AraabMuzik and Le1f Shake Eclectic Grounds
If you were lucky enough to get a ticket, the Friday night AraabMuzik and Le1f concert at Eclectic was a night to remember. MPC drum machine prodigy AraabMuzik turned the hallowed halls into a magical madhouse Friday night. We all worshipped Araab, whose connection to the drum machine looked like it came from a science fiction movie where human minds and machines are one. But AraabMuzik wasn’t the only one who turned the crowd into an enchanted bouncing mass. Wes alumnus Le1f, the stage name of Khalif Diouf ’11, was back home too. He assaulted the audience with his grandiose ‘gayngster’ rap magic like a sonic witch, while CYBERGIGA (Sam Lyons ’12) DJed for him after playing his own creepy-drippy-clubby-bouncy set. Warming up the crowd for Le1f, Kilbourne (Jason Killbourne ’14) got people on their feet like only he knows how, blasting his blend of tropical trap club beats and wearing his favorite Hawaiian shirt. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience that highlighted Wesleyan’s vibrant music scene where students can, on their own, make such impressive events happen. To know a little bit more about the process of putting shows on and about how Le1f is doing since he graduated, I sat down for a talk with Diouf and show organizer Charlie Hanna ’12.
The Argus: Why did you want to organize this show, Charlie?
Charlie Hanna: I wanted to make a concert that a lot of students could enjoy that wasn’t just another indie rock show. AraabMUZIK would be able to appeal to a different demographic of students on campus. And I think there is a general lack of hip-hop shows at Wesleyan. It was also co-sponsored by [the student organization] Ujamaa , which definitely helped generate a larger buzz than most shows at Eclectic.
A: How did you prepare for it? Was it a long process?
CH: Miserable! (Laughs). Yes, very long process. The hardest part was recouping the artists’ costs, including his extensive rider. Also, I had to make sure there was a lot of hype about the show before I came back to school after break, so that people could get tickets online. That was something we had never done before. But, you know, the hardest part is the stuff that happens at the last minute, like a mixer getting stolen the morning of the show.
A: What happened?
CH: Most professional DJs require a special mixer with their equipment. We rented a $1,700 Pioneer DJM 800 mixer. It was delivered the morning before the show, and the UPS guy left it in front of the door of the house without getting a signature. Within a ten-minute time frame, it was stolen. So we had to somehow find a way to get a second mixer for Eclectic on the day of the show. Fortunately, I was able to contact somebody in Williamsburg who was willing to drive another mixer all the way out. And it arrived at nine o clock just in time for sound check. That was pretty lucky.
A: Why did you pick Le1f to play with Araab?
CH: I wanted to have a show that would bring back an alumnus. I think it is really important as an undergraduate to support our alumni. After we leave, Wesleyan will be our support system. It is extremely important that we, as undergraduates, keep that connection strong. I also wanted to show undergraduates that someone can graduate from this place and become successful as a musician.
A: Khalif, what have you been doing since you left Wes?
Khalif Diouf: Making music for the most part, working on my releases and other people’s releases. I do probably one show a month on average, and make music every other day. I’ve been collaborating a lot. I’ve been doing stuff with Boys Noize. I recently played a show with him at The Music Box in Los Angeles.
A: Is there anything new you would like to tell the students about?
KD: There is a lot of free stuff on the internet, obviously. The next release is for this spring. It is a mixtape LP, a collaboration with Boody B from Palms Out. It will be on Boys Noize’s label, BNR. And I’m probably going to work on something with Don Christian Jones ’12.
A: I heard something about you starting a record label project?
KD: Oh yeah, we are starting Camp and Street. It’s like a crew, with this one distribution where you can freely collaborate, support each other, furnish each others’ releases, and perform them. We’ve been doing a lot of music together, with Sam [Lyons] and Don and Casey [Feldman ‘12] and the homies.
A: Did you take any music classes at Wesleyan that you found helpful in making your own music?
KD: (Laughs) I’m the wrong person to ask for that.
If you want to hear more of Le1f’s music, try to (legally) purchase his LP this spring. As for AraabMuzik, Friday night coincided with the release of his latest album “Instrumental University” on Duke Records.