misconception is, uh, you know, as much as people think, Oh, you know, Africa, you know, kind of seen as they would like, they don't know, they've not been. And here's a prime example. I was just talking to my buddies the other day, here's a prime example. So quite recently, in Zanzibar, because, well, let me start here COVID-19. Tanzania does, from the start from the get go didn't really believe in it. And so the regulations for flying into the country and out were minimal. You could go visit, you can go on holiday. So a group of people decided, oh, we're going to do a gig in Zanzibar. And who played recorded villa-lobos. And yeah, and, and quite good, supporting. And, and really good supporting DJs on that lineup. As soon as that gig was finished, Sun waves, one of the biggest, minimal festivals in the world announced that they were going to do Zanzibar.
Farah Nanji 42:00
This is during the pandemic,
L.A. Dave 42:02
yet they've just announced so if you go on some waves, Facebook or Instagram, their marketing now to do sunwave in Zanzibar and, and then you ask yourself, I mean, I even even dropped a comment off the label page. I mean, and with all due respect, I love the party. I love the bookings, I love the vibe of the party, but how? How is an entity like some waves? How are you guys supporting the local community? How are you guys, you know, going to ensure that the beach is clean? Mine, keep in mind Zanzibar is very conservative. It's a predominantly Muslim community. Gonna have blaring music on the beach, people dancing, what, you know, what, what measures are in place to keep it, you know, sustainable, friendly, eco friendly, you know, that the ocean, the beaches are beautiful that you don't want to come there and destroy that. So they actually replied, and they did have some measures in place. And that is, we're going to hire local staff for ABCD. You know, we're gonna, I'm not sure about the beach cleanup after, but stuff like that, you know, it's very important today with I mean, this whole world is sort of slowly tilting and heading into I don't know what direction. So I'd say rapidly. So we want to not, you know, be part of the problem. We want to also have fun, but in a sustainable manner. You know, and I think that's, that's really important. So, you know, if the party if an entity like sun waves is going to Africa to Zanzibar to throw a festival that is amazing, that is gonna boost local economy that will boost you know, Tanzania's GDP, it's going to add to that, but if it's done in the correct way, and and that's the thing, so don't just come in use Africa, but collaborate with Africans on the African continent, you know, and that's really important. You know, you, it would be such a shame for an entity like that to come to execute the festival to pack this stuff up and to go home, build a school, help help the kids and help the local community? Um, I don't know what their agenda is, like I said, anyone watching this? I love the party. I hope you guys you know, definitely do well, and I hope more parties, as organised as sun waves, can do things in Africa and collaborate with the community. I mean, that would be absolutely fantastic. And that throughout the 10 years, my experience in Nairobi, there have been plans to do large scale events, collaborating with a big party. How would I put it? Big big names, big promoters, exactly. From this side of the world, but because of logistics, and because of events, such as political campaigns and this and that you really never know what might happen. Unfortunately, they either get cancelled or postponed. So, um, but there have been some successful ones. And yeah,
Farah Nanji 45:23
Hey, you, we hope you're enjoying today's episode, we're on a serious mission here to create one of the world's best podcast series. And we'd be so grateful if you could support us in any way by becoming a patron of the show. There's a tear to every level from early bird tears, where you get downloads to all my music with some super cool ninja stickers to our VIP mission, make it here's where you get epic rewards like exclusive footage, it never gets aired the chance to submit questions to our guests with signed copies of books from them, DJ lessons, one to one coaching and a whole load of super cool ninja measure maker merchandise, you can start supporting us for less than what it costs you to fill up your car for a month by simply heading over to wwe.patreon.com forward slash mission makers. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the show. So do you think I mean how hard you think is going to be for people to actually get to a place like Zanzibar? And you know, and what do you actually think the demand is going to be to have something like that, right, you know, at this moment in time? Well,
L.A. Dave 46:23
personally, I think, in the midst of this pandemic, even with the minimal restrictions, you know, allowing people in and out of Tanzania Zanzibar I mean, I don't know how that's gonna work because as a as a customer, you're gonna have to pay for your flight, you're gonna have to pay for a negative PCR test. You're gonna have to arrive at Kilimanjaro airport transfer to Zanzibar, if I'm not mistaken. Unless there's no sorry. Zanzibar, I think isn't I'm not too sure you. But I think that you can fly directly to Zanzibar. But anyway, once you're there, someone who's never been, you're going to you're going, you're going to need see those facility facilities, you're going to have to a party like sunwave is will have to have sufficient staff to coordinate and to tell people, okay, this is where you had, this is dunguaire Beach, this is what you had, this is the road, this is how you enter an exit these kinds of these kinds of things. So I don't know, in the midst of a pandemic, how large the crowd will be, but I'm sure the people who are up for it will will go you know, because,
Farah Nanji 47:42
Yeah, I mean, then again, you do hear of and see all the parties happening into loom and crazy things about you know, private things being organised in the jungle and people will pay extortionate amounts of money to access things like that. Here, which is crazy, but you know, since we're since we're dropping a few names here, I would, or shoutouts, I would say a big shout out to Vivi from blondish, because she's created, you know, by by plastic, which, which tackles a lot of the issues that you're talking about. And
L.A. Dave 48:10
correct. Shout out. Yeah, so
Farah Nanji 48:12
No go ahead.
