Interview with Soulroots

3 months ago
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interview soulroots

Soulroots, an emerging DJ and producer from the Netherlands, is now captivating audiences globally with his distinctive Afro house music. Dive into his artistic journey and the formation of his events organization, Liberation, here.

When did you first get in touch with Afro House?

My Afro House journey commenced back in 2011 when fate led me to stumble upon ‘Black Coffee – Superman’ in a mixtape. It was one of those moments where the music simply grabbed hold of me, and I found myself immersed in its captivating rhythms. Prior to this discovery, my musical landscape was painted with the vibrant colors of Jumpstyle and Dutch House, featuring artists like Sidney Samson and Afrojack. Reflecting on it now, it’s amusing to see how our tastes can evolve in unexpected ways, isn’t it?

When did you start playing?

My journey as a DJ began in 2006, initially experimenting with Virtual DJ and focusing on the energetic beats of Jumpstyle. However, everything changed when I encountered ‘Superman’, plunging me deep into the mesmerizing world of Afro House. From then on, I avidly scoured platforms like AfrodesiaMP3, Traxsource, and Beatport, immersing myself in the rich tapestry of Afro House sounds. It’s fascinating to note that my first Afro House tracks were purchased on June 9th, 2011, from Traxsource – a date etched in my memory.

Armed with Pioneer MK3s, I honed my skills, and by 2009, I took the leap to perform in front of an audience for the first time. Initially part of the duo Soulroots, we embarked on a journey that led us to grace various venues, from the vibrant scenes of Vief & Vuig Rotterdam to the pulsating Afrobeats stage of the Latin Village Festival in 2013. However, as paths sometimes diverge, in 2014, Soulroots evolved into a solo venture for me.

When did you decided you also wanted to produce music?

The decision to delve into music production took root back in 2013 when I began tinkering with FL Studio. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that I committed myself wholeheartedly to the craft, investing significant time and effort. It was during this period that I truly discovered the joy of creating music.

The realization dawned upon me through my own event, Liberation, where I recognized the necessity of having original productions to truly stand out amidst a sea of talented artists and secure bookings. This realization fueled my determination to hone my production skills and carve out my unique musical identity.

Can you tell us more about Liberation?

Liberation emerged in 2012 with a steadfast dedication to championing African House music. From its inception, it has been a platform that brought renowned South African artists such as Black Coffee, Zakes Bantwini, Culoe de Song, Jackie Queens, Black Motion, and many others to the Netherlands, solidifying Liberation’s status as a pioneer in the scene.

In 2023, in collaboration with my manager and partner Melanie Elstak, we expanded Liberation’s horizons by launching Liberation Music. This transformative step saw Liberation Music evolve into both an event and a record label, amplifying its impact and reach. The culmination of this evolution was marked by the release of our debut track, “Sipho,” a collaboration between myself and the talented South African vocalist Nuzu Deep.

When is the next edition of Liberation?

Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 19th, as Liberation returns with a bang, hosting a stage at the renowned Extrema Outdoor in Belgium. Following the resounding success of last year’s collaboration, we’re gearing up to deliver an even more exhilarating experience this year.

Our lineup is nothing short of spectacular, featuring esteemed artists such as Kasango, Jamiie, and a special back-to-back session showcasing the talents of Bun Xapa and Rancido. And to cap off the festivities in style, prepare yourself for an unforgettable closing act: a back-to-back performance featuring the legendary Zakes Bantwini, the mesmerizing Ceciel Moyano, and yours truly.

On Saturday, May 31st, shortly after the event in Belgium, we’re inviting Mi Casa to Liberation in our hometown Rotterdam. This renowned South African pop band knows how to deliver a live show, comprising a vocalist, a saxophonist, and a DJ and keyboard player. We’ve previously invited them in 2015, and it was one of our best editions yet. We’re truly excited about this edition because the live elements take clubbing to another level.

Who is your biggest inspiration as a DJ / Producer?

Pondering on my biggest inspiration as a DJ and producer, I’m drawn to the transformative impact of Black Coffee’s artistry from 2011 to 2014. His mastery of effects and impeccable track selection during that period left an indelible mark on me. Witnessing his sets was akin to witnessing magic unfold before my eyes.

When it comes to production, Culoe de Song stands out as a beacon of innovation and timeless creativity. As early as 2009, he seemed to inhabit a musical realm ahead of his time, crafting sounds that continue to resonate deeply with me. Our own sonic journey owes much to the pioneering groundwork he laid in the formative years of our genre. It’s a shame that his releases have become less frequent, but his influence remains ever-present in our musical landscape.

Who would you like to work with in the future?

I’m a big fan of Ry X. His voice is out of this world. I would really love to work with him someday!

What would your biggest dream be with the future of Liberation?

Looking towards the horizon, my big dream for Liberation is to manifest our own festival—an immersive experience where the vibrant tapestry of Afro-House music can unfurl without constraint. In a musical landscape brimming with diverse subgenres, it’s time to break free from the confines of labels and embrace the fluidity of our sound.

In envisioning the main stage of a Liberation festival, I see a lineup that transcends boundaries and defies expectations. Imagine the electrifying presence of Black Coffee, the enchanting vibes of BLOND:ISH, the timeless creations of Culoe De Song, the masterful sets of Dixon, the soul-stirring sounds of Da Capo, and the hypnotic rhythms of Adriatique. It’s a convergence of musical brilliance, where no limits exist, and only the pulse of good music resonates.

Tickets to Mi Casa the 31th of May

Get to know Soulroots

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