(Extended Mix): Lakuti

The mix was not made with the intention of making people dance but rather to take a moment and reflect on what is happening right now and to hopefully move forward to a better way.

A three-plus hour (Extended Mix) from South Africa-born, Berlin based polymath and dance floor doyenne Lakuti – DJ, booking agent and label owner (as head of Uzuri), and co-founder of the London parties ‘Sud Electronic’ (with Portable, until its end in 2011) and ‘Your Love’ (with Tama Sumo). She has curated a mix that promotes introspection over dancing, mirroring her own anger and sadness during this time, while also “serving as something to reflect upon as well as heal.”

(Extended Mix) is a new charitable series that celebrates all-night specialists and more simple, carbon-friendly lineups. Instead of paying on the door for this extended experience, we invite listeners to donate to the DJ directly while their gigs are cancelled, or to a chosen charity. To pass on your gratitude, please direct to Lakuti using the Paypal email lakuti@gmx.de, or head to Women in Exile for her chosen charity donation.

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download all mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid. Read more about our decision here.

First off, how have the last few weeks been for you since George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent protests round the world? Are there any resounding thoughts or reflections that you’d like to share?

It’s been an extremely hard time emotionally with the continuing murders of Black people in the USA. The truth of the matter is, this is nothing new and what has been happening is widespread and it goes beyond the USA. Being poor and black in Brazil has resulted in a devastating amount of Black lives lost due to Covid19 and Bolsonaro’s anti blackness and unwillingness to deal with the pandemic. Black lives continue to be lost in the Mediterranean Sea as a result of the European Union’s deadly policy of looking the other way and not offering assistance to people who are running away from war torn countries – wars that they have not played a part in, and have no stake in, as well as climate change. There are too many black boys who have died under ‘suspicious ‘ circumstances whilst in police custody in the UK. There is the shameful Grenfell situation. There is the  terrible matter of the Windrush scandal – betrayal of black people who came to help build Britain to what it is now. How these people were then treated, has led to some losing their lives. Look at the devastating situation during this pandemic in my birth country – South Africa – with 11 black people dying from police brutality. There is literally nowhere to hide and find peace whilst occupying a black body .

For a lot of the music industry, it feels like a watershed moment in the support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but there’s a lot of work still to do in converting this into genuine action and change. What do you think impactful support looks like, and what are your hopes for the industry in making the most of this moment to completely restructure?

For too long Black artistry has been put to the back burner with the erasure that has been prevalent from within the music industry, especially within electronic music. At any given time you would be hard pressed to find  work by Black artists getting the coverage it deserves in most of the current dominant electronic music press. A very limited number of black DJs were being booked in clubs. Often black artistry has had to exist from within a narrow framework dictated by a white male vision. Techno has been tainted what with its commercialisation in the last 10 years. As a result, black contribution  has been erased from within the genre, often violently, and the political ethos that came with the genre and its Black Roots has become something to vilify.

The way forward is to reimagine the dance floor as a place with limitless and bountiful possibilities where DJs and musicians can be free to push the boundaries. We need more forward thinking bookers in clubs and music lovers beyond what is hip at that given time. We need to reimagine techno for the genre to be exciting and progressive again. We need to push music again in clubs rather than the narrow vision of trends. We need to see visible changes such as more Black women as club bookers for examples, as well as Trans Women, queers, as well as straights. We all have a part to play and all of our contribution matters. No more celebration of ego and machismo. All of the structures from within the industry need to be diversified starting from the top to the bottom. We need Black voices and POC voices in general to be amplified .

Thank you for recording an Extended Mix for us. Could you tell us about your idea for the mix and how you found the recording process?

When I was approached to do the mix I already felt that it needed to reflect upon what is currently happening in general around us . This was before the murder of George Floyd, Breona Taylor and Tony McDade. After the murders I felt it to be even more imperative that the mix had to be political in some way as well as hopefully serve as something to reflect upon as well as heal. The mix was not made with the intention of making people dance but rather to take a moment and reflect on what is happening right now and to hopefully move forward to a better way. I also needed to channel the anger and sadness that I felt into something positive. The music is both old and new to also emphasise the point that these issues we are currently facing are not new. Black voices have been sending the signal out via their music for the longest of time .

Could you talk us through a few significant standouts from the set?

I am very excited to feature two pieces by the wonderful Jamika Ajalon an American poet, musician, writer and activist, who is currently based in Paris. I look forward to working with them in the near future on Uzuri. The mix opener is taken from one of the most revolutionary experimental film from 1989, Tongues Untied. An experimental documentary film directed by Marlon Riggs. The mix also features works by the brilliant free jazz outfit Art Ensemble of Chicago, Brother Aah, Janelle Monae feat. Jidenna, The Last Poets, Julion De’Angelo and many more.

Where’s been your favourite place to play an all-night set, and why?

I’ve really enjoyed  playing from start to the finish at The London parties ‘Your Love’ that both Tama Sumo and I  have been putting on the last five years. It meant that we could direct how the night would go musically and really set the tone.  I also have great memories of doing an all nighter with Tama Sumo at one of our favourite havens, Hot Mass, at their signature queer events Honcho, in Pittsburgh, a couple of years ago .

Who are some of your favourite all-night specialists, and why?

Ron Trent, Theo Parrish, Tama Sumo, Marcellus Pittmann. ALL the DJs mentioned have a huge and rich collection and are musically open and for me that makes for a rather interesting extended set.

By celebrating DJs with a penchant for all-night sets, the (Extended Mix) series hopes to encourage a more stripped back, carbon-friendly approach to lineup curation. Reducing our footprint as a globalised underground community is a big challenge post-lockdown, and we hope progress can be made through sharing our experiences. Are there any thoughts you’d like to add to the discussion?

I would certainly support a more stripped down approach and an emphasis on a coherent and quality approach to music and to see an end to DJs travelling in private jets .

We now premiere all our mixes a week early on Mixcloud. Subscribe to our channel to listen first, download all mixes, and ensure that the artists included in each one gets paid. Read more about our decision here.

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