Solo musical endeavor of composer, drummer, DJ, producer, Photay is hosting a residency at Black Flamingo this month. He will invite Ace Mo & Darker Than Wax and Astro Nautico. We wanted to know a little more about this choices.
Ace Mo is a Brooklyn DJ playing house and techno music and Darker Than Wax is a label/collective which has been constantly pushing the boundaries of underground/left-field music. How did you meet them? What can you tell us about their DJing performance?
Ace & I were roommates in college for 4 years and have been good homies since. I’ve seen Ace move through many musical phases including jazz, hip-hop, house, ambient, and techno. There’s tremendous feel in whatever he’s producing or DJing. Ace has been super active DJing in both NY and Detroit the past couple of years. Big energy in his set guaranteed!
Marco (Darker than Wax) & I met in Brooklyn 2 years ago when asked me to play on his Lot Radio show. Since then Marco has turned me onto so many tunes and so many parties. Marco has an incredibly eclectic taste in music and moves across musical genres and geography effortlessly in his DJ sets.
Astro Nautico is a Brooklyn-based record label run by Kuhn, Sam O.B. and Paul Jones. You published your album Onism on this label. Can you tell us how this happened?
I first met the guys behind Astro Nautico at their Free Candy parties while I was still in music school. I quite simply approached Kuhn at the end one of the parties about working together. I sent them what I was working on at the time and we started a discussion of a release. We all became good friends quite quickly alongside preparations for the release of my 1st EP! Astro has released 2 Photay EPs and my last LP Onism. That’s the nutshell version, but overall I couldn’t ask for more natural progression with a label.
Can we talk about you a little? You studied abroad in Guinea, how did this influence your work?
I studied Djembe & Balafon in Conakry, Guinea every day all day for about a month with incredible musicians. The dedication to music and community was endlessly inspiring. Their orientation of rhythm is endlessly exciting and never fails to give me tremendous energy and inspiration. This is also where the name Photay is from (Susu for “White” - what all the children called me ha).
In a few words, how did you build your career since then?
I performed in NYC all throughout college, building a very small presence amongst friends. The release of my 1st EP in 2014 brought lots of radio play and attention from people all around the world. When I graduated spring of 2015 I was offered a show in Hawaii, various places around the states and eventually Japan. Since then I’ve been touring a lot in Europe, doing remixes and pursuing all types of musical endeavors from Drumming in bands to DJ sets to ambient performances.
You appear a lot mixing with Gilles Petterson, can you tell us a little more about your working relationship?
Gilles has been my biggest supporter hands down! Since my EP Photay in 2014 to the present day, he’s played pretty much everything I’ve released no matter how contrasting the sound. He’s invited me to play his festivals, Boiler Room, WWFM radio and beyond. I feel incredibly honored to have his support! Such an amazing vibe to everything he curates.
Do you have anything you'd like to announce?
Tell us an unlikely song that you secretly listen to?
Fanfare Ciocarlia - Sirba Moldoveneasca
What is your most random memory of a gig?
I performed live at a contemporary art museum in Upstate NY 2 years ago. This middle age woman jumped on stage mid set and yelled “AYO - what you doin is crazy! What are you USING up there? I want you to show ME! Let’s go!”. I was like “uh hey thanks I appreciate it but I’m playing live right now … maybe after”. My friends, 2 friendly danish girls, had to jump into action as security :)
Thank you Evan!
Before his first gig at Flamingo tomorrow you still can listen to his last mix recorded for Rinse FM.