donaeoDonae’o, the man behind the classic bangers Devil In A Blue Dress and African Warrior can definitely be considered the king of funky house. Still not slowing the pace in his venture he has one of the hottest albums of the summer, Party Hard out now. Munching at the back of his local KFC, Flavour caught up with the man himself to talk about his new album, Lethal Bizzle and fame.

Tell us all about your new album Party Hard. Is it dance music?
To be honest, I’ve been heavily influenced by dance music so I just wanted the album to emphasize those aspects. You can find a mixture of jungle, drum and bass, electro and funky house which is the exact combination that I desired. I wanted to make it a little more of a dance, upbeat album. I just hope everyone likes it because every tune I’ve put in there I think is banging, but even though I think they’re all banging, that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone one else thinks it’s banging. All I can say is that I can promise you that I’ve given you my best work.

Any interesting collaborations?
There are no artist collaborations as such on this album, but there are producer collaborations with Delio D’Cruz, Delinquent and a producer from Canada called Suges. Apart from that, the whole album has been produced by me because I wanted it to be a CV to show everyone what I’m capable of behind the desk.

How was it working with Lethal Bizzle? Any interesting stories?
It was good fun and eye-opening as well because most people know when they come to me they just want what I’m known for which is funky. So they might hear something and not necessarily like it but still go for it because it’s popular, but Lethal wasn’t like that. We ended up giving him a funky track as he was open to new ideas and he was just letting me be the producer so it was all good.

Did you always see yourself going into the funky genre?
If you look at my history, I was always involved with every genre when I was old enough to get involved. I make garage, grime, bassline, I haven’t tackled dubstep yet but I’ll probably end up making a dubstep tune. It’s all about funky now but I’ll probably end up making the new wave of UK dance music that comes in the future so I’m always kind of moving and adapting from scene to scene.

How was the genre first introduced to you?
From listening to dope DJs like Super D and Marcus Nasty, raving and clubbing and just seeing the old vinyl carriage come through. It took me a while though. I tried to fight it for a bit, but I liked the music so much I thought I need to make this.

What do you think it is about funky that has got everyone so into it? Why has it gone down a storm?
Everyone likes raving especially in this country because we’re very dance music orientated. For a while all people were playing was garage and old skool but nobody’s making that music now. I think it’s the fact that it’s new music, and everyone needs something new. I’m sure in autumn you’re going to buy new clothes and a couple of months later you’re going to need a new hairdo, so it’s the same with music. After a while you can’t go crazy to something that you’ve already heard a million times.

In what way would you say fame has affected you?
Nah, I’m still the same person that I always was. In fact, I really don’t like it to be honest because everyone has their own agenda. Where I live, I’m just Donae’o, they don’t really see me as something big, but it’s part of my job and I’ve learnt to accept that.

What about the ladies? I’m sure it’s helped you in that department?
I’m in a relationship so I can’t even look at that to be honest.

You must be getting a lot more attention, though.
Not really, see I’m not that type anyway. If a girl approaches me she will end up knowing that too.

Okay, so what’s next for Donae’o?
I’m currently working on my second album and that’s really the next plan.

Party Hard is out now

Words by Nadifa Sheikhey



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