007 - Philou Louzolo
On his Soundcloud page, Amsterdam based producer & DJ Philou Louzolo’s bio reads simply - ‘’All good music is ultimately African music’’. It doesn’t take long to hear what Philou is talking about when you listen to his sets. Combining his passion for house and funk music with heavy influences from Africa, Philou has been making waves of late with his recent jams. His latest releases for Banoffee Pie Records and TINK! Music, as well as playing sets all around Europe, including his own night 'Hotel Tropique' at Club Canvas, Amsterdam, show his growing stature in the industry. Long may that rise continue.
Louzolo has a combination of Congolese, Nigerian and Sierra Leonian heritage and it is in these roots that he has built his sound. His passion for the continent of his ancestors is fervent and his Afrifuturism project challenges commonly held preconceptions about Africa, displaying African music and culture in a more approachable format. It’s a mission statement that Métron Musik supports unequivocally.
I am delighted to present his wonderful contribution to the Métron Musik Mixtape series, an hour long voyage through his own Afro-house kaleidoscope.
I had a quick chat with Philou this week about his musical influences and the cultural significance of Africa in modern music.
JH: Hey Philou, thanks so much for contributing a mix to the series, it’s a fantastic addition. I’m a big fan of African and Afro-inspired music, it’s interesting to see that you think all good music is ultimately African. Can you explain a little about how you see the influence of African musical culture on contemporary music?
PL: To acknowledge African influences in contemporary music, it’s necessary to know something about traditional African music in the context of its culture and how dance music travelled and evolved throughout history. There are some main elements in almost every music style that can be traced back to its origins. Africa is the mother of civilization and the birthplace of rhythm, so traditional African music gave birth to all of these different music genres. Every kind of groove that makes you wanna shake your behind wouldn't be here without the existence of African music. Here's a nice infographic that visualizes my thoughts on this matter perfectly:
JH:Your roots are from different regions of Africa, both West African and Central African cultures. Musically speaking how do these regions differ in sound?
PL: People from Congo claim that there is no specific term for Congolese music. "Muziki Na Bisa" (our music) was a term Congolese musicians used until the late 70's. Some say that Soukous is one of the first and most popular and documented Congolese dance music since colonization. However, our knowledge of African musical history is mostly based on our European point of view, so specific details about its history before colonization can be a bit flawed.
Although there are many different varieties of music in Africa, there's a number of similarities to the sub-Saharan region. The values of West African music are tightly connected to its dancing culture, so it's the groove that identifies sub-Saharan music from music up north. Although music from Mali has a total different sound than its neighbouring country Nigeria and of course, there are many more differences between the sound of each country and different regions.
JH: Who are your biggest musical influences?
PL: Musicians/producers: Fela Kuti, Orchestre Poly Rythmo, Boddhi Satva, Ron Trent, Moodymann.
DJ's: Joe Claussell, Sadar Bahar.
JH: You talk about 'Afrifuturism' challenging Western perceptions on African culture - can you explain a bit about the project?
PL: The project came into existence because I felt a lot of inner frustration about how we in Europe approach Africa and its diverse cultures. There are too many negative stereotypes. I think the cause is an overall lack of historical knowledge about Africa in Europe. Education is mostly given from a Western point of view, which in my opinion can never be truly objective considering Europe's complex and horrible history with Africa. A lot of great things happened in Africa before slavery and there are still great, positive developments going on in the present day. Why not focus more on positive vibes instead of focussing on poverty, war and diseases? We Europeans don't want our glory days in history to be downgraded either.
I want to contribute to the cause of keeping African and black heritage alive. Art and music are both nice tools to re-educate people. My main goal is to make people more aware of where it all came from, so that we can finally start giving Africa credit for it's cultural contribution to the world and for pioneering different kinds of cultural art forms, including music. It will bring people together when we're able to see how much we've got in common instead of how much we differ from one another. So in order for us to live together, we need to have a honest account of our African history. This message is hidden in the music I create and play.
Afrifuturism is like Afrocentric propaganda.
JH: Finally can you recommend us and the listeners a couple of records they may not have heard but most certainly should have?
PL: 1.WizKid - Expensive Shit
2.WizKid - Ojuelegba
WizKid and I share our love for Africa and African musical heroes. His way of presenting Africa through music, even though the industry he's in differs so much from the one I am in, somehow makes me indentify with this African icon in the making.
These tracks are an example of how African music will continue to shape Western pop and dance trends in the background, the same way African music has done in the past. I give WizKid my support because he has the potential to reach an enormous audience; he will generate fans all over the world and show them Africa's hot. WizKid is the prime example of a African success story for adolescents. He contributes to the battling of stereotypes and negative framing effects of Africa in the West.
3. Edikanfo - Kna Bom
4. Moussa Doumbia - Samba
5. Band Sauti Popote - Adam Na Hawa
JH: I will be sure to check all of these out. Thanks again for your contribution to the series,
The original artwork below was created exclusively for the mixtape by Jack Hardwicke.