Introducing... William Kouam Djoko
Cultural exchanges are a common theme to the programming of our Farringdon bunker; from Kevin Saunderson’s vision of Detroit to Ostgut Ton’s all night Panoramabar-esque sessions, there’s international experience aplenty here. Next Saturday Bristol’s Eats Everything is bringing his Edible tour to Room Two with a selection of friends who all exhume his extra-large take on house and there’s one of them who has something to offer from the Amsterdam beacon of club music, Trouw, who goes by the name William Kouam Djoko.
Djoko first moved to the dam midway through this millennia’s first decade, when he was halfway through building his stage persona as part of what was his first venture into music production and performance, live band Jason and the Argonauts. Although that gave him invaluable character forming experience and opportunities to get to know his way around a studio, the time came a few years later for Djoko to do his own thing, moving into club promotion at the city’s infamous venue Trouw as well as building his profile in the production and DJ sphere under his own moniker.
Now in 2013, through impressing his talent on the Bristol contingent associated with Eats Everything, he’s been invited on the food loving DJ’s Edible tour, earning him his debut appearance in Farringdon this bank holiday weekend. That means we’ve also been given the opportunity to get to know the upcoming producer better and host his exclusively recorded fabric Promo Mix right here on our website.
DOWNLOAD: William Kouam Djoko fabric Promo Mix
Hey William, thanks for speaking to us. It’s going to be your first time playing in Farringdon, can you introduce yourselves to our readers who may not be familiar with you yet?
Thanks for reaching out. My name is William Kouam Djoko. Djoko’s my family name, which originates from Cameroun to answer that question. I ‘d say I'm the perfect example of someone that got involved in music by chance. There's always been a keen interest in being on stage from my side, ever since I could walk I would be dancing to Michael Jackson or just trying to put on a show for my parents. I have no idea where that drive comes from, it's just there.
I got introduced to parties and the whole techno phenomenon by a friend of mine. We started out at the legendry Speedfreax parties at Now&Wow and went on to Awakenings and all those other parties that were going on at that time. I was just blown away by the whole working of things and this magical stage which was the DJ-booth. Then my school friends started doing smaller techno parties around The Hague and got me going down to MC / host to introduce their acts just because I was comfortable talking to crowds and my English was good.
I started making music as pat of a live act Jason and the Argonauts with some friends in 2004 it taught me a lot about stage performance and playing around with interaciton but we played our last gig in 2011 so I could put more focus on my solo projects. My first full EP was 2008's “Hard Loving EP” that came out on Thirtyonetwenty. A label ran by Sandy Huner and Dave Ellesmere, who at the time discovered that track and decided to put it out. They had a major feedback list to show for that nearly blew my mind back then.
You produce, DJ and promote which is your number one love? Like do you feel you’re more a DJ than a producer or vice versa?
I would say I'm a performer foremost and than a producer. On stage I play both live and as a DJ, I'm perfectly comfortable doing either one. But as you can imagine, to play live I need to be in the studio more often than not. So It kind balances itself out. At home alone in the studio I get to completely let loose of all my inhibitions and try to get that feeling and energy in my music as much as I can. So when I play it out I can translate that to the dancefloor. It's very important to me to give my 100% and re-invent myself time and time again. I get bored easily doing the same thing twice in row and always try to make what comes out at the moment. Being able to play what I've made myself isn't necessarily a measure.
So sometimes it's a great surprise to see who play out my tracks, because I hardly ever have an idea who's going to dig it or not. That might also be the reason I do not put out more than one release per year. Sometimes I can get quite annoyed by hearing the quality of tracks that come out or performances I see. It's a sense that I think people are afraid to take risks in their orginality. So I've taken it upon myself never to be held back by that fear in either the studio or on stage where I always make sure the crowd gets a proper show.
Let’s talk about your club night -Late Night Society, can you tell us about what it’s like running a night in Amsterdam, like what differences have you noticed to other scenes from your DJ tours?
I've been running Late Night Society with Boris Werner at Trouw for our third year now and we have created a very good and loyal following over the last years. They’re willing to party because they know we'll give them exactly that, while introducing them to acts and artists we ourselves think are cool to hear and see. Last weekend we had the incredible Mr. G over. He put down a show I think people will still be talking bout weeks from now. That's what we want to do with LNS.
At this point in time Amsterdam might have what I call an overlyhealthy club scene in comparison to other scenes and cities around Europe. I mean the crowds here know exactly what they want, while being completely spoiled at the same time. From time to time I get the feeling that whenever I'm abroad the people are more openminded and willing to listen to new sounds and just party. But I'm grateful to be playing and living in Amsterdam as the city is so full of the energy that I love and it always feels like a great place to go home to after the weekend.
Is there a strong community based around Trouw?