L.A. Dave 48:13
No, I was just gonna say that's an amazing idea, because I read up about it.
Farah Nanji 48:16
Yeah, yeah, exactly more than 1500 DJs like anyone who's a DJ can sign up and just be part of it and then implement, you know, so many things from the get go from, you know, in demanding or insisting on your rider that plastic straws aren't at the party, you play out to organising the beach cleanups, for example, if you're playing in a location like that, and yeah, it's very cool, because they've done a lot of sampling as well for like Earth Day and, and everything is, is in an ecosystem, which is so important. So just one of the final things I want to talk about in terms of Kenya is kind of the fact that you know, I mean, we, you and I, we met up, when the restrictions allowed when you first got here, and we we had this chat kind of off air about the reality of what COVID doing to Kenya and I was absolutely, like stunned like, you know, you don't see this kind of news and exposure here in London. So could you kind of explain to what you know, our listeners what's really going on? You mentioned Tanzania not having much restrictions, not really buying into the whole concept. But yeah, I mean, I remember that story you told me about the people not even being able to leave an island and then falling off ships and like crazy stuff. So yeah, tell me tell me tell me more.
L.A. Dave 49:34
Basically. So people watching you have to understand Tanzania is here. Kenya's right across the border. Tanzania doesn't believe in COVID, Kenya, some of the craziest restrictions. So it's been now a year and some months where there's been a lockdown, then the lockdown is lifted. And then again and you know, they're changing this agenda, I would say, as they please, every month. But the one thing that has stuck from the get go is this curfew. So there was a curfew, when I was there from 7pm to 4am, then it got extended from eight to four, if I'm not mistaken, then 10 to four was always at seven to six. In the beginning, I don't even know, I'm confused. But the thing that the thing that sucks, and the first thing that I would say is, you know, people live, you know, hand to mouth on a daily basis, you know, people don't make a lot of money on a daily basis, and they need to do their job on a daily so that they can ensure that they have food to eat, what the lockdown in the curfew is done as really shaking the economy. And an example of this is I mean, as I'm talking that there's been so many events, unfortunate events that I can mention, that really upset me. But the main thing I will say is because of you know, when Kenya goes into lockdown, so the the tourism sector, the hospitality sector, the people working in hotels, the the chefs, the security staff, at events, the bartenders, and the list goes on, we're left without a job. There is no furlough day, then, you know, I mean, and it's very unfortunate. And people close to me, you know, have reached out and they talked to me about how the situation's been, you know, we went from, we went from partying from a Thursday to Sunday making money, and so is everyone else staying at home and doing a live stream? If you have an internet connection? That's, that's the reality. It's been very difficult. And perceptions have changed? You know, it, I think, I think the general mentality now is, you know, you COVID has destroyed so much, not even COVID the measures that are implemented because of COVID have destroyed so much of the music industry and the events and the nightlife industry, that at this point, I think people throughout this year and a half have just become used to it. I mean, it's become a norm to you know, call a few friends over and have a shipping house, rather than go out and play in front of 500,000 people, whatever it is, you know, and but people miss it, Pete Of course, I miss it, I miss playing for a crowd, I miss connecting with the people, I miss my friends, you know, you know, and so so but now, good news, good news, the most recent lockdown has lifted. And from what I know, day parties can continue, I believe, and the industries that I have mentioned have opened backup, so hotels, restaurants, bars, so we're seeing a lot of day parties, and which is good because it's bringing some sort of, you know, money into people's pockets that are working from day to day. Also the artists and the people putting on the show