EDUKE is a Cameroonian born, American music producer and DJ from Miami FL. Working with Grammy winners and industry leaders, running a dance music label and producing hits is all in a day’s work. With an authentic passion to provide people with the gift that is music, his time in the studio can only be matched by his time spent preparing for shows. As music has evolved, EDUKE has been right there with it, pushing the boundaries and exploring the possibilities of what can be done with sound. His newest release Kinshasa has won the support of dance music greats like Paul Oakenfold, Cassius, Gorgon City, Chus and Ceballos and many more. His “The Wished EP” peaked at number 2 on the MusicWeek club charts (Upfront Club breakers Wk30, 2017) and at number 9 on MusicWeek’s Commercial Pop Charts – Top 30 (WK 35, 2017). Tracks from The Wished EP were also featured on the hit motion picture “Wished” by award winning film maker Dayyan Eng which grossed 80 million in its first week in theaters across China and over 100,000,000 paid hits on it’s first 2 weeks online. Eduke was nominated for best dance music producer and best EP categories for the 16th annual Independent Music Awards.

(Interview by Tim Brown)

1-When and why did you start playing?

At age 15 I started with the guitar and a Casio keyboard. I’ve always had a love and special spiritual connection with music.

2-Which famous DJs do you admire? 

Why?  I really admire Carl Cox. He’s just very good at what he does but also an amazing human being. Same with others like Roger Sanchez, Robbie Rivera, Dj Pierre, Joachim Garraud, Green Velvet etc. They are not just amazing artists, they’re awesome people. The list is very long. There are so many that I admire.

3-Were you influenced by old records & other artists? Which ones? 

I was influenced by so many sounds from around the world…I grew up listening to everything, but the African records are the records that really shaped the way I appreciate sound. Artist like Fela Kuti , Manu dibango, Richard bona, Pepe Kalle, Diblo Dibala, Papa Wemba, Lokua Kanza, Zaiko Langa Langa and so many more. When you connect those sounds to house music, it can be really magical.

4-What makes dance music especially House music “good” to you?

House music especially tech house has this incredible potential to work well with the rich sounds of my Roots. I’ve been making different genres of music for more than 20 years now and when I started exploring tech house, it just felt natural and organic. It felt like a place I could bare my soul, my authentic self the easiest.

5-Let’s Talk about your music and your last work…

I try to explore various sub genres of dance music like edm, house, techno, and tech house and I think I will always continue to try and experiment with new sounds and styles. For me music has no boundaries. As for now I am working a lot on African inspired tech house music. I often blend African tribal beats and sounds into my productions to create something unique and different. It has a lot to do with where I come from and my roots. Luckily for me, DJs and fans are in love with it. My newest release is called “Wanamango” and the one before is a track called “Kinshasa” a title borrowed from the capital city of the democratic republic of Congo, a country extremely rich in music and sound in spite of the political and economic challenges.

6-How do you feel about the Internet in the music business?

Well, the Internet has disrupted and changed the music industry for good! Probably more than any other industry I can think of. The Internet has some what leveled the playing field for music creators. Technology has made it a lot easier for the average person to create quality records and distribute very easily digitally. However, at the same token the market is over flooded with music, which comes as a challenge for artists. How do you get noticed in a sea of your peers (I deliberately will not use the word competitors…. because music is about collaboration and working together in harmony)? For me I think it’s all for the best. Thanks to the Internet and technology I am able to collaborate with anyone across the planet. If we start thinking more in terms of “us” as opposed to “me” or “them” we will see that it’s been an incredible leap for all of mankind.

7-What are the plans for the future?

More underground releases and maybe some commercial releases as well in the near future.  I am also considering touring when the time is right.

8-Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

It often starts with a prayer! I’ve noticed that praying helps me become more receptive as I try to connect with the spiritual realms above, which to me is the source of all the sciences and arts. I would usually play or sometimes find a hook or loop that grabs me and then build and expand the whole track around that or from that point on. It helps me get started and overcome the writer’s block challenge that you sometimes have to deal with as an artist. Another thing I’ve been using a lot lately to save time is templates. They helps me get a clearer sense of direction. I will build the drums and bass around that first and then add effects, builds ups and other bells and whistles there after.

9- You recently got two nominations at the IMAs. How was that?

It took us by surprise but felt good to get some kind of recognition. I was nominated for best dance music producer category along with The Basilica, Foreign Movies, and Mr E who all contributed remixes on the Project and also best dance music EP category.

10- Tell us about “Wished”, the movie you recently got 3 features in…

Wished is the work of award winning film maker Dayyan Eng. It is a fantasy comedy based in China and I was lucky enough to have the features on it. Wished turned out to be a massive success. The movie’s budget was I believe 15 million, but made close to 80 million in theaters during first week of release and exceeded 100 million paid downloads in the first 2 weeks online.

11- 100,000,000 paid downloads in 2 weeks. That’s a lot! How does it feel to know that these many people have been touched in some way by your music? 

It’s good to know, but to me it really doesn’t feel like that because it’s just statistics. What makes the difference is the comments and messages that fans would occasionally send regarding the way the music made them feel at some given time. They remind me of why I am doing this in the first place.

Follow Eduke on social media @djeduke