For the Alkebulan project West African EP, Philou Louzolo teamed up with Rapper Cool joe. The track will soon be released on Spotify and other streaming sites. But before all that happened we talked to the Afrobeat genius about his roots and his work.
Who are you? Where are you from?
I was born and raised in one of the southern provinces of The Netherlands (Zeeland, to be more precise). I finished a study for Graphic Design and I started playing and making music as a DJ/Producer in 2013. I’m proud of my Congolese, Nigerian and Sierra Leonean roots; every genre of music I support finds its way back to Africa one way or the other. Besides from the fact I want people to enjoy the music, I wish to make the public aware of the origins and respect the origins of the music genres I love so much.
How do you describe the genre and why did you choose this genre?
It’s a blend between traditional African music, Afro-American rooted music and electronic music from the early 90’s in America. Chicago and Detroit house music was also founded in the ghettos where a lot of black Americans started sampling old funk music. Practically it isn’t very different from what I’m doing right now. So I’d call the kind of music I produce and play „black music” because it was all founded and created by black culture.
So what do you think about the older generation of African musicians?
Fela Kuti is a full inspiration in every way, not only musically. He went to England to study, after he came back from Europe he combined his new colonial, western knowledge with everything he learned and loved from Africa. This was something new, and something we can still learn from today, both western world and Africa.
How does it affect who you are and how you move through life?
Fela was pro-Africa, he was proud to be an African and taught me that no matter how the western world sees us, be proud of your African heritage. It’s in his writings, in his music and in his voice. Listening to his music helped me a lot to become proud instead of being ashamed for being African. I could not have developed this far as an artist nor as a human being without Fela as an inspiration. For me, every black person who lives in a white society knows it’s hard to develop yourself as a well respected human being, just as every black person knows there comes a time in life that you are fully aware of the fact your place in society isn’t on the same level as the place of your non-black friends. I noticed I needed idols and examples in the form of black people to look up to; to know that it’s possible for us to be successful and be respected- even when the system isn’t really fair and made for us. Not only black musicians, but also black politicians, activists, actors, inventors, writers inspired me and helped me restore my faith as a black man. It’s not that there aren’t enough great stories about black people and black culture, but sadly there was a time where they didn’t tell stories about successful blacks in school, media etc., that’s why I needed to educate myself.
How does this influence your artistic expression?
I only play and create African rooted music, which is a wide term because just as I said before, every art form has its roots in Africa. But the fact that I sample traditional music by using western technology and computers is an example of how western and African worlds are being fused by creative people from our generation.
Check out his video for Alkebulan right here: