„If you are not into the music, feel free to leave“ – Renegades Of Jazz im Interview
Renegades Of Jazz is going to release his remix album Moyo Zaidi in the middle of December via Hanover’s Agogo Records!
Lübeck-based David Hanke is currently as busy as a bee producing songs and albums under various monikers. Having spent two and a half years of his childhood in Tanzania because of his parents being development aid workers, his musical path has then been subconsciously pushed into a certain direction already. Moyo Wangu which can be translated as ‘my heart’ has already been his third Renegades Of Jazz album within five years and can be seen as the album he always wanted to do. Containing Afrofunk, Jazz elements and multi-instrumental approaches, the well-received and celebrated album is now going to increase its value even more by having handpicked artists on the remix album tracklist such as Bosq, Chris Read or Paradise Hippies.
As you have spent some years of your childhood in Tanzania, how did these times shape your approach to music?
Well, I always wanted to produce an Afrofunk album as this music somehow reminds me of the time I spent there. I even liked the music before I knew anything about the genre itself, it triggers a sense of belonging in me and gives me a humble feeling. I did not want the album to sound like a classic vintage or modern Afrobeat album, in fact, I wanted to combine Afro sounds with my Breakbeat approach and a decent club feeling. This is how Moyo Wangu came into existance which was released by Agogo Records last year.
What does the country mean to you nowadays?
I visited the country the last time when I was 16 years old but I still have wanderlust of course. I am not the type of person who spends his time in shielded hotel complexes without touching the real atmosphere. I rather want to travel with people through the country and support projects or put my own ones into practice. There are a couple of labels which are digging through old and forgotten African records in huge warehouses and assemble their compilations within a few months. This is something I can relate to. Moreover, there is the Tanzanian Heritage Project that digitalizes thousands of magnetic tapes before they are going to vanish. I have already met some people who are supporting these kinds of musical projects there, I hope that I can put these plans into action anytime soon.
Moyo Wangu has been the third album under your Renegades Of Jazz moniker, Moyo Zaidi will be the corresponding remix album. As it took you over a year to compile it, what kind of thoughts went into the project?
At first, I wanted to make two smaller remix packages with different styles – one with an electronic approach and one with the usual suspects but I ditched the idea and went for a bigger remix album combining both aspects. The fact that so much time passed until the actual release is quite simple to explain. Some remixers jumped off and others took more time than expected. Chris Read‘s Afro Cookie remix for instance was finished very early because it was made directly after finishing the track. Nevertheless, I am extremely happy with the final result. Moyo Zaidi is scheduled as a digital only release but I hope that we can press it on vinyl as well if the sales figures allow it.
How did you select the artists?
Besides asking friends of mine, I wanted to feature some people I admire. What I basically did was just asking all these artists if they want to collaborate with me. Bosq is one of these examples as he perfectly melts House and Breakbeats together. I still love to play his song ‘More Heavy’ in my sets which was released as a single from his very first album. Another artist is Igor Jadranin, I received a promo from him, was directly into it and asked him if he too wanted to participate in the album project. Luckily, he said yes.
One of the most outstanding remixes on Moyo Zaidi is the Paradise Hippies remix for ‘Beneath This African Blue’. It is quite interesting to see that your files also work in a House context with a 4/4-Beat. How was that connection made?
The Paradise Hippies are friends of mine from the time I spent in Hamburg. They recently started a new project together and delivered a nine-minute-long beauty, perfectly made for being played at festivals during summer. A lot of people who received the promotional material beforehand stated that they liked their remix most. I really appreciate the feedback and hope that it will push their project even more. Interestingly, Mark who replayed the brass theme from the original song for the Paradise Hippies remix with his violins later joined my new orchestra project. This is what I especially love about making music, connecting with people, starting projects and working together. Meeting Mark via Norman from the Paradise Hippies was a real bliss, he is an absolute genius when it comes to write string arrangements.
Renegades Of Jazz might be your most famous moniker but you also produce music by different names as well. Why is that and do you sometimes have fear in getting sidetracked?
No, I am not afraid of being mired in different projects. I am always working on several albums at the same time but I am well organised and always know how I want a track to sound by writing down little notes for everything. In fact, I love the variety and the different approaches that come with it. As Renegades Of Jazz is exclusively signed by Agogo Records, I came up with the Dem Juju Poets project for instance where I continue working on the Moyo Wangu sound but with a different name on another label. Moreover, I also feel that I want to produce other music which does not fit with the monikers I already have. My downtempo music project named Keno is one of those examples.
Just recently, you released the first EP by your real name David Hanke. What made you take this quite personal decision?
One year ago, I started my first attempt of producing afro-influenced Deep House. I offered the tracks to some labels in my scene but nobody wanted to release them. I then met André Seiler from Homeless Soul Music who was willing to put the songs out in EP format. Something which is quite uncommon for my scene. He is a great painter and I gave him a picture of the house I was living in with my family in Tanzania. According to ‘Engineer Road’ which means ‘Engira’ in Swahili, one of the tracks is named by the street we were living in at the time. Ironically, I came to the decision that an alias name would not do it justice so I decided to release the songs by my real name altough it is a genre from which I only like particular styles like sampled Jazz arrangements combined with queer sounding beat constructions.
Besides you being a producer, you are a DJ as well. How do you solve the proportion problem between entertaining a crowd and teaching them your understanding of music?
I feel that it is very important to somehow create different vibes during a night and to also provide breaks to breathe. If you play at 140 BPM all the time, you will fail trying to beat that and it will kill the whole party. I know that I sometimes drift away into nerdy territories but I really like that on the other hand. If you are not into the music, then feel free to leave or learn to dance properly. There was one incident which describes my approach really well. I played Drum & Bass for half an hour and I then made a complete change playing a tune which started very mellow with piano accords like a ballad. Everyone seemed confused but there was this one girl coming over to me while blowing kisses into the air because she knew what was about to happen. The song contained different tempos and switched between them. When the other people finally understood the tune, it went completely off.
Are topicality or the medium issues for you?
I would say that half of the songs I play are current tunes and the other half is a bit older. The time frame between 2002 and 2010 has been extremely fruitful for the genre I love spinning the most so I like playing songs from that period. But I also receive tons of superb promotions as well. In my understanding, a good tune is a good tune no matter when it saw the day of light. Regarding the medium, I think that is does not matter at all. Just recently, a friend of mine perfectly put it in a nutshell: „I could also dj with two iphones and a frog organ.“ The selection and how to create a night should therefore be the main focus.
Lastly, what can be expected from you in the future?
Moyo Zaidi will drop in digital format on the 15th of December via Agogo Records. Around The Corner is the name of my Keno project which will also see the day of light via Agogo Records on the 27th January 2018. Plus, there is an Mankoora album planned as well as the Renegades Of Jazz album Nevertheless which is roughly scheduled for autumn 2018. Busy times!
Renegades Of Jazz – Moyo Zaidi (Agogo Records)
VÖ: 15. Dezember 2017; digital
Preorder & Buy
Keno – Around The Corner (Agogo Records)
VÖ: 27. Januar 2018; 12″, CD und digital
Preorder & Buy
Interview: Tim Schulze
Text: Tim Schulze
Fotos: Tim Schnetgoeke
Diese Episode wurde veröffentlicht unter der Creative Commons Lizenz Namensnennung 3.0 Deutschland (CC BY 3.0 DE).