Dakini9, from NYC takes the time to answer some questions and share some music with Smoke Sessions. Enjoy!
Hello Lola,Its great to have you hear on our program, much love your way for taking the time to answer some questions and share some music with us. Here in South America there is a renaissance of a sort regarding House music, the vinyl revival and a sort of back to “the roots” movement, embracing sounds from the 80s and early 90s as well as contemporary sounds heavily influenced by those early pioneers.
One questions you never ask a woman is her age but, to get some perspective about your upbringing and how that may have molded your sound I guess we will have to start with your beginnings.
1: You have mentioned that you are half Peruvian; can you tell us a little bit about that? Were you born in the US? Immigrated? How did that affect your life? How does it affect it today? Do you look back to your roots for inspiration? South American culture has a lot of indigenous groups and each with their own instruments and sounds, especially percussions. Do you feel that there is some sort of “Latin” backing to your productions?
I was born in USA, my mother is Peruvian and we emigrated to Peru when I was just 6 months old or so. Spanish is my first language. I lived in Lima, Peru throughout my youth but settled into a Stateside rhythm by the time I was a teen. Being bi-cultural has expanded my understanding of the world and how people live, and most importantly, how people communicate and form bonds, friendships. It’s no secret that Latin Americans are very warm, “simpatico,” and my beginnings in club culture actually reminded me of growing up in Latin America, where you meet a friend’s friend and they instantly become your friend and bring you into the mix. This was how I felt when I first started my club life in the 90s. Now it is different but this feeling sense is in me from my upbringing both in blood family and club family.
In terms of musical feeling, growing up in NYC and being exposed to the music made and played here you can’t avoid the Latin percussion.
2: Growing up in NYC, you mentioned that you had the opportunity to nourish your musical tastes with some of the best artists and clubs of the era, mentioning Paradise Garage, The Loft, Twilo, and The Warehouse in Chicago. For the new generation of musical enthusiasts and professionals today, do you feel that they missed out on something so key to what “dance” music is today? What can you compare regarding clubs and movements today to that of your earlier years?
I like to think of myself as a “second generation” Paradise Garage head. I was brought up musically by people that were there, and at the Loft, Choice, the World, etc. I was too young to be at these, but I inherited the vibe and also the music by spending time around people older than me who were there. I came up in spaces like the Sound Factory Bar, Twilo, Limelight, Palladium, and then smaller parties like Soul Kitchen, Bang the Party, Giant Step, and Konkrete Jungle.
I wouldn’t say that the new generation has “missed out” because each generation has its places, spaces, and moments, but the culture has changed. When I started going out there was no such thing as social media! The clubs were more private I think. There was a sense that when you were there, you went there to dance and be yourself and to escape from the regular world. I feel this boundary is now very porous and in some cases, nonexistent, due to social media.
3: You’ve told us that before you labeled your sound as “Ancient Science Noir Direct” care to elaborate on that? What does it mean? How did you go from that to your current deep dubby out space sounds? How did you evolve? Was it a conscience decision of “well the times are changing and so is the music and I need to adapt” or more of a natural progression to what you are today?
My first ever internet radio show was called ASND. It meant either “Ancient Science Noir Direct” or “Another Scientific Needle Drop.” This is ancient history at this point, but anyway…I like to play with language and words. I was and am very influenced by Ron Trent, Louie Vega & Kenny Dope, Kerri Chandler, and the African & Latin, organic percussion of artist like Candido, Manu Dibango, etc. When I first started DJing, I bought anything and everything from Prescription, Clairaudience, Masters at Work, etc. This was also a time when the Afro-Latin percussive sound was sort of trendy, like with DJ Gregory and the Faya Combo releases, so I had a lot of that organic element in my sound from the beginning.
