It is always great to see an artist coming of age. Afula has been reigning in his skills, talent, and love for music since 2016. For him, consistency is how he has gotten better. Consistency brings growth, then comes challenge and if you stick to it, unimaginable growth.
From playing 2 After Kazi shows at the Nairobi National Museum for Art in Isolation series by Kraal, Sound Safari caught up with Afula for an interview accompanied by a guest mix for our weekly radio show. The interview, edited for content and clarity, follows as below.
Sound Safari: You are from playing a show at the Nairobi National Museum for your show After Kazi, tell us more about that.
Afula: After Kazi is a concept by my friend Nick Maruti (aka Nik The Deejay). He always wanted to have a plan that starts on Thursday when people come from work – after kazi. Leteni stress yenu yote. It’s just good vibes, positive vibrations. Apo tu.
What’s your earliest memory of you deejaying?
My earliest memory of me seriously deejaying dates to 2016 but I had started earlier than that. However, I was doing it on and off. I took it up more seriously after finishing high school.
You just played the second After Kazi at the National Museum as part of the Art in Isolation exhibition. Loop us in on that.
Art in Isolation is an exhibition curated by Kraal Africa that is ongoing for the next 90 days. The vibe master himself, Huma Kaseu, developed a whole concept of artists submitting their art and getting access to resources. This was week one from launch and we did a show as After Kazi at the amphitheatre with some of the art on display.
After that, they got an extension for another 90 days.
I want to put you on the spot cause I want to collaborate with you, when can we expect music production from you?
Soon enough! You were on the radar.
What is the sticking point to since you started deejaying?
I wanna say consistency. I try to be consistent but life happens and you face setbacks that make you inconsistent. Nonetheless, I would say consistency is the work. You grow from it – If you do what you are good at consistently, you get better.
How is the Kenyan House music scene at the moment from your perspective?
I feel like we’re starting to stagnate. The scene is growing but not fast enough cause we’re not seeing more new faces. However, it has great potential. The artists, deejays, and fans need to bring and tag along with new people every time.
Who are you currently listening to from the Kenyan House community?
For deejays, you should definitely check out Sayanka and Wandat. In addition, production-wise I’m listening to Rabudi and Munyasia. These are guys who need more light shone their way. I’m also listening to Nabalayo’s album Changanya. It’s a folklore album, that one got me.
Whose work is it to shine the light?
It’s us. It is this platform. You need to mention it everywhere (and every chance you get). It’s our light as fans and it’s for us to shine it by introducing new people to the music.
Do you think the artists have a role to play at that?
They have put out their work. What I’m saying is we have a job as fans to push it up one soul after another. That’s growth.
I must ask this question since this is all the rage at the moment. Your thoughts on Amapiano?
This is a conversation that needs a lot of nuances. I’ve seen the good side and the bad side. First, the good thing is I’ve been trying to push my friends to dance music with slow progress but Amapiano made it easier for me to capture them. I have now introduced them to the Afro House seen from the Amapiano they know.
The bad side is Amapiano has become for the streets! I went to this club in town and the deejay was playing it in weird BPM and I was so pissed and left. There’s an art to it.
I was talking to Knord and he had similar sentiments about there been an art to playing Amapiano.
Exactly. You need to appreciate it enough. MGM, IV and Panik are doing it well. Ally Fresh got into the game and is doing it perfectly.
What stands out for you in a deejay or artist?
I will give you this example between Aquatone and Da Capo. I would listen to Aquatone any day any time and I will listen to Da Capo any day any time. Two different sounds but the same person. For me, that is knowing your sound and where you’re going to market it.
How has the pandemic changed the scene?
There was so much going on when the pandemic hit – live streams etc. It wasn’t even monetized and people did it cause they love music. This brought everyone into each other’s space now and it has crossed over fans.