and people who own the establishment because you know, what I don't understand as well is how do you justify paying such large sums for rent? When the government is telling you you cannot be open? Why am I paying rent if I'm not allowed to be open? That's one of the main the main the main issues ever since lockdown started and ever since lockdown started there's been locked down then lockdown lifted then lockdown lockdown lifted so each time you know places like bars and restaurants have had to prepare for that you know it's not quite easy to shut down and then you know everything that you have planned for goes to waste food drink this that or you know i mean and then you close down then you open the unit so that's one of the main things
Farah Nanji 54:17
yeah, and there's a lack of suppliers now with them getting access to the equipment that that obviously we need to tackle to tackle COVID from vaccines to their PCR kits. And is that right actually,
L.A. Dave 54:32
Actually, I've spoken to some very close friends of mine, actually this week, and a majority of them have been jabbed here. So there are vaccination programmes underway for free. which is extraordinary to me because from the start of the lockdown in Kenya, everyone has had to pay for sanitizer for their masks for all of all of this gear that some Communities just don't have the money to spend on. You know what I mean? So, yeah, it's so there's a vaccination programme underway. And that's currently happening as we speak. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 55:12
So what do you think artists, you know, have to do to survive this, this post COVID reality, I mean, you're one of them. So what would have been some of the things that you've, you've had to do to survive?
L.A. Dave 55:25
Fuck me, man. I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be honest. I've kind of, you know, the drive, the passion, the passion is always there for music. I love music musics always going to be a part of my life still is, always will be, but but the eagerness the drive to perform to DJ publicly, again, isn't quite there. I'm okay with not playing. You know, and pushing myself to play certain shows. I think, you know, COVID kind of, you know, done that in. But what the advice I can give for people who still have the drive, who, who you know, who are driven, who want to play and continue playing for the years to come? is trying to stay relevant. And how do you do that? Well, live streams, what something we're doing now. marketing yourself sponsoring every post, I mean, algorithms and changing on social media, you know, I post on my label page, nobody even sees it anymore. Unless I paid for it. Same on my led page. People are using Instagram or half my friends don't even use Facebook anymore. People are using, you know, Twitter, Snapchat, Reddit discord, frickin Tick tock, you know, I mean, so to stay relevant, have all of those social medias and have a team that pushes it. That's my advice. And if you have the money, put it in, get yourself out there. But I'm kind of grassroots and I like things to grow organically. Unfortunately, I just don't see the, you know, the point in me putting in so much money in and seeing minimal output. And, you know, furthermore, that's another thing COVID, I think has shown in this past year and a half. And that's and that's this, this is the sad truth. This is the most important part of this interview, here is what I'm about to say next. And this is it. Have you noticed as well, that because of the lockdown, because of the crippling industry, you know, COVID, crippling the industry and nobody really playing out anywhere. And you have all of these talented DJs, all of these producers making some of the best music during lockdown. So now you have. So now you have that kind of situation. But for you to stay relevant as an artist, as a DJ as a staple as a name. You have to be playing. Right? You have to be out that people have to see you and they have to hear you. As soon as they don't have that. How are you relevant anymore? Who cares, right? You know what I mean? And the sad part about it is music sales at an all time low. Why would I be buying music if I'm not going to be able to play that music out anyway? Yeah, I'm just I'm hoarding it. I'm listening to it. Fantastic. I have nowhere to play it.
Farah Nanji 58:38
Yeah. Only by music DJs I mean, no everyone else streams.
