What have you been up to recently?

I’m currently quarantined in New York City — where I was raised and where my immediate family is still based — and have spent the majority of my time consumed with music, books, films, and Nike workouts. In an ideal corona-free world, I would’ve been back home in Berlin gearing up for festival season, like many of my peers in this industry. It’s a huge setback to accept, especially since there’s no particular end in sight yet, but fortunately, I still have my good health, alongside my loved ones, so it could, of course, be a whole lot worse. 

Where and how was the mix recorded? In what state of mind where you in?

I recorded the mix at home early afternoon after a bike ride and run. Fortunately, I still have a set of turntables, as well as a controller at my dad’s place, so I’ve been able to work on music during this time. I was feeling pretty amped and inspired from all of the adrenaline post-workout and jumped on the decks shortly afterwards. These days, I’m “traveling” vicariously through my records, listening to music from all over the world, including house-inspired ‘90s tracks produced in India and South Korea to underground NY house to ‘80s electronic and Italo disco to whatever leftfield tracks that get me in a groove. I found myself throwing all of the aforementioned genres in this mix, as it reflects what’s gotten me to dance alone these days, whilst self-quarantined.

Gabrielle Kwarteng
Gabrielle Kwarteng
What made the biggest impact on your style of djing?

I feel as if my style of DJing is constantly evolving and I don’t imagine that that aspect of my process will ever change. I’ve never had just one favorite genre of music and this eclecticism is heavily reflected across my sets. I love house as much as I love disco, just as much as I love soul and techno. The list could really go on. Since moving to Berlin, I’m ingesting a lot more electronic music, given the vast club scene there, and it’s really interesting to observe how in such a short period of time, it’s influenced my current sound and style. 

What made you take the step moving to Berlin and what spirit are you bringing from New York?

I’ve studied and lived in Europe in the past and had always envisioned myself returning there at some point. I was booked on a few festivals across Europe and the UK last year and decided to base myself in Berlin for the summer…and wound up living there ever since.

As far as my spirit, I’d like to believe that I’m bringing my inner essence of a being who simply enjoys having a good time, especially when celebrating music, and watching others revel in that same energy from my vantage point in the DJ booth. I’m a firm believer that energy is infectious, as I aim to maintain a positive one in everything that I do, and I’d say that this translates in the music that I choose to communicate with.

How are you experiencing the current crisis, especially as a member of the black american community?

This pandemic has been a very, very strange and surreal time for all of humanity. It’s transformed every single one of our lives, regardless of race, class, occupation and etc. And it’s beyond disappointing and infuriating to see the lack of response and initiative from the US government in handling this crisis, especially as it disproportionately attacks communities of color and lower classes across the nation. I do hope that we’ve overcome the worst part of this pandemic already, as New York alone has had over 10,000 deaths. But things appear to be improving, so I’m hoping that we’re on the path to recovery now.

Gabrielle Kwarteng
Gabrielle Kwarteng
What do you wish for the future?

It’s really hard to say what’s in store for next month, let alone our future. I’m looking forward to playing for a crowd again, regardless of how big or small it is – I’d happily play to ten people if I could. But I do wish that we can quickly return to a world where human interaction is no longer banned. Where hugging is permitted. Where we can dance near one another without facing any consequences. I definitely won’t be taking any of this for granted anymore. 

Finally, what’s the piece of music that keeps you currently sane in the corona crisis?

I wouldn’t say that there’s one particular song or artist that’s getting me through these strange times, as I’ve been listening to a variety of music that always depends on my mood. But there has been a heavy rotation of jazz, leftfield dub, and deep house that I’ve found to be incredibly meditative and uplifting, which is a feeling that I’m sure many of us are holding on to during this time.

Tracklist

Bappi Lahiri – Dream
Kima – Nani Nani (Club Mix)Jensen Interceptor – Route E [Power Station]
Donovan – Shabalala (Club Mix)
Sound & Motion – Shipwrecked (Robinson Crusoe Mix)
Kyoko Koizumi – Drive (Dub Mix)
Post Traumatic Drum Disorder – Death By Disco Ball
Paul Hardcastle – 19 (1985 The Final Story)
Ani – Love Is The Message (For Those Who Didn’t Hear It) (Club Vox Mix)
Dreamscape – Born
Acid Arab – Was Was
AceMoma – On Top
Transcendence – Magique Noir
Baltra – Supreme

Gabrielle Kwarteng
Gabrielle Kwarteng
Photo Credit: Guarionex Rodriguez, Jr.