AfriKeleKtro Talks New Album In Exclusive Interview
Aesthetic flamboyance and technical excitement are abound in AfriKeleKtro, a Montreal performance troupe (and for what they do, they are certainly more than just a ‘band’) that successfully brings to life a genre of music you didn’t realize you needed.
“Afro-Electro-Pop” is what they call it, a type of sound that the ambitious group nails ferociously. It isn’t just a DJ pressing spacebar and playing catchy house music with an African flair attached to it. This is pure, genuine, raw art, at the hands of three live musicians and two dancers. The result is something spectacular, and is something that we certainly hope to see grow.
In our exclusive interview with the group, we talk about who they are and then their upcoming album. A very energetic and exciting group, it’ll be great to see more of them in the near future.
“It would be nice to introduce our Afro-Electro-Pop music to an international crowd. Europe, Africa, Asia, etc. We are ambitious and proud to be!”
We agree, AfriKeleKtro. We hope you realize those ambitions and unleash your craft on the world in good time.
24- Hey AfriKeleKtro, in 140 characters or less, tell our readers who you are and what you do.
A- AfriKeleKtro is a Montreal-based band formed of three musicians and two dancers. Our band is a pioneer of the Afro-Electro-Pop current, a unique style mixing funk, rock and electro with rhythms, language and traditions from Africa.
24- How would you describe your sound to the new listener? What kind of inspirations and influences go into your craft?
A- AfriKeleKtro will make you dance until dawn! Our particularity is to offer a sound that ressembles what you usually hear on a DJ set but we do it live with real instruments. We use an acoustic drum and traditional percussions from Congo, an electric guitar which adds an indie-rock’s color to our music, and some keyboards for the electro vibe. On top of that, we sing in English, French, Lingala and Kikongo. Our sound is a mix of traditional African sounds and Western, electro-pop inspiration. Our influences are Fela Kuti, Daft punk, TP Ok Jazz, Phil Collins, The Police, Papa Wemba.
24- There’s a lot those goes into your performances visually as well, and I think it’s quite cool. How would you describe this aesthetic, and how does it contribute to the overall energy of your performance?
A- Last March, we received grant from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) to create and produce our new show. After several months of creation we released our new show “Welcome Kuiza” on November 12th, 2015. It is a flamboyant show with choreographies, costumes and video projections. All of this enhances the music of AfriKeleKtro, a music created by songwriter Lionel Kizaba, guitarist Chris Hamel and keyboardist Vergil Sharkya’.
24- Let’s talk really quickly about your upcoming album. What were your goals going to recording, and what might the listener expect?
A- This album is a testimony of the work we’ve done over the last four years. Even if there is only four original songs, one cover and three remix on this album, we have a repertoire of over 15 songs. Our goal was to play without any recorded soundtracks and to propose our own stories to the public.
24- Were there any noteworthy challenges and lessons about the recording process you can tell us?
A- First of all, we must be well surrounded and work with a trustful team. That also means to collaborate with a sound engineer who knows and understands the needs and the vibe of AfriKeleKtro. This might seem simple at first sight but we had to search for a certain amount of time before finding “The One”. We must be sure of the songs arrangement and the quality of the instruments. There is also a lot of feeling in the recording of an album. The three of us know each other since several years and I think we succeed to create a beautiful musical complicity. Also, we always had confidence in our creation and we kept the hope of a good final result. We are perfectionists and we work our sound and our repertoire regularly. Our songs evolve from a show to the other.
A- Seyo Bébé. Bébé is my mother’s name. This song is dedicated to her.
24- What’s the next step for Afrikelektro?
A- We would like to have a Canadian tour and then go beyond borders. It would be nice to introduce our Afro-Electro-Pop music to an international crowd. Europe, Africa, Asia, etc. We are ambitious and proud to be!
24- Are there any artists, past or present, that you would like to see yourselves collaborate with?
A- It would be awesome to work with Daft Punk or Phil Collins! Even better if it’s both!
24- If Afrikelektro was a dessert, what would it be?
A- A milk-chocolate cake!
24- Thank you for your time, we hope to hear from you more in the near future!
A- Thank you for this opportunity Brandon!