L.A. Dave 58:43
Yep. Yep, exactly. Even myself, I find myself streaming music more than I'm buying music now. So and that's a fact that's coming from a DJ, someone who is very organised on you know, I still use iTunes, I have all my folders, different genres, different set lists, and I can't even remember the last time I opened iTunes To be honest, and it hurts. It hurts to say that because again, I'm repeating for you to stay relevant in this global climate. You have to be doing something revolutionary, I don't know if it's, you know, having a team behind you pushing you on these on social media but But what I've noticed the trend, people who are trying to stay relevant have really set on these crazy social media plans. How would I say it journeys where they're, you know, really trying to push but even with the sponsoring of posts on Facebook, on Instagram, tagging people sharing, email marketing, SMS marketing, I'm seeing a minimal output. I'm not seeing a major effect and why they Because the industry is shut, because we have to apparently wait till the 21st of June in this country to see how public events are going to happen again. And my prediction, my prediction, my honest kind of, you know, if we've learned anything in how history repeats itself in this short, one year and a half span, since COVID started is I think, you know, I think on the 21st of June, the industry will open, we will see some events, go ahead. But, unfortunately, I hate to say, I think they're gonna say, Hey, guys, hold on, you've guys been mixing too much, we're gonna have to shut it down another lockdown? You know, and how long? How long is it going to be? And, you know, what kind of repetition is this? What kind of life are you living? You know, it. And I hate to say it, if it's if it's going down that path, you know, even even the vaccines, you're not sure once you get dragged, you don't know, if you can still transmit the virus, you don't know, if you're not going to get it again, I've heard people who've received two jobs and who have gotten COVID. Again, so if that's the situation, and with the rushing of these vaccines, they're still in the experimentation stage, you know, I don't know, I don't know what's gonna happen in the, in the, in the, in the coming years, you know,
Farah Nanji 1:01:27
it's tough, it's tough. It's so first of all, you know, most artists have had to, to pivot and do something else, you know, to survive in myself included in that equation. And, and it doesn't, it doesn't come easy, it takes months to get something else coming in. And therefore also talking about social media and your observations of, you know, people not even doing as much output as they could worse because what, what is that? So you talk about? it, I mean, that's relevant to your expertise, right? So it's just kind of like, it's a cat and mouse. But yeah, it's I will say do share your your, your viewpoint that when things you know, might change, you're on the 25th of June, it will only be for a certain amount of time, probably be the summer, and then and then as soon as winter starts, if we can make it that long, you know, it will it will go back. Because how can you look at places like India? I mean, how can you think that it's not going to happen the second that you open up things again, but anyway, let's let's like we can only we can only this might hopefully just be the short term. And, and, and I mean, pray to God that in a year, like we wouldn't be having this conversation. Oh, man. It's crazy. And I feel sad to hear that you don't have that love to pick up iTunes. I mean, it's, it's, it's, I mean, like, I when you're saying that I felt myself resonating with some of what you said, because if I think about, you know, okay, like, I mean, as DJs we chase after the music was being released, like literally till the last second of a gig like it's, it's like frantic, you know, like finding the latest sound, the latest artists, the latest song, you know, like, literally, you know, in the, in the green room before you're about to go play like, it's, you're literally doing it up until the last minute. And it would give me anxiety in the past to think, Oh, my God, I haven't been able to stay on top of new downloads for two weeks. Because you know, that there's like 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of stuff happening every day. So if you're not doing it for two weeks, how much can a human being scrolling listen to you without like, burning out and getting tired? And now it's been months, you know, to actually think about going back to the platforms that we use to find those places. But and the only and yeah, it's it's, it's, it's strange, it's really strange. I probably should go and download some more new music as my takeaway from this. Because the other thing that you said there, which is also, you know, sad is the fact that, you know, obviously, if you're a producer at this time, again, like myself, like you're, you're writing a lot of music. And so what's happening is, you know, labels are getting inundated, and I'm sure you're probably as a label owner, you know, probably we'll touch upon this, but how you must be getting a lot of, you know, music coming your way. So you could if you wanted to be set for the next three years, five years, even with it with songs, because there's so much being written and produced. So, you know, but then if not that many people are even searching for music. It's just, it's strange. Yeah. Because I think a lot of people also don't realise when you were talking as well about the royalties and this and that is like, there isn't that much in it. So at the end of the day, like you know, the fact the fees that could go out and build a school and things in Kenya is amazing. And, and it takes like, you know, a song like I don't know, yet k yaquis, for example, Maury County, that you would say, okay, whoever they sampled in that scenario, that would be a record that would probably sustain having us Having, you know, being able to afford, you know, that kind of thing because it did so well. But in reality, the reality is the money gets made from the gigs. And that's it, you need the music to stay relevant to be booked, but you the, the gigs are that are the lifeline, the oxygen of the ship.
