Photo: Claudia Kent (Lady Blacktronika)
Akua Grant alias Lady Blacktronika is virtually unstoppable. Having released a slew of EPs this year, she is currently preparing a massive remix bundle on her own Sound Black label to celebrate its sixth birthday. She’s also a tireless DJ whose sets reflect her impressive knowledge of all things dance music. Her mix for our Groove podcast is a live recording of a sweaty night in Berlin’s Sameheads at one of the nights hosted by the Hot Pony collective, comprising Disco tunes from the 70s. Read our interview with Lady Blacktronika and listen to her mix below.
You have put out four releases in the first half of this year already, which is rather impressive considering that you’re very active as a DJ and label owner as well. How does your working process look like?
I generally am always working on music. It’s my passion so I spend the most time doing that, especially after parties at the end of the weekend. I get inspired by what i hear and experience.
Apart from three digital releases through your own Sound Black Records, there’s also a remix package in two parts featuring 29 tracks coming our way. How did you choose the remixes and how do you relate to the people who made them?
Well, I can answer this basically in one, they remixes were made my friends and family of the label. I knew I could trust the sound of the people I asked, there wasn’t much more of a selection process beyond that.
How does the double compilation represent the label’s sound, or what would you say is Sound Black generally all about?
I wouldn’t say the compilation necessarily represents the label in any one particular way. It was just a great way for me to celebrate the existence of the label through reimaginings of the tracks released on the label over the past 6 years. In fact it was meant to be only 5 years but there were delays. The focus of the label however is just music I find has an emotional quality I can stand behind.
Your mix for us was recorded live at the Hot Pony event series at Berlin’s Sameheads. Can you tell us a bit about your connections to Hot Pony and the evening itself?
I’ve only recently met the guys from Hot Pony, but they knew I had a passion for disco music. This had been in the works for almost a year I think.
Why did you go for a 70s Disco set and what do the songs you’ve played that night mean to you?
I just love love love disco and the 70s of course is the quintessential decade of disco. Plus I love how the music back then didn’t have to take itself so damn seriously.
Disco has become increasingly popular again with a lot of young artists sampling, editing and DJing Disco music. Why is that genre and subculture still – or: again – relevant in 2016?
Uh? I think disco is timeless, it just can’t be killed.
What many people don’t realise however is that Disco was heavily political in the sense that it provided a community for people who were oppressed in the US, among them mostly queer people and people of colour. Does Disco continue to be a political statement 40 years on? Or might there be a chance that it is being appropriated and whitewashed again?
I can’t really answer that question. I am just happy it’s still relevant. I think most music is not political these days. I don’t even think it was political in its heyday. It’s only in retrospect we find it had political meaning. I think that at the time it was just living music that people were celebrating finally being able to live to. It’s similar today in the way that house music and techno have done for people.
Stream: Lady Blacktronika – Groove Podcast 62
Unfortunately, the download is currently only possible via Soundcloud with a registered account.
01. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Bad Luck (A Dimitri From Paris Disco Re-Edit)
02. Bombers 2 – (Everybody) Get Dancing
04. Show Bizz – I’m Gonna Live Till I Die
05. Brenda Mitchell – I’m Running
06. Tangerué – Everynight, Everyday
07. Gaz – Boogie Woman
08. Joanne Wilson – Got To Have You
09. El Coco – Afrodesia
10. Phreek – I’m A Big Freak (R-U-1-2)
11. Bonnie Tyler – Married Men
12. Les Models – Help Me, This Guy Is Crazy
13. Cesario Magnifique – Bam Edit/Belle Epoque – Bamalama (troubled in celebration loud-e edit)
14. Danny Darrow – Telephones (Extended)
15. Carol Douglas – Love Sick
16. Drion – Disco-Action Part 1
17. Young & Co. – I Like What You’re Doing To Me (Womack ReWork)