UE.31: Philou Louzolo presents 'Afrigalactic'
While the dance music world descends on Amsterdam for ADE this weekend, the nearby city of Rotterdam will also be buzzing with the arrival of Afrofuturism Now!
A new event run by multimedia arts centre and creative space WORM, Afrofuturism Now! has put together a host of events that will focus on cutting-edge and science fiction culture coming out of the black diaspora. It’s co-curated by one of the leading thinkers in Afrofuturism, Rasheedah Phillips (founder of Philadelphia community The Afrofuturist Affair), who has put together a lineup of sci-fi and documentary film screenings, literary discussions and, of course, a big old party or two with Philly polymath King Britt and bacardi house producer DJ Spoko amongst the lineups.
Rotterdam based DJ-producer Philou Louzolo, who delivered an impeccably funky mix for us earlier this year, is taking care of business too with a new night, dubbed Afrigalactic, for which he’s enlisted fellow space cadets Wendel Sield, D-Ribeiro, Taylan Alan & Afrobot.
We caught up with Philou to talk us through the weekend’s festivities and he’s also kindly put together an exclusive mix for us of some of his funky afrofuturist material. Stream or download his groovy concoction below. Tracklist at the bottom.
So Philou, tell us about your involvement with Afrofuturism Now! this weekend.
Worm asked me to host and organize a small club night during day two of the festival because they were looking for someone who fitted in their program and knew the in and outs of the Afrofuturism culture. I recently started my Afrifuturism project, which is a spinoff of Afrofuturism. The night’s called Afrigalactic and it refers to a party on a imaginary planet of my Afrifuturism universe where all African and Afro American rooted modern music is combined with more traditional African music. For this night I invited some of my favorite local talents like, D-Ribeiro, Taylan Alan, Afrobot and Wendel Sield. All guys who respect the origin and the roots of house music from an African perspective.
What does the notion of Afrofuturism represent to you, in the context of a club night?
Afrofuturism mostly represents imaginary science fiction combined with Non Western cosmology.
While most Afrofuturism art is based on Fantasy and sci-fi, I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot about African and black history by digging into Afrofuturism. For me, Afrofuturism is also a cultural movement that rejects typical Western ideology’s, this part I like the most. I grew up in Europe, so my knowledge of African history was mostly based on Western education, which in my opinion is still mostly based on narrow minded colonial thoughts.
You can approach African history in different ways and contexts, in Europe we mostly focus on poverty, corruption and slavery, but rarely dig deeper to explore Africa’s glory days before slavery and colonization. We rarely speak of West African kingdoms and civilizations that existed long before European civilizations. We rarely speak of Africa’s cultural contribution to the world. Or how we majorly consume African culture in fashion, art or music without being aware of it.
The contribution of different African cultural trends to the Western culture is big, but being underestimated, and there’s no harm in sharing this knowledge to challenge negative stereotypes. Afrofuturism is a creative and effective way to introduce black culture to the Western world, sharing those historical facts from a non-Western point of view in art, music and fashion. I’m trying to do this with my music, so my ideal club night is based on this principle.
How has your West African heritage influenced your listening habits? And your attitude to the dance floor?
Africa is a continent with a lot of diversity, also West African culture has a lot of variation to offer when it comes to music. Most of the music I play or listen can be traced back to West Africa. For me Afrobeat is the most effective genre to introduce West African music to European culture, it’s groovy and full of positive vibes combined with political and spiritual messages that are still relevant today. This way of sharing political, spiritual or cultural messages influenced my way of making, playing and listening to music as well.
Tell us about your new Afrifuturism project – is that your interpretation of the wider concept?
Yeah, it’s my own version of Afrofuturism. I mainly focus on challenging negative stereotypes from Africa in Western culture by making African culture approachable through music. I’m currently releasing some new material, the concept of my music within this project is mainly focused on introducing my West African roots to Western dance floors. My main goal is to share my knowledge of West African music and culture in order to expose my view on Africa to the Western world in a more positive and open minded way than mainstream Western media does. I want people to know where their modern music came from, how it came into existent and how traditional African music is the mother of mostly every modern popular music genre that exists in the current present. A lot of music (if not all music) of today can be traced back to traditional African music.
I hope the scene will somehow educate people more about the evolution of music and the history of popular music to show people where it all started and how traditional African music travelled all the way from Africa to America during slavery and how it all slowly developed in Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Rock ’n Roll, Soul, Funk, Disco and eventually House and Techno. I think that sharing this kind of knowledge will eventually bring different cultures closer to each other in and outside nightlife.
Where can we hear some of your new material in this vein?
I’ve made an “own material” podcast for Afrigalactic, which includes some old material, and a few snippets from my forthcoming releases on Lumberjacks In Hell, TINK! Music and Times Are Ruff.
Tickets for Afrigalactic and the rest of the Afrofuturist Now! programme are available here. Image credit: Raymond Van Mill.
Philou Louzolo – Zolo Grooves EP – Konkombe (TINK! Music)
Philou Louzolo – Zolo Grooves EP – Dem No Dance, Dem No See (TINK!
Philou Louzolo – Afrifuturism EP – Mali Baba (TINK! Music)
Philou Louzolo – Afrifuturism EP – Ngaa Ngaa (TINK! Music)
Philou Louzolo – Various Artist EP – Afrifuturism Movement (Banoffee Pies)
Philou Louzolo – Afrifuturism EP – Iyami Aye (TINK! Music)
Philou Louzolo – Various Artist EP – Elevator’s Symphonette (Times Are Ruff)
Easy To Remember – Smokey Philou Louzolo Remix (Rebirth Records)
Philou Louzolo – Zolo Grooves EP – Marlena (TINK! Music)
Philou Louzolo – Kinshasa Anthem (Lumberjacks In Hell)