L.A. Dave 1:05:16
And everyone knows that every label owner that owns a digital record label, they know that, you know, sales are at a low, they know that, you know, the artists on the label who get booked to play live shows not you're making money, you can you know, you can you can sustain yourself. But otherwise, it's really tough. You know, and touching back on mnoho COVID. situation. I mean, I just, I just want to pose a question. And that is, is it going to come? Are we going to see one day? Is it going to be, you know, let the best immune system? When is that? Is that what's gonna happen? Because, if, if, you know, I'm reading all the time about this, and, you know, if, if the vaccine isn't 100%? If you know, then they will, then what do we have really well?
Farah Nanji 1:06:14
I think I don't even think it's about the best immune system, because I've had friends who have, who could you know, who challenged me to go and run for four hours? I mean, literally, they'd be like, Johnny go on a four hour walk? Or do you want to you know, and these are like, huge hikes with like, you know, various amounts of terrain. And, you know, and that particular friend when she I mean, her immune system is amazing, right? Like, she's so strong, she's so conscious of what she eats, she works out every day, when she got COVID. I mean, you know, it was brutal. And then when, when it actually, you know, when it finished, she couldn't walk up the stairs for like, months afterwards, just because of the long lasting effects. So I think what's at play is beyond us, and the way it affects our bodies is, you know, there's no, everybody is different, and will you know, will receive it differently. So I don't really know the answer. Your question is tough because we don't know that. And we can only see what I mean, it's intriguing what will happen in Liverpool with the rave and like how they did it with, you know, negative, everyone being negative. There were no masks. I mean, everyone was like Ray
L.A. Dave 1:07:16
saw that. Yeah.
Farah Nanji 1:07:19
Right. Which is also crazy to think that that's something we're afraid of now, like that is really strange. But I think we could talk about this for a long time. So I just want to switch gears a little bit. And Norris. And before we go into third, fourth gear, what I just quickly want to ask, because you do own a label, and it is and you shared your journey about why you wanted to start it. And all that. So what would be your sort of top three tips to anyone who wants to start a label? What are the top three tips, you mentioned that having a backlog is essential? And I definitely agree with that. So maybe two more that you think are super important?
L.A. Dave 1:07:54
Yeah, so definitely, if you're looking to start a label, you want to have, like I said, music to put up first and foremost. But even before that, you want your label to stand for something, you know what I mean? You want the name you want it to be, you want it to send a message, for example, grounded music, grounded music, grounded wasn't a record label. grounded was a streetwear boutique, in Long Beach, California that my dad, my really close friend Moria, you know, used to own. Unfortunately, the store had to close as the, you know, economy crashed in 2008 2009. But he taught me that, you know, grounded and the message behind grounded was to stay grounded, to stay humble, to be kind, to be real. And to stay grounded, you know, and unfortunately, when the boutique closed, and as I was finishing high school and made the transition to East Africa, with my dad, I asked Moria I said, Man, you know, grounded music just sounds so good. And I would keep the ethos of the message alive through the music that we're putting out. And, and hence grounded music, you know, the minimal sound grounded, kind of goes together, rolling baseline grounded, like boom, boom, you know, but also stays grounded. And, and that's always been the message. And to add on to that the message with the label has always been finding really talented artists, without them having to depend on major labels, you know, have a home to put out music and, you know, get yourself out there. And a lot of the artists that have released on the label are doing some really spectacular things. Now, you know, some have gone to start their own labels which are doing really well and I'm super proud to see that and they Always, you know, you know, from time to time will write to me and say, Hey, you know, we really appreciate the fact that you saw something in the schools, we've taken it now seriously, we've started our own label, our little own community. And, and that's amazing to see. And that's what it's all about.
Farah Nanji 1:10:16
Definitely, yes, having that. So, to summarise, it's having the backlog, it's having the core philosophy around the label. And thirdly, it's really going and building that community, and having a home for artists to be there not as a transient, but as a long term sort of place to grow and thrive on, which I love. I think those are some really solid tips. And actually, just to ask you a question about that. So how do you manage to keep yourself humble? I mean, what do you do to kind of, you know, stay grounded in a way?
