(Extended Mix): Afrodeutsche

“I decided to go with tracks that made me think, tracks that I had wanted to play in clubs but didn’t have the courage, and somehow share a subtle message.”

A four hour mix of shapeshifting electronics from Manchester-based DJ producer and NTS Radio resident Afrodeutsche. Known for her meticulous live sets and crafting haunting and emotive electro, since the release of her debut album in 2018 on the acclaimed Skam Records, and her subsequent EP launching Eclair Fifi’s River Rapid imprint, she’s been going from strength to strength.

(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. For this one Afrodeutsche has picked Tear Fund, who are currently focusing on funds for coronavirus hit refugee camps in war-torn countries. 

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

First off, how have you been finding lockdown? What has been the biggest challenge and more positive outcome you’ve experienced through extended time at home? 

Confusing… It began in utter confusion and quite a lot of sadness. I live alone and became sick with Covid only two weeks after going into lockdown. 

I didn’t want to tell anyone (didn’t want to worry anyone) and behaved in my usual completely independent way, but quickly realised I needed the support of my friends and family. 

I think the biggest challenge for me was feeling guilt for not being able to support my friends. Many of us struggle with mental health and trying to balance my own with the guilt of not being able to support my friends was really tough, but wonderfully I’ve been able to pull through and get a real hold on it. I’m clearing away the guilt that had set in so deeply. I felt that even with everything that is going on, I simply had no choice but to be positive about life. I’ve been blessed with the chance to build a new relationship with my family, particularly my mother, something I would never have dreamed of. 

Thanks for recording an extended mix for us. How did you find the recording process? 

I actually really enjoy recording, I enjoy trying to do things in one take… This however proved to be too big a task…. I ended up recording in 4 sections, which worked out well as I figured out some new techniques I’ll be using in the future. As always I like to have a level of wonkiness in my sets/mixes! 

How did you approach the mix? Did you have an idea in mind beforehand? Was there much pre-planning or did you just trust your instincts? 

I’ve alway been pretty unconventional when it comes to DJing and making mixes, the mix began a few months before finishing. I’d been collecting lots of different tracks and playing with them, moving them around, but found each time I went to record something my mood had changed, and I wasn’t happy with it. I finally landed on about 8 hours of music to select from… I decided to go with tracks that made me think, tracks that I had wanted to play in clubs but didn’t have the courage, and somehow share a subtle message. 

Could you talk us through a couple standouts from set? 

I think good examples of how quickly my mood changes are in these tracks… 

Avant L’enlisement – Caravelli is really early on in the mix, it sits in the “hip hop sample” part of my brain, and movie score part of my brain. So dark and really urgent! 

Music Is My Life – Andras & Oscar. Exactly… I don’t need to say anymore. 

Sweet Vibrations – DMS & BONEMAN. The end of the set is pure nostalgia for me, I first heard Sweet Vibrations on a cassette comp in 1994! I totally freaked and pretty much listened to it on repeat until my cassette was stolen. True story. 

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

De School basement. DJ Stingray was playing before me and I’d gone down a little earlier to have a dance, instead I found myself sat inside the booth listening and watching him play, he was so good and I felt so lucky to be sat there taking it all in. I was totally inspired, then I went on after… I played literally everything! Hardcore, jungle, ghetto tech, acid. I was on my own the entire night, but it was so much fun, then at 8:30am I said my goodbyes and walked slowly to my hotel room… Buzzin! 

Also, Golden Pudel is very special. I can’t even begin to bore you with how much I love that place and playing there.

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

I really enjoy Solid Blake’s sets, she’s heavy y’kno. I’ve really missed dancing hard to sets from Tom Boogizm and Anz… 

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 massive challenge as we try to rebuild the scene after Covid-19 lockdown, and we hope progression can be forged through sharing our challenges and experiences. Are there any thoughts you’d like to add to the discussion?

Huge question! It’s difficult to know what to do and how to move forward. I’ve been working extremely hard in music for almost 20 years. I think the main thing for me was to accept that the world is a very different place, seriously. I’ve really found that accepting this and not holding onto the old way of doing things has been really important. For my mental health, letting go of the shows and gigs I had booked for 2020, it was set to be something quite special, but the reality is this… The world is in extreme pain, governments across the planet are failing humans so dramatically it’s like living in an over budgeted Hollywood blockbuster. I’m learning that for me, the way I can help, make changes, support and remove this guilt is to support my neighbour. I think change happens when we look closer to home and have empathy and act on that empathy. 

One thing for me that is a constant is music. It’s so powerful. I’ve leant on music to help me process this new existence, I strongly suggest you do the same if you haven’t already. Also, I watched Twin Peaks from beginning to end… Again. Not sure that was a good Idea. Honestly, I can’t figure out how and why every time I watch it IT’S COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

Tell us a bit more about your chosen charity – what work do they do and why is it so important to you? 

Tear Fund is a Christian Charity, much like the Red Cross in the UK. They’ve been a registered charity for years and I think its important to trust how a charity works and distributes their funds. They work all over the world and specifically war-torn countries. 

Since the pandemic, Tear Fund have launched an appeal focusing on funds for coronavirus hit refugee camps in war-torn countries. 

It’s hard to put into words why I want to support them as there are so many reasons. The pandemic has made what was already a dark and desperate situation a more terrifying and complex one.

If you like the mix enough to support Tear Fund please direct donations here.

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.

Photo credit: Kasia Zacharko

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