I’ve always been into dubby, spacey sounds. For instance, I love Portishead and Massive Attack, King Tubby, beats & hip-hop. So the current sound I have, in my opinion, is just a natural progression of what I’ve always been into. Sometimes I would absorb things into my sound, like when I was playing Pacha in NYC regularly and learned to play bigger room sounds, or when I was doing smaller lounge gigs and played downtempo, but they were selections authentic to me and “my” sound just played on a different scale.
4: How did you go from DJ to co-label boss of Plan B Recordings and also have an important role in Sound Warrior Recordings? What obstacles did you encounter? Still encounter? What can you tell us about the main difficulties about maintaining a label that releases on digital & vinyl?
To clarify, I am co-owner of both of these labels. I run Plan B Recordings with DJ Spider since 2008 and Sound Warrior Recordings with Jenifa Mayanja since 2013. To further clarify, Sound Warrior Recordings has only ever had vinyl releases and Plan B Recordings is mostly vinyl; we went thru a digital phase in 2009-2010, and occasionally put out CDs.
Going from DJ to working on labels has also been organic. In the case of Plan B Recordings, it grew out of my party Deep See, which I ran for ten years with DJ Eric “E-Man” Clark. DJ Spider became a resident of Deep See in 2006, which is how we became friends. Jenifa and I, both being women in the scene, dare I say “veterans,” would always talk about the intricacies of being a woman in a male-dominated scene. We started the label to bring more attention to women producers, to our role as leaders, I guess you could say, in the scene. With Sound Warrior, it was like stepping up to say, we’ve been around a long time and done a lot of work and if no one else wants to recognize it, we will. Now there are women all over the place standing up for their place in the music scene. The role of women is growing stronger all the time.
5: Sound Warrior Recordings focuses on female artists. Do you feel that it is a success? That a musical industry dominated by men, do you feel Sound Warriors is creating the attention needed by emerging female artists to grow?
It is an ongoing effort to bring more attention to women producers and DJs. When we started, there were not as many avenues focused on women as there are now. In that regard, it is a success because we have added our voice to a conversation that needed to be had, and along with all the other voices, the topic is now unavoidable. We have also released great music on the label and have great relationships with the artists we work with. There are two Sound Warrior tracks on my Smoke Sessions mix: “Nightwalker” by Jenifa Mayanja (SW004) and “Shadow Boxing” by Lilith (SW003).
6: Locally you mentioned you play with your “Green Villain/Green Village” crew. Who are they composed of? What do you focus on when together? Productions? Back 2 Back sets? Tell us more.
Green Villain (http://www.g.reenvillain.com/) is a street art/production/design company run by my friend Greg Egdell in Jersey City. He’s been doing things in this area for years and when we met, it was natural for us to collaborate because he was doing underground events for art and culture and so were we. We (the Jersey City-affiliated artists) often play at Green Villain events. For instance, me, Joey Anderson, DJ Spider, Nicuri have all played for Green Villain. Now Green Villain spun off a label called Green Village (https://soundcloud.com/green-village) which is run by Greg and two other DJs Em-Et and J Hilla. I released an EP there in August 2015 called “Iron Jungle,” there is a V/A coming soon with tracks from me, Nicuri, and DJ Spider. DJ Spider will release an EP on Green Village as well. Greg is the curator and producer of events and concepts and we are all artists working together contributing to our local scene. Most of us are playing together at an event over the Labor Day holiday weekend here in USA: https://www.facebook.com/events/1501261463498531/
7: Internationally you’re recognized not only as an emerging star of the NY sound, but as a woman the industry tends to give it some “wow” factor, as if women aren’t as competent or able as men to do the things they do. Do you feel sometimes discriminated abroad by men? What irks you the most about the industry at this point and time?
I feel I’ve addressed this in the question about Sound Warrior. The thing of women in the industry is very complex and there are people who have discussed it much better than I could in this short space, for instance, in this very interesting interview with Patti Schmidt, one of the curators of Mutek (http://www.femmecult.com/sound/interview-with-mutek-curator-patti-schmidt/). I am grateful for whatever attention I get for my music and/or DJing and I love going abroad and sharing my vibe with others. I love DJing and am happy whenever I get the opportunity to do so.