L.A. Dave 1:10:48
Yeah, sometimes in this music industry, you know, and everyone watching this, or who will watch this, you know, everyone knows that. In the industry prior to COVID, you know, it's a battle of egos, you know, it's a, it's, it's weird, because it's, oh, I'm better than you or I, you know, you're, you're not, you're not doing this, you're not performing the duty, you know, when there's, when it's time to organise the show this or that is Nananana, I can go on and on. But it's important to sit down and to say, okay, you know, have I done something wrong? Have I been? Have I been, you know, respectful, have I, you know, treated? The people I'm working with, you know, nicely have I, you know, have I have I performed my duty have I have I, you know, you, you ask yourself constantly all of these questions, and as you answer your own questions, then you'll be able to determine how I remained, you know, humble, have I have I been professional, how have I been, you know, what I mean? It's, it's it, sometimes I won't lie, you know, in the atmosphere and the environment you're in, someone will come in, you know, with a big ego, and then your ego will come out, and then it's like, the Battle of the egos. But at the end of the day, you know, it doesn't really matter where to play music, and we're together. So we might as well enjoy it together, enjoy the people, and have a good time. And at the end of the show, or at the end of whatever it is we're doing, you know, we can, you know, be cordial, and enjoy maybe some drinks and a meal after and talk about it, you know, and kind of say, look what we did, you know, and be proud of what we did, you know, but yeah, definitely. Yeah, again, pre COVID, definitely, there's, there's that drive, egos come into play, you're trying to play, you're pushing you because you care. Because when you care about something so deeply, and it's your baby, then your ego is going to come out. But you know, as, again, it's a year and a half now. And you know, I can't, I can't really personally be bothered anymore. I don't have the energy, and I'm getting older. So for me if I can play a room to 300 people, some slower music and awesome Deep House 121 22 I'm happy, you know, I don't I'm not a kid anymore. I don't need 10,000 people and a blaring rave, even though from time to time, you know, I will definitely miss that. You know if that could happen once in a while. I'm really happy. You know, but I don't know. I don't know my mental state. And kind of my perception of the music industry and what COVID has shown it to be and with the whole relevance and everything that we just spoke about I you know, it's it's, it's kind of like, you know, I'm you know, if someone calls me Hey, Dave, you know, I'm organising a party, I need some help to do this. And that Sure thing, buddy, I'm gonna help you. Oh, hey, Dave, you know, you want to warm up the party, you want to go, you want to play cool, but it's not going to be sending emails getting in touch, hey, let's you know, I'm flying here. I'm doing this. Let's organise that, you know, but who knows, maybe I'm speaking like that. Now. Hopefully, you know, summer will hit. It's a different atmosphere. Maybe something inspires me and I end up you know, being driven again. And that's the roller coaster of the situation.
Farah Nanji 1:14:30
I think we are all experiencing the same thing in the music industry. It is a you know, David and Goliath sometimes, you know, literally, and there is a hell of a lot of ego. And I think you know, you said it well, at the end of the day, you're proud that you spent so much time you sacrifice so much to be in this industry. And you know, you're proud of what you've sacrificed because how could you not be right and like you're proud of hopefully not everybody has the talent to read a room. It's not something you can read in a book. It's not You can work with the University for it's a very much an intuition, it's a feeling. And then it's a hell of a lot of hard work and melodic digging, as it were, to stay ahead of the curve and build those relationships. So it's easy to understand why it exists. But then the way that it's carried out is, is a totally different thing. Because you don't you should never destroy somebody else, you know, on your journey up. It's like you said, like, everybody prays and plays a role in your success. And you should always be grateful for that. And yeah, some good nuggets here. So switching gears now, this is a podcast about music and motorsport and business. And I do know that you are a huge lover of cars. So tell me a little bit more about that. How much of a diehard fan are you?
