garçons: an afropunk dj mix
October 18, 2019
The Canadian duo Garçons is made up of the Nigerian-born singer-songwriter Deelo and his Ontario-born partner, the producer Julian Strangelove. The music they make tips its hat to everything from garage-rock, to leftfield soul, to the West African highlife — but all of it is indebted to the notion of rhythm, and deeply in love with song-form. Their wonderful new seven-song EP, the self released Be Human, fluidly moves from style to style, but all of is hooky like a motherf*cker.
They apparently also like hooks in their dance music, because the DJ mix that Garçons made for AFROPUNK is, like, hit after hit — sexy-ass fun for the weekend. We’ll let them tell you about it — and about themselves.
What are your names and ages? Where are you from? What instruments do you play – or what do you do in the group?
Deelo Avery, Julian Strangelove. Born before 2000s. We both exist on a planet called Earth and reside in Canada, We both play the instrument of life; music, love.
Talk a little bit about how the two of you met and decided to start a band. What did you bond over? What kind of music did you agree you both wanted to make?
Deelo: We met at a mutual friend’s house. The house was a hub. People rolled through, creating and networking. We happened to both be present at the studio one night and kept in touch. We love music and most especially the freedom you can afford yourself, if you are willing, when creating. That’s what we bond over. Our music. We make it how we want.
Julian: I think the best part was that there wasn’t any particular style of music we were trying to make. And it’s still that way these days. It’s much easier to let the song lead you wherever it wants to go, instead of you forcing the song into a box. Letting go of expectations and putting the feeling first is what we bond over.
What are your favorite things about where you are from? Especially when it comes to Black culture of where you are from.
Deelo: I’m from Nigeria, I was not “black” until I was taught I was “black”. In Nigeria nobody cares about your skin.
Julian: For me, I love the people. We’re not afraid of change and we stand up for what we believe is right. Because of Canada I have friends from all around the world, and I’m very proud of that.
If there was one or two core thoughts or ideas that you want your music to convey, what are they?
We both feel the same about this. It’s important for our music to be as real and raw as it can be. That’s about it. We try to let the music flow through us, rather than force it to exist. There’s no superimposed message. We just want to make great music that’s real to who we are.
Do you DJ regularly? Talk a little bit about your DJ roots and influences, and what DJ culture or non-live-music-playing culture means to you.
Deelo: We are starting to get into it. Julian has DJed in the past so he definitely knows his way around the deck. I am starting to get the hang of it. I like the new age DJs. I go dancing quite a bit, so I’m very familiar with how DJs spin.
Julian: I love the underground house music culture. It’s never been about playing hits or whatever is on the radio. It’s about staying true to the rhythm and taking people on a journey. The sun goes down and people gather from everywhere to dance. It’s very spiritual, almost tribal in a way. We’ve been doing for thousands of years.
Talk a little bit about the mix. What’s on it and what did you want to achieve with it?
Julian: There are different generations of music we draw inspiration from, so there’s a long list of songs we would have liked to play. But we did our best to stay true to the art of DJing and played songs that felt right in the moment. DJing is about conducting the room with a feeling. Whatever song can push that feeling further or introduce something new is what should be played next. The audience trusts you, and you’re in control of their emotions. That’s the responsibility you have.
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