Interview | April 17, 2014
Interview: Djemba Djemba


Two of the most forward thinking hip-hop producers in the game — Djemba Djemba and Mr. Carmack — have teamed up for a quick joint tour across the country, hitting up Wallplay in NYC this Friday, April 18th. Both producers are nearly peerless when it comes to flipping hip-hop, pop and experimental beat samples to create songs that sound smoked-out and otherwordly. Catch their Diplo & Friends Mix below where they drop the likes of Penthouse Penthouse, Kaytranada, Baauer and other floor fillers, bangers and bust-your-shit-open beats.

ATG spent a little time with one half of the co-headlining tour — Djemba Djemba. Originally from L.A., Djemba Djemba has spent the last couple of years contributing to Team Supreme’s beat cypher, and has released records on Mad Decent and his own imprint Rabbit Records. On top of remixing artists like Banks, Fiona Apple, Laura Mvula and Death Grips, Djemba’s music has been featured by the likes of Diplo, The Gaslamp Killer, Rusko, Baauer, Obey City, Major Lazer, Paul Devro and, as previously mentioned, BBC Radio. See what he had to say after the jump.

DOWNLOAD: Diplo And Friends BBC Mix – Mr. Carmack & Djemba Djemba

You and Mr Carmack have toured together before, and you released a joint Diplo & Friends Mix together. Can you tell me a little bit about how you met and why you work well together during sets and on tours?

We met through TeamSupreme, and more specifically Mike of Penthouse Penthouse. They used to play in orchestras together in High School. I feel like we would have been friends in high school as well. I think we work well together because Carmack always reminds me to chill out and not take things too seriously, and I remind him when to take things a little more seriously.

What is the origin of your name? It reminds me of the old footballer Eric Djemba Djemba (with the cheeky saying “He’s so good they named him twice.”) Any relationship to the athlete or no?

We’re actually brothers from another mother. I was also extremely overrated as a producer and was signed to a multimillion dollar deal with a huge record label, but after a bad start I was traded and relegated to the development leagues. But like Eric, I’ve managed to work my way back to glory and top-tier competition.


(Brothers from another mother, kinda like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover)

The progression of certain genres has been easy to track in the last year or two. Trap was very popular last year, and now Jersey Club is getting bigger. Are there any trends or genres you expect to emerge in the next year?

At some point there will just be sub-frequencies and nothing else. You’ll just go to a party and feel the room shaking. The vibrations will make you orgasm and vomit.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen at a show or after party?

Carmack let some kid from the audience DJ a track in Toronto. That was pretty tight for the kid and no one else.

At this point in your career, what are a few of your dream collaborations?

I would have loved to write a song for Michael Jackson in the 90s. In reality I’d love to collaborate with Beyoncé on a 20 minute opera about Surfborts.

What is your favorite part about being a DJ/producer? Least favorite?

Favorite part about producing and DJing is that you get to be part of a worldwide community of people who are trying to express themselves and support you. Worst part about it is flying, it’s the only way to get sick!


Name a song you like to open your DJ sets with.

Yung Gud – U Want Me — perfect slow burner that makes you get a thizz face.

Name a track you always play to rescue a dancefloor.

Trick Daddy – “I’m a Thug” — great sing-a-long song.

Name a track you would play to show off your eclectic tastes.

Ryuichi Sakamoto – “Rain” — I dropped this and played some drum samples over it one time in Australia. It went off.

djemba djemba interview

Name a track you wish you had produced.

“Drunk In Love” — I’ve been making a lot of weird vocal chop scary RnB lately and I feel like I missed the boat on this one. Now I’m strictly making happy hardcore.

Name a song you would play at a relative’s wedding

“Rock the Casbah.” No comment.

Name a song you would have played at your own funeral.

Enya – Who Can Say — as an arrow is shot out onto my funeral pyre, in the middle of the lake, where it ignites into flames followed by a huge fireworks display and tons of children running through the streets carrying flags from every country of the world yelling, “Lose yourself to dance!”