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Clown & Sunset Interview- Soul Keita

Soul Keita is young, with only 17 years to him, but you would never guess when listening to his Ethiopian infused music. Soul Keita utilises both an old 808 drum machine and a selection of traditional Ethiopian instruments to make his unique mark on Clown & Sunset. It’s like nothing you’ve heard and it’s amazing! We have a free download at the bottom of the post, but first read the interview with this truly unique musician to find the passion behind the beat.

PlanetNotion: How would you describe your music?

Soul Keita: I don’t think I would. My songs try to reimagine Ethiojazz, but that style of music is too difficult to describe with words. My description wouldn’t do it justice, but I will say a major influence upon my music is Mulatu Astatke. Lately, I’ve been listening to his songs like “Nètsanèt” from the early 1970s over and over.

PN: What’s been exciting your eyes and ears the most in the last month?

SK: A friend bought me the Stax Records back catalogues for my birthday, and I’ve been almost addicted since. Growing up abroad, I was not familiar with the American musical canon until more recently. I also hunted down some Ennio Morricone scores on vinyl as well. I have a record player, but I bought a grammaphone to help capture the grandeur of his imagination.

PN: How’d you get involved with Clown & Sunset?

SK: Nico, Nikita and I first knew each other in Mexico almost seven years ago. We weren’t very fond of each other upon first impression, but our affection for music brought us together. After we departed a few days later, we began sharing our music with one another on the internet. We grew into making music together, and decided to form Clown & Sunset to share it with you.

PN: How’d you approach playing live?

SK: If I’m in the United States or Europe, I usually play alone. I rely upon a 1982 808, inherited from my father, my laptop and a miniKORG700s if I have room. At home, it’s a completely different situation. I perform with local musicians, friends mostly from Addis Ababa. It’s much more of a jam session than European-style techno parties. We layer percussion live, so it sounds much better.

PN: Anyone you’d really like to collaborate with in the future?

SK: I think I would enjoy collaborating with a group of musicians from Colombia. Quantic put out a compilation of classic music from Colombia called Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & The Big Band Cumbia and Descarga Sound. That is a collection of older songs, but there are still some great players there, particularly in Calí, that I would be humbled to record with. I also keep up with many of the artists on Stones Throw in Los Angeles. A collaboration with any of them would be fun.

PN: What can we expect from your upcoming releases?

SK: I recently moved from Addis to Paris, so it’s been tough to make music for the last little bit. But I just began working on a new EP, which I hope to turn into an album. In the meantime, I am building Clown & Sunset while Nico is on tour and Nikita is producing, and also leading off a new series of mixes from the label.

Soul Keita feat Nicolas jaar Ojos Cerraditos

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