8: Continuing on international relations, you have a short European tour coming up, with big dates such as at Concrete (Vanguard Sound! Night http://www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?745693) is this your first time abroad? If not, what do you hope to accomplish this time around?
This will be my third tour overseas. Each time I learn more and hopefully improve my ability to connect and communicate to the people in front of me. I hope to accomplish fun gigs with good vibes where everyone dances, meeting new people, and making connections. This is how we keep this thing growing, now that the house and techno thing is so international and global, the club family isn’t just your Friday night darkbox but literally all over the world.
9: Your latest EPs are out now, (Iron Jungle EP on Green Village US)- http://www.juno.co.uk/products/dakini9-iron-jungle-ep/574872-01/
Nepenthe EP on Plan B Recordings US – http://undergroundquality.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_music_info&cPath=6&products_id=147#.Vd4dPbXIGYA
Can you tell us about them? Your creative process? Did you use old machines or computers or a mixture of both? What kind of textures and sounds did you use to create the sensations that these EP’s give us? What did you want to convey through your music?
I use digital and analog methods in all my productions. The Iron Jungle EP was made at a time I had just returned from Costa Rica, a beautiful and pristine jungle journey. Feeling a lot emotionally like I do whenever I’m in Latin America, enjoying the warmth of the culture, the people, and the land, returning to the cold, competitive, grey landscape of urban America, and in particular Jersey City and New York City was a culture shock. So these tracks are about that. There are field recordings of my time in Costa Rica inserted into these tracks.
Nepenthe is a mix of old and new tracks, some tracks that I’d had on my Soundcloud forever (namely “Strawman”) that I was so happy to get out. Also “Find Myself” is a special track for me because I got this vocal from Danny Watts, who is in Houston, Texas doing underground hip-hop. I randomly found him and now I’m so happy to see him starting to tour, release an LP, and getting more attention He’s so talented. My life is very magical and synchronous that way. I attract people and situations into my life sort of like breadcrumbs, follow this path. All of it is organic. So Nepenthe is material I’ve wanted to release for a long time and it finally came together. It’s a special EP for me.
10: The final question we always leave it as a blank for the artist to use as a space to communicate directly with our readers and fans. Anything you want to say? Projects for the future? What can we expect from you in the coming months? A trip to S. America maybe? 😉
I would love to tour South America. When I first started DJing, there was no interest in South America for deep electronic music, at least none that I knew of. In the first waves of the internet, in my research, it seemed like trance was the popular electronic music in most of South America. I see that is totally changing now and there are deep scenes in Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, etc. I hope that this mix will reach people in those countries and they will invite me to play! No language barrier Un gran beso, amigos!
There is a fifth Sound Warrior release coming soon, a V/A that I will be on for Green Village, more podcasts, and more releases. I have a lot of work to do!
All the music on this podcast is from my first degree circle: people on my labels Plan B Recordings, Sound Warrior, or from my people in the Vanguard Sound crew, or released on other labels but made by people in my first degree circle.
DJ Spider – Post-Human
Dakini9 – Delphinus
Kuru – Black Moon Lillith (Joey Anderson Remix)
Courage – Mildred
Hakim Murphy – Ctl Alt Dlt
Guerrila Soul – Into the Woods
Jenifa Mayanja – Night Walker
Dakini9 – Potentiation
Dakini9 – Driftwould
Chris Mitchell – Eurinome
Destination Void – 1111
Lilith – Shadow Boxing
Chris Mitchell – Lonely Nights (Dakini9 Remix)
DJ Spider – My Phoenix Rise
Finally, The Smoke Sessions team would like to thank you so much for taking the time to share some of your life and experiences with us. I hope to someday see you soon in Argentina; you will always have a place here amongst our crew. Thank you!