- A romantic Valentine's Day-themed mix from the Oroko Radio cofounder.
- "I'm usually the first person to label Valentine's Day a commercial scam," says Kikelomo in the interview below, "however I recently realised that sharing music and connecting with people through sound is one of the ultimate expressions of love for me." When the Berlin-based DJ sent in her mix to RA, she subtitled it "All about love." It's nearly two hours of dance music that radiates warmth, positive energy and compassion, expressed through the wide, almost kaleidoscopic genre lens that Kikelomo has made her own. House, jungle, electro, hip-hop, you name it. The mix is even split into two distinct sides, like an old-school cassette mixtape.
In addition to being a great and adventurous DJ, Kikelomo also started Oroko Radio, a station based in Accra, that connects the Ghanaian capital—and other African cities—with the usual electronic music hotspots, and showcases homegrown talent and sounds through a platform of their own making. (You can read more about Oroko in our feature from last year.) It's all part of her mission as a DJ to not only share music and love, but also to connect, uplift and create real community, as she also discusses below. It's not just a buzzword for Kikelomo, but a mission.
What have you been up to recently?
It's been an incredibly busy past 12 months. I've been DJing all around the world over the past year! I was lucky enough to ring in the new year at the festival Beneath The Baobabs in Kenya, and have generally been connecting with different communities globally through DJing and the community radio station I co-founded, Oroko Radio. The team and I are working on maintaining and building up the radio station, which has been rewarding, but also exhausting! Community radio is definitely a labour of love.
At this very moment, I'm trying to get some rest, as well as getting more confident with my music production so I can actually release some of the projects that have been sitting on Ableton for the past two years.
How and where was the mix recorded, and can you tell us the idea behind the mix
The mix was recorded at home in Berlin with a mixture of digital tracks and vinyl records, my first recorded mix using both formats!
I'm usually the first person to label Valentine's Day a commercial scam, however I recently realised that sharing music and connecting with people through sound is one of the ultimate expressions of love for me. I wanted to make a mix that was a homage to all the different forms of love and the rollercoaster of emotions we have feeling them—platonic love, familial love, romantic love, lust, self love, lost love, heartbreak and more.
Cassette mixtapes for people you care about are becoming a bit of a dying art form, so I took inspiration from this format with the A-side and B-side of my mix. It was about time that someone put together all the incredible Jungle tracks about love anyways! :D
What's one club or party that had a major impact on you as an artist?
I've had some incredible experiences in some absolute club institutions, but there's something about a small but well executed party, 200 people max, but everyone giving it everything they have. Just before the pandemic hit, I played at this party at the back of a barbershop in South Central LA called Hood Rave. It was a game changer in so many ways. I play a really broad range of music and I felt completely free to play everything on my stick which is a rare feeling. I also saw myself reflected in the crowd which was joy to experience, and ultimately got to see what the true essence of community means in practice when it comes to the dance floor.
How has Oroko Radio grown, developed or changed over the past year?
We actually celebrated our one-year anniversary of broadcasting at the end of January, so we've grown pretty much from nothing in the past year! We now have over 170 residents from six different continents, with so much incredible talent representing Africa, from Ghana to Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Eswatini, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, Mauritius and so many more! We've run seven DJ training programs, thrown five parties and rounded off the end of last year with a Boiler Room stream. So many of our residents have grown too, from securing their first ever DJ gigs to now getting international bookings! It makes me incredibly proud to think of just how much the whole community has achieved. :)
Can you tell us about the documentary you’re working on?
Have you ever wondered what happens in your brain when you listen to music, and what specifically about electronic music makes us want to gather in dark spaces with others to move our bodies? Together with Pioneer DJ, we've been interviewing neuroscientists, iconic DJs and producers, as well as community leaders to dive into the topic more. The documentary is coming out before summer, watch this space.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
Honestly sometimes it feels like the world is falling apart and we're definitely moving towards some sort of dystopian future, it can be hard to focus on one cause. I think between the cost of living crisis, the open contempt the ruling classes show for the marginalised and the disenfranchisement of the working class, the global implications of climate change and the troubling move towards the far right on a global level, we have a lot to capture our attention!
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
Up until the end of January, I was actually working a full time job at a music tech company in Berlin. Unfortunately, like many other people in the tech industry, I was made redundant which was a shock, however now my 2023 is completely open in terms of possibilities and how I can shape my future. I'm starting with a blank page, which is daunting—an existential crisis is definitely on the horizon—but also pretty exhilarating. I hope I can do something meaningful with the opportunity!