Interview: Electronic dance legends Akahum

Akahum is a high-energy ‘live’ act, purveyors of trance-dub-vibes, funky psy-grooves and thundering-dance-rhythms. Appearing at the Waveform electronic dance festival this year, PsypressUK friends Parallel PR have kindly passed on this interview with Akahum in anticipation of the UK’s premier psy-trance event. Hope you enjoy, and hope to see you all there for a wonky dance…

Parallel: Who, as a band and individually, have been your biggest influences?

Zenga: Contrary to popular belief, Ozric Tentacles are not a big influence even though we are often likened to their sound.  For me personally, I have been influenced by world rhythms and natural earthy rhythms, particularly those of Asia and Africa as well as shamanistic beats.  Too many to name, but a few are Bowie, Hendrix, Orbital, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Electro artistes on the Mute label, and Ronnie Size.

David: Probably Gong. They’d get on stage, jam around some grooves and get people dancing. Adrian Belew has been a constant throughout my life, as has Moorish music from home.

Parallel: If you could play back to back with anyone of your choice, who would it be?

David: For me at the moment, Ben Parkinson of Dr Meaker or David Wang of Mochipet. Both awesome.

Zenga: Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, but that isn’t going to happen until we get to heaven, in the meantime let’s play with our friends, the more the merrier and the closer the better.

Parallel: Do you prefer an intimate club gig, or a festival?

Zenga: I really love the intimate gigs where we can build an atmosphere and share the love. Close contact with the audience absorbs and transforms the sound into energetic vibrations.

David: I agree, but seeing loads of people dancing with smiles at a great festival does it for me. When people (including the band) don’t have to worry about getting home in the early hours of the morning they definitely party harder.

Zenga: Festivals can be good too, although it is the smaller ones that create a warmer atmosphere.

David: Atmosphere is everything. Put everyone in a field with some tents…let them go mad.

Parallel: What does it mean to you to play at Waveform?

David: It’s THE gathering of the electronic family, all our musical mates. The diversity is great and everyone just wants to get there, get in and get it on! I love Waveform’s commitment to incorporating as much green technology into the event as possible.

Zenga:  Bloody marvellous.  A conscious, smaller scale dance music festy, providing quality music – amazing! We played last year and loved it.

Where do you see the dance and psy-scene going?

Zenga: It’s a growing scene that attracts more followers every year.  I’d like to think the more underground sounds will have a chance to reach a wider audience without the risk of becoming diluted in the pursuit of profits.

David: There are big changes on the musical horizon, but there will always be a psy-scene. More and more releases, however, will be downloads only. Technics are ceasing production of the 1200s, and vinyl will die. How important is album artwork? Doesn’t matter, it’s been decided for us.

Parallel: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Zenga: A little more philosophical and a little happier. Touring the world and playing to far reaching communities.  Getting together with other like-minded people to make good things happen.

David: I see Akahum touring further afield, having more time for writing and producing together, and hopefully me not telling the rest of the band “its chips again tonight, lads”. It would be great to ditch the day jobs. I get many requests for collaborations and there’s just no time. Some people benchmark their career in £s. For me, it’s all the little successes I’ve enjoyed that count. Telling people close to you (like your Mum) that the BBC said you were tremendous, or playing a great slot at Glastonbury are tangible benchmarks they can go “Oooh” about.

Parallel: Finally, what would be your perfect rider?

David: Fruit salad for everyone please!

Zenga: A comfy chair with my friends, a tasty warm meal followed by whatever else I can think of at the time, oh…and did I mention sunshine?!!

Thanks David & Zenga and all of Akahum   

Interview by Dex Flett of Parallel PR

Akahum will be performing at the Kaplick Solar Stage, Waveform Festival, Sept. 2-4 2011 at Taunton Racecourse, Somerset.

Via the House

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