Definitely. For me personally Trouw is one of the leading and perhaps the leading club in Holland for electronic music. It's like a small city in itself. Olaf and his team offer the ideal platform for promoters and DJ's to invite artists. There's a great restaurant, amazing soundsystem and the team works the extra mile to make things happen for us. I think practically all of the niches are covered from experimental IDM to hard techno, it's all there.
In Amsterdam all of us DJ and producers types know one another. So now I'm in the situation that I have friends & collegues like Makam, Tom Trago, San Proper, Melon, Cinnaman, Sandrien and of course Boris Werner who does LNS with me, all having our own succesful night there. And that's not even covering all the residents and activities going on at Trouw. So yes, I feel we do have this community you're talking about.
You’ll be playing with us in May with Eats Everything for his Edible tour. How do you know the guys on the Edible tour?
Credits go out to Rag (Eats Everything’s management) for introducing me to Dan (Eats Everything) on this one. Rag and I met several years back when Ed Karney had booked me to play over in Bristol. We had an amazing time and the guys took great care of me making me feel right at home. We've stayed in close touch eversince and the guys have always invested their faith in my abilities as an artist. Dan and I only met last year at Ed's wedding in the UK, We ended up walking along side eachother and started talking, having a laugh. Only both of us later to find out who we are as producers, which obviously resulted in the mandatory exchange of compliments. So that seemed legit. Later that night Eats smashed it for me as the undisputed Best Wedding DJ. Ever. Haha!
Do you guys roll together a lot? I’ve seen you and Tom Trago have shared some mixes and interviews online..
Tom's been my boy since the first time we met actually. It was at this afterhour not too long ago I gave him a cd with new tracks I had intended to give to Ricardo Villalobos after the night, but the guy never showed up. So I figured oh well.. why not give 'm to Tom. That resulted in my “We Are Your Brothers & Sisters EP” five months later on his Voyage Direct imprint. We often hang out, chill in the studio and listen to eachothers music for feedback. We have got booked for a couple of events, but I would love for us to play together more often cause our attitudes fit perfectly. Besides that he's good company for when I'm on the road. Who knows what happens after I put out my second EP on Voyage Direct after the summer.
You’ve recorded a mix for us to mark the event – can you tell us about it like what were behind your track choices, if there’s anything new and exclusive inside?
I took extra care in selecting the tracks in this mix. I've done several podcasts these lasts months and over the whole I wanted to portray a nice pallet of different styles I'm into. Seeing it's a warm-up set for my debut at fabric I thought to take things a bit deeper. It's reflecting on sounds and artists that have and still are influencing me till this day.
The first track is a piece by Philip Glass which I first heard in a track through Ricardo who sampled it. Later I found the original and it feels like the perfect beginning for something special. Than through tracks by Ion Ludwig, DJ Koze, Mathew Jonson you'll hear two tracks by myself. One unreleased and a track called “Man Like Me”. The latter will come out on Matt Tolfrey's Leftroom label next month. Amazingly that track got remixed by none other than Matthew Herbert, which is a major deal for me, since I've been a massive Herbert admirer from the moment I started making my own music.
Towards the end of my mix you'll find a great deep epic banger from my buddy Boris Werner and an edit from Awanto3. You should be on the look out for his new works. He's a really cool guy and in the near future he's gonna deliver some uninhibited dancefloor fire on Voyage Direct. To close the proceedings I've selected a track by Bristol's Typesun. Next to him being a towny to Eats, I think this track is one of the dopest things I've heard over the last few months. I often use it as the last track at a party and brings this certain magic to the air and smiles on peoples faces. A great way to end something beautiful.
I'm absolutely looking forward to playing Eats Everything's Edible tour at fabric, so I hope this mix will get you fired up and in the right mood to come and dance with me.
Philip Glass - Einstein on the Beach - Bed [Sony Masterworks]
Minilogue - E de nån hemma [Cocoon Recordings]
Ion Ludwig - Two Rivers Form One Channel [unreleased]
Ivano Tetelepta & Alex Jansen - Lemonade Beach [Rue de Plaisance]
Patrick Chardronnet - Random Beauty [Connaisseur Recordings]
DJ Koze - La Duquesa [Pampa Records]
Mathew Jonson - Sahara [Crosstown Rebels]
The Mole - Nervous Disid [New Kanada]
Deadboy - Geek'd Up [Blaquewerk]
William Kouam Djoko - Sacred Secrets [unreleased]
Mathias Kaden - FX Tool 01 [Desolat Music]
William Kouam Djoko - Man Like Me [Leftroom]
Boris Werner - Upstairs Or Downstairs [unreleased]
Legowelt - Danger In The Air [Clone Records]
Ace - How Long (Has This Been Going On) (Awanto3 edit)
Typesun - The PL [Root Elevation]
William Kouam Djoko will be making his Farringdon debut in Room Two next Saturday. For more info and tickets go here.