Andre Power: It’s the DJ’s role to keep things fresh in their city
© Andre Power
Ahead of his performance at Neon East Fest in Mumbai, Andre Power explains his approach to DJing and how he helped create a welcoming subculture of artists in Los Angeles.
Andre Power is a travelling DJ and also the co-founder of the artist collective known as Soulection.
As a musician, he has travelled around the US and Europe, promoting the music of independent artists.
As creative director of Soulection, he has helped nurture a community of creative-minded people who can find comfort within their own space – both physically and in terms of support for their art.
While visiting Mumbai to perform at the Neon East Fest, he speaks with Tejas Nair (aka Spryk) to discuss Soulection and what to expect at one of his gigs.
How has Soulection built a subculture of its own encompassing music, photography, art, and more?
Every individual that is part of Soulection is an artist of multiple mediums. Apart from our love for music, we all explore and appreciate different forms of art – from design to fine art, to fashion. So all of this comes into play when describing the overall brand and vision of Soulection.
As a follower of the show and the brand for years, I’ve always wondered how Soulection was built purely around the music and not driven by big names.
We started when the music industry was in a good place, and when a lot of amazing music that was heard was being released by faceless, brandless artists (e.g. The Weeknd, Goldlink, H.E.R.). I feel like this was the beginning of an era where the actual music was more important than the image or popularity of the artist. We truly believe that the music can and will hit harder no matter how known the artist is. So we began to dig for the music instead of the artist.
Could you tell us about Soulection's community-driven events (pop-ups, BBQs, free parties) and how they have helped get the music to more people?
Once we reached the point where we realised that the culture and the community of Soulection was something bigger than the music, we felt it was only right to create an environment for our community to connect with us and one another. We really stand by the idea of DIY, and we know that we are where we are because of the people. So we try to give back with every opportunity we get.
How much of an impact do you feel online radio can have on developing a budding scene like the one in India?
Online radio is an amazing way to reach listeners and true fans of music on a global scale. It’s a great way to discover artists, learn about them, and connect with other supporters of similar artists and sounds. Because I live in LA and travel to big music cities, I tend to discover a lot of artists at live shows, and there are times, more or less, when an artist may have local or even just online success and may not be able to travel to places like India. So online radio helps get these artists heard and maybe even to the level of being able to travel internationally.
When do you know that an artist is really onto something?
A lot of us have different ways of discovering and knowing when an artist “has that sound”. For me, it is really about a feeling; how does the song make you feel? Next, can I listen over and over, and not get tired or bored. Third, is it just one good song, or does this artist have a solid discography? Lastly, can I recognise if there is a message or reason behind the music?
What can one expect at an Andre Power show?
An Andre Power show is usually a high energy, diverse exploration into sound, with huge influence from my teenage years and my recent travels. So lots of hip-hop, soul and electronic, fused with sounds from all over the world. Samples, edits, covers, instrumentals, uptempo, downtempo, and so much more. I always aim to entertain, educate and take the listener on a journey.
How would you describe the musical impact that local DJs can have on any city’s scene?
The local DJs play a huge role in local city scenes. I feel they have a responsibility of giving the people options. But my neighbour and I may have totally different taste when it comes to music. Going deeper than that, what if I want to hear R&B on a Wednesday, and then funk on a Friday? I feel it’s the DJ’s role to keep things fresh and new in their city.
What’s it like working with big brands such as Stussy, Billionaire Boys Club and more while still maintaining a vibe that’s true to Soulection?
With every brand we work and collaborate with, we usually have to be a fan of that brand first. Both Stussy and BBC have beautiful stories and core values that align with ours.
If you were to travel back in time to 2011 and do it all over again, what would you do differently with Soulection?
It’s tough to say what we would do differently since I think the timing of when we launched couldn’t have been better. If I had to choose one thing, I would say taking more time early on to learn about the music industry. I learned so much throughout the journey of Soulection, but at times I wish the lessons were taught before, rather than after.
Click here to purchase tickets to Neon East Fest in Mumbai.