L.A. Dave 1:15:51
Oh, man, I really couldn't wait for this segment of the interview. So Oh, man, I'm absolutely in love with motor sport with cars. Especially, you know, the Japanese domestic market, you know, JDM cars. And Huh, where do I start with this? Okay, so I Oh, man, as a kid as a kid playing Colin McRae Rally. So rally is probably my favourite type of motor sport. And then probably coming in second would be drifting so like formula d d, one GP third would be like, super tight, you jG etc. Kind of like the Japanese GT car championship and then maybe Formula One because I'm recently getting back into it. Kind of following it, you know? And, and then, yeah, so it's my 11th birthday. And my mom comes to me, and she goes, I have a surprise for you. I go, What is it? What is it? She goes, I'm gonna teach you how to drive at 11 years old. So what? So we got to California, we went to this empty parking lot. And I remember the car was a Suzuki, esteem. 1.8 if I'm not, I mean, but it was a stick shift. There was a manual and I got in the car. And it's as if I was on to drive. I mean, within 10 minutes, I kind of got it down. I'm balancing the clutch, the gas pedal and I'm shifting gears and boom, I learned how to drive at 15. I applied for my provisional licence and I got it. And by 16 I'm driving by myself in California. And then as the years go along, I buy by myself an N 12 2006 Subaru STI. That was my daily driver. And then followed my true love the S chassis, Nissan Silvia, so I owned an S 13. One eight ESX in Japan, two for ESX in the US. So the first one had a ASR. 20 dt engine in it. wide body slammed to the ground on work wheels, a paxi and one coil overs. Super made body kit desert Sage metallic paint job. Funny enough, I saw similar cars, not as 13 but as 15 the other day and I actually got to chat to the guy and it was fantastic he had a Rb 25 in his skyline engine. So now I'm researching as well meeting people we're going for car meets. Then I bought my second 240 Essex. Actually, I traded the first one for the second one. The second one was a fastback. The first one was a coupe. So the second one had a k 24 d e engine, which ended up being towboats Okay, a 24 d t 2.4 litre turbo engine stripped in the back, bride racing seat, quick release, body club coilovers front mount intercooler, basic setup, super set car love to drive it. And yeah, I mean, the passion is still here today. My current car which I miss so much, my altezza is sitting at my place back in Nairobi, and collecting dust hoping my dad can get there next week, as he told me he'll be returning from Tanzania and hopefully, it can still turn on and without him having to buy another battery. But yeah, that's that's it? Yeah.
Farah Nanji 1:19:35
Nice. So here's an interesting question for you. Do you see any crossovers between the worlds of music and motorsport in terms of what it takes to succeed or like the levels of like, you know, detail and precision and perfection or modes that you kind of have to have or laser focus? Do you see any of that crossovers between both worlds?
L.A. Dave 1:19:54
Absolutely. You have to be laser focused and some not most definitely have to be a perfectionist. Because let's say for instance, you're tuning a car's engine, you have to be a perfectionist, you have to know that you have to know how the car behaves, you have to know how the engine behaves, and then you have to tune it accordingly. Same with your sound, when you're DJing, you want to be, you want to always have a perfect mix, you want to know when the track is about to go out of sync, you want to, you want to read, read that you want to know that, oh, it's about to go out of tune. I'm doing this and that I'm going to act before anything happens, you know, to ensure that the mix is perfect to ensure that you're playing the best set you could possibly play. And most definitely, the values and some of the things that you know, they're very alike industries in terms of your drive as a human being and what you're trying to achieve. You're going to follow certain things to achieve that both in motorsport. And in the music industry.
Farah Nanji 1:21:05
Yeah, you said it very, very well. So Dave, we've got a question that's come in from our audience. We had a couple but we're a bit tight for time. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna pose one before we then do our quickfire round. So this question comes in from Chloe in New York. And we have actually talked about the feeling of a post COVID dance floor and all there. So I think it'd be a good question to ask, which is, what would be the first chain that you play? In a post COVID dance floor and where would you like it to be?
L.A. Dave 1:21:35
Oh, man, all right. That's a bit because I would play one of my favourite tracks in the world. And one of the members recently passed away, rest in peace, Raphael from infinite boys. That particular song is in my Opera House appreciation mix on my SoundCloud. I feel like the sun is setting and that song would just be perfect somewhere on the beach. So there's that. Yeah, good.
Farah Nanji 1:22:05
We got there. We got that. Okay, cool. So, fifth gear now is the final one, the quickfire round. So we've got five questions for you. We don't want more than 60 seconds on each. So okay, short and quick answers. Before we end up having an amazing conversation today. So first question is now if people may not have noticed, but you've got a lot of sneakers behind us sneaker boxes, the LED is a massive sneakerhead, just say what are the perfect sneakers to wear on the main stage of headlining a festival like la sorry not like led had like a festival like reggae negate or even going to temple in for example.
