Olugbenga is coming to SA for Park Acoustics and speaks to us!
How is is that? UK producer Olugbenga Adelekan is heading to our shores and will be rocking out at Park Acoustics! We got to speak with him about the performance and all beings being an African expat and music and bass and bands and new stuff!
Richard Chemaly (RC): Straaaight outta Lagos and settled in the UK, via the Hague…welcome to South Africa (we understand it’s you’re first time). We have these guys called Goldfish who produce and play instruments. I’ve heard your mixes and seen videos of you rocking bass for Metronomy. I’ve never seen you do both at once though. How good is your musical live multitasking?
Olugbenga (O): Hello there! Yes, I’ve been hoping to make it out to South Africa for a while, especially as I’ve been playing a lot of SA producers (Spoko, Manyelo, Jumping Back Slash, Rudeboyz, etc) in my DJ sets. The three shows I’m doing are all gonna be in quite different settings (one private party, one festival, one bar/club), so I think I’ll see different sides of the nightlife.
To answer your question, though… if you mean do I ever play bass when I’m DJing or doing an electronic music show, no, that’s not something I do. The main reason is just the consistency of the sound. I like to have control, and when I’m out DJing or doing an electronic set, it’s always just me on my own playing stuff from my computer. I might have a bunch of MIDI control surfaces and keyboards, but everything is running through Ableton Live. I’ve found adding in live bass is just one variable too many.
Plus, it’s easier to travel around without a bass!
What I’ll be doing at Park Acoustics is a DJ set, though, so musically it’ll be a big mix.
RC: It’s becoming increasingly common for younger generations to enter vocations which are not directly linked to their academic careers…but you dude. You Studied literature at Cambridge. Is that something you apply to your music, something you’ve completely abandoned or something you’re pursuing on the side. If you have abandoned it partially, is it pretty liberating?
O: Well, I still write essays and articles occasionally, so I get to use the literary part of my brain from time to time. And the analytical skills I developed studying literature do get used in my music. Plus, my proper start in music came through people that I met at Cambridge. So the music and literature are intertwined, really. I don’t think I can ever have one without the other. I was singing before I could talk because I came from a musical family, but I was writing short stories from the age of about 8 – well before I started dabbling in writing music.
RC: Your discography hasn’t been updated significantly in a few years. Have you been too busy touring or is some big release imminent?
O: I have been pretty busy touring with Metronomy, but then my wife had a baby. So I’ve been busy being a dad too. I made the decision to split childcare with my wife 50/50 so she could go back to work properly. And then, before you know it, we’re starting to get back into Metronomy-land.
Plus, I spent some time working more on production and songwriting for other artists rather than pushing my solo project. The most notable thing to come out of that is a track I co-produced on the new Solange Knowles album.
So no big OLUGBENGA release coming, but there are remixes and other bits and pieces on the horizon for 2017.
RC: You’ve been all over the world but you’re also new to SA. Firstly, what took you so long. More importantly, what are you most keen on checking out on our side of the woods?
O: I think the reason it’s taken so long is that it’s hard to fit South Africa into a normal touring schedule if you’re based in Europe. I wish that the infrastructure was there so that doing a whole African leg of a tour was a viable thing. It’s my hope that within my lifetime I’ll see it become a normal thing for artists from all over the world to spend significant time touring all over Africa. But the reality right now is that for most artists it’s hard to make the financial side of it work.
Now that I finally have some show booked, though… I’m most excited about just getting out and meeting other creative people in fashion, film, literature and of course music. I want to talk to as many people as possible, start to make personal links with people. That to me is still the gold standard for human interaction – connecting on Twitter or Instagram is an okay start, but it’s no substitute for chatting to someone over a drink.
RC: Working with so many artists as you have, have any of them who have been given you any tips about performing for SA audiences? What is would your approach be?
O: Haven’t had any tips yet… my brother Seye was over with The Very Best and Mumford and Sons earlier in the year, but the shows they were doing were very different.
I think my approach is always the same whether I’m DJing in a small town in Russia, a bar in Mali or a festival in Scotland – I never play music that I don’t personally love just because I know (or think I know) it’ll get a big response. But I also try and read the crowd wherever I am – if the energy level drops when I bring in a certain tune, then I have no qualms about mixing straight out of it and trying something else.
So, it’s a balance. That’s the mental challenge of DJing that I love. It’ll be a fun trip – I’m going to make sure of that!