The Sauce got the chance to interview the talented Deejay Suraj. A trendsetter and innovator in his own right, Suraj has a unique take on electronic music. He spoke about his work as well as his most recent release with the enchanting Kato Change.
TS:How do you define the music you are drawn to and produce?
SURAJ:The music I am drawn to and produce can only be defined by my surroundings as I intentionally infuse my surroundings into my music! Best described as contemporary African Electronic Music!
TS: What commonality have you learnt about African music, and musicality from the ‘Sound of Series’?
SURAJ: One thing I’ve learnt about African music and musicality is that the groove and swing doesn’t lie, we have this uniqueness in our rhythms. The most common practice I’ve picked up during Sounds Of and all my other musical projects is that music is definitely a universal language.
TS: In your career you have moved on to work with a select group of local artists including Kato Change on ‘Nyoro’ and with Ayrosh on ‘Njamba’. What influences the music you co-create with these artists?
SURAJ: Thank you for that, I am a huge fan of all the artists I collaborate with. So that is a huge influence as well as the chemistry between us as artists. I think that’s paramount.
TS: How do you balance between production, artistry and deejaying in your music interests, given the fact that you have co-created music releases, and deejay too?
SURAJ: Given that all these mediums revolve around music, the balance eventually finds itself. I constantly try to improve my workflow when making music, slowly developing an amazing team that I can collaborate with on the events side of my business, my record label and showcases as well as work closely with a visual and social media team.
TS: What do you hope to achieve with Gondwana Records?
SURAJ: We (The Team) as Gondwana KE hope to create a platform for genuine and original music and talent to thrive focusing on Kenya & East Africa through music releases, event residencies and showcases around the word and highlight our unique and original sounds.
TS: What is one thing you have learnt about yourself in quarantine?
SURAJ: I’ve learnt that it’s okay to not have every second of your life planned and thought out because sometimes, life has its own plans and sometimes you just have to wing it.
TS: Deejaying to a live audience is a unique experience especially in these COVID times. Looking back, what live set did you enjoy most?
SURAJ: My favorite DJ stream hasn’t been released yet but it’s from my hometown Kisumu and I can’t wait for the world to see it.
TS: On your day off, what music do you listen to?
SURAJ: During free time in quarantine I have been listening to Oumou Sangare’s 2020 Acoustic Album. New Tom Misch record and Winyo’s classic album Benga Blues.
TS: What can fans expect from your set at Nairobi Thrift Social?
SURAJ: My set on Sunday will definitely consist of a few songs from my #SazileEP with Kato Change & Winyo as well as upcoming and staples from our record label Gondwana KE.
TS: What’s planned for 2021?
SURAJ: Who knows? Another thing the pandemic has taught me is to try and take it a day at a time and hope for the best.
Link To Stream Nyoro here.
To see Suraj live at the Nairobi Thrift Social stage get your tickets here.