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Tom Trago and William Kouam Djoko interview each other

Tom Trago and William Kouam Djoko interview each other

18-04-2012 | 11.04

Tom Trago and William Kouam Djoko met just five months ago, but they're already homies for life. WKD is releasing his fifth EP later this month on TT's label Voyage Direct. They spoke to each other on Skype about this release, fighting African barbers in Amsterdam and weird dreams.

TT: Hey William Kouam Djoko!
WKD: Hey, I already thought about some questions I wanted to ask you. Waking up at night thinking about this interview.  
TT: Alright, interesting. When I was at Bali I also had a dream about you.
WKD: Yeah, you mailed me about this! Something about popping pills in the supermarket?!
TT: Yeas, and we we surfing on top of all the stuff in this supermarket.
WKD: Weird! By the way, you have some Brazilian blood right?
TT: Portugese is my last name. I mean, my last name is Portugese, but they speak this in Brazil too. I think there was a soldier during the Spanish War that got stuck somewhere in the South and decided to stay at this farm and hook up with this Portugese farmer woman. I am kinda grateful for this actually. 
WKD: This was a question I thought of when I woke up; In what way did your Portugese background have influence on your dancing background and/or music?   
TT: Well, I do like shaking asses. Ik hou wel van billen die schudden.
WKD:  Mexe a Bunda
TT: And Batucada's as well. Do you know this?
WKD: Nope.
TT: These are these mega bands with drums where they actually play techno. Those Ben Sims streetorchestra's with numerous breaks that are even sicker than with real techno.
WKD: Oooh yeah, those, enjoyed those a lot in Rio too.
TT: Nice, did you spin there?
WKD: No, was on vacation.
TT: Good for you, I am going there next month together with Antal.
WKD: Aaahh, I'm fucking jealous of you guys.
TT: A more serious question; your EP is released in April 2012 on Voyage Direct, how many WKD releases have there been? You might want to change your Skype avatar into the new sleeve as well, idea? ;)   
WKD: Happy camper now? I really like that blue/green fade, but getting back to your question; this is my fifth solo EP. The first was in 2008. 
TT: Are you happy with the way you are progressing? if you compare all your releases, what has changed, and what are you trying to keep just like it is? 
WKD: Yes, I am completely happy with the way I am progressing. I am releasing about one EP a year, which is not a lot. Every release and production is something that has to come from the inside, from deep inside. I ain't no production machine, I'd like to say, but I did manage to produce a vague but recognizable sound during these years. I mean, I do get to hear from befriended collegues that they always recognize my sound and I always seem to surprise them. This really touches me. Since when have you been putting out music? 
TT: I've been making music since 2006. I started out with just a MPC and I made my first record on a SP1200 that I borrowed from DJ Precise, an old dancehall dj. It's called "Live with the BBQ" and i dropped it off at Rushhour on a cassette.  
WKD: That's one of those hiphop beatmachines right? Haha, fucking cool! 
TT: Yeah, they loved this of course at Rushhour. Chris Baker (who works in the store re.) dited it for me. Now something else, what's up with your wave? 
WKD: My wave? What?
TT: Or bobline or crooked hair?
WKD: Oooh, my hair. I was at my barber's, a real Africn place on the Javastreet in Amsterdam East. Reminds me, I have to make a new appointment. 
TT: SICK! I wanna go there too, but i guess it won't be of any use.
WKD: Last time I was there they started a fight about my hair. I always have these stripes at the side of my head, really old skool you know. But the last time another guy than usually cut my hair. Everything was done, perfect, but he only had to cut the two stripes.  That's when he started to randomly trim two stripes with just the clipper. Really ugly. So aggitated I started asking this guy: 'dude, what the fuck you messing up my hair for?!' Right when my regular barber starts walking in. So I ask him over immediately: 'Milli (that's his name) check this out, can you fix this?' He holds my head and starts looking at it, when the other due gets really angry: 'What you disrespectin' me.. You try to take my customer?' When he tries to punch Milli but doesn't hit him.
TT: WTF?!
WKD: So Milli hits back instantly of course. All of this in a full shop with about fifteen people. 
TT: For real?
WKD: Yeah dude, everybody is now punching each other! So I grab my wallet and throw down my money: 'Fuck you! I'm taking my business elsewhere'. Really dramatic, haha!
TT: Fuckin' film scene. This is why i'd love to go to the barbers.
WKD: So I walk out the door and this guy that's seen this whole scene comes up to me. He sends me to this other African barber just 1 minute bikeride away. I walk into this place, completely full as well, and I slam the counter, getting all of their attention in a second and tell the whole story of what just happened right away. Everybody is pissed instantly, hahaha! 
TT: WOW!
WKD: A dude named Sticks eventually corrected my stripes for free. End of story. Like you said, just like a film scene, really crazy. But I have to get my hair fixed this week for my shoot on Thursday, so I'll go back to this new shop for sure., hahaha! But what I wanted to ask you about your music is this: you made your first release on a SP1200, how is this possible out of nothing? Are you ridiculously talented or schooled too, what's up with that?
TT: It's the only thing I knew. just sampling and play a bassline underneath it. I was having this two days a week jazz school in MAsterdam at that time though, to learn how to play a bit. And my mom made me take piano lessons when I was young too, something I'm happy with at the moment. I still have her piano in my studio right now. 
WKD: How nice? But as a child you probably thought different? 
TT: Yes, as a child I thought it was boring of course, but I've learned the most from playing with my MPC and smoking joints. 
WKD: Yeah, smoking pot... who dodn't become a producer with it? 
TT: Haha! Looking forward to Saturday?
WKD: Yeah, of course!!! Damn, I can release my EP on your label and doing a release party as well is really dope. Somewhat like a grown up's childwish, thanks for that by the way.  
TT: Haha, I am quite happy with it as well. I've seen you play live in Paris on Brice's party (Concrete. red.) and it was truly amazing. 
WKD: It was a brutal weekend. 
TT: I only release music by Dutch producers on Voyage Direct and I am very proud there are so many dope tracks arising around me by friends of mine. When I first heard Brothers & Sisters I was really thrilled. 
WKD: Yeah, I am really impressed by this as well. I mean, about this talent surrounding me all the time and the fact I can call these people my friends. It attracts and inspires each other like a motherfucker. We Are Your Brothers & Sisters is a result off of this. And look at Paris and us, I am really all about 'coincidences'. We meet each other in November, in December I give you my CD and in January you say 'Yes' to releasing the Ep and two weeks later we smash Paris on the same party with a super crew on a roadtrip. You plya an amazing DJ set in the afternoon and I get a warmed up crowd in the evening for my liveshow where the interaction with this same crowd was really special...bam bam bam!
TT: Nice huh?
WKD: Yeah, I like it!
TT: Good thing.

If you want to win one of the three first vinyl releases of William Kouam Djoko on Voyage Direct plus a spot on the guestlist for this Saturday's Visionquest & Voyage Direct, please send a picture of you and your brothers and/or sisters to win[at]trouwamsterdam.nl before Friday the 20th of April 5pm. Name your mail 'Brothers & Sisters' please. If you don't have any brothers and or sisters, you can mail a picture of you and your homies as well.