L.A. Dave 1:22:50
Okay, so, um, to ensure comfort and to and to also look good airmax any air max sneaker because of the air system, you know, you feel comfortable and you know, depending on the model and the colorway, you're looking fresh. So yeah, that's my answer, basically.
Farah Nanji 1:23:14
Okay, nice, nice any colour preference on that?
L.A. Dave 1:23:18
But I don't think other people prefer wearing like 350 boosts that are very comfortable from what I hear. I've never tried one on. I'm just a big Nike head. So yeah, most definitely like airmax sneakers. I'll also always rock my Jordans So yeah, I mean might not be the most comfortable out there. But you look good. And you know keep your feet secure and you can stomp on the dance floor.
Farah Nanji 1:23:46
Very good. Very good. Just to point out that when I said temple, I didn't mean going to church or anything. Okay, yeah, because people might not realise we meant the temple in Nairobi.
L.A. Dave 1:23:57
But if I'm on the if I'm on the sometimes I won't even lie sometimes. It's best to play barefoot as you get to you get to feel the you feel the resonance you know throughout
Farah Nanji 1:24:08
yeah the nail on the head like I play barefoot literally if I'm if I'm like, in a villa party like is the best is the absolute best. Okay, cool. So, being a master petrolhead what and living having lived in the states what's your one of your favourite road trips? In the US so far?
L.A. Dave 1:24:30
Oh actually, yeah, straight off the top me and my mom in the STI and Subaru STI we went from San Francisco to Los Angeles in something ridiculous. I think it was like I would have to ask my mom but ballpark I think it was like four hours but it's usually like a seven to eight hour trip. We were flat, we were flying.
Farah Nanji 1:24:52
What are you most grateful for this month?
L.A. Dave 1:24:56
Oh, without a doubt it is continuing. To stay healthy, and continuing to have such a strong immune system. I mean, I've been now during this last year, I've been to three countries, I've been to one country where they don't believe in COVID. And nobody's wearing a mask. I've been to another country where there's a lockdown. And you'll be fined if you go outside without a mask. So I'm just happy to be healthy. And that's the main thing. Because if you're not healthy, if you're sick, then you're not feeling good. And you can't really do anything else. So I'm happy that I'm healthy, and I'm able to do my job and I'm happy to be able to live and, you know, I'm that's what I'm grateful for most definitely, yeah.
Farah Nanji 1:25:42
100% Health is our biggest, biggest wealth. So Dave, thank you so much for coming on mission makers. It's been a real, you know, raw and honest chat. And I appreciate you giving us a lot of those insights. And they were amazing, and I hope to catch up with you soon.
L.A. Dave 1:26:00
Absolutely. Thank you again, for having me. Um, the last thing I'll say is, yeah, check out our forthcoming release dropping June 4 2021. It's called sound selections. It's the fourth compilation series on my record label branded music, which includes, most of I would say, like the, besides all the IPS that have been released so far, plus a few fresh additions from close friends. So keep an eye out on that.
Farah Nanji 1:26:29
Yeah. 100% Yeah, we'll definitely plug your label into this episode. So thank you guys. Keep an eye out if you love a minimal, minimal house. Dave's label is one of the best so Yeah, awesome. Okay. We'll speak to you later. Dave. Have a good one.
L.A. Dave 1:26:45
You too. Thanks for having me. Bye bye.
Farah Nanji 1:26:48
So I'm super excited to share with you guys that Bob Moses will be our season closer next week. They have been my all time favourite band for the last decade, so you can only imagine how excited I was to talk to them. So be sure to subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, YouTube and wherever else you listen to your podcast because you definitely do not want to miss this episode. So feel free to reach out to me @missionmakers or @Dj.n1nja on Instagram. And if you're interested in supporting the show and getting some really cool rewards like Virtual DJ lessons and life coaching, don't forget to visit www.patreon.com/missionmakers. And thank you again for listening. Have an amazing week.
Lessons To Fuel Your Mission
Respect the environment around you because it will shape you
It's not about what you've achieved, it's about what you give back
Create relevance instead of feeding off a culture of recognition