gal-dem in conversation with Soulection’s Eden Hagos
22 Sep 2016
LA-born collective, Soulection is famed for pushing “The Sound of Tomorrow”. A few years ago, this notion would have been associated with the surge in trap beats, future-garage, or even more recently – this brand new craze with no ties to dancehall whatsoever, solely inspired by Bieber and/or Drake – “tropical house”!
However, this record label, radio show, group of party hosts and collective of artists, DJs and producers have truly managed to amplify and refine a soundbite in the timeline of Soundcloud’s turbulent rise on the internet, reflecting the times and platforming the musical talent.
Co-founded by Beats 1 host, Joe Kay and Andre Power five years ago, they have more than a few exciting DJs on their roster, including London-based Hannah Faith, Berlin’s IAMNOBODI, Washington’s Sango and Sudanese-born Eden Hagos.
After being raised in San Diego, Hagos relocated to LA, persevered and joined the collective of tastemakers and musical influencers. Ahead of her show at the inaugural AFROPUNK London this weekend, we caught up with Eden Hagos.
gal-dem: You recently performed at AFROPUNK NY, and you’re on the bill for the festival’s debut in London. Why do you think the AFROPUNK movement is important and what should we expect from your London set?
Eden Hagos: AFROPUNK is important because it fuses cultures and sounds from the entire African diaspora. It is an opportunity to truly express yourself and be around other brown faces.
Why do you feel it’s important to use your platform to expose people to your heritage?
I represent different things to different people. Music is my platform, which I use to give back through inspiration. I stand for greater representation of people of colour and women in music and technology.
How did your journey into music begin?
I grew up in a traditional, conservative household. During my teens, my uncle gifted me the Fugees album and that was the start. I was really inspired by that album and Lauryn Hill, as a woman and creative.
In college, I started focusing on instrumental music, soundscapes and all those hard to describe sounds. I would spend hours looking up samples and instrumentals of my favourite songs and compile playlists on Youtube.
After college I relocated to San Diego, where I started hitting the beat scene and met others into the same thing. I learned how to spin and started dropping mixtapes on Soundcloud. Soon after, I joined Soulection and things have been moving since.
Where do you source your music selection from?
I really like the terms “digital digger” or “selector” because that is what I am and what I do. The future is digital. I source most of my music online through different platforms. I am always listening and exploring, especially via Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
What type of feeling do you try to impart to listeners and attendees of your sets?
I really want my listeners to focus on my selections. I feel like my gift and what separates me from other DJs is the music I have. I spend a lot of time digging and searching. I make it a goal to try and educate as well as introduce new sounds to my listeners … also known as “future sounds”.
You recently tweeted, “women’s empowerment starts with how women treat other women”. Who are some of your strongest female bonds with?
I have a tight knit group of female friends that I’ve known since I was young. I’m also surrounded by inspiring mentors and advisors, in and out of the music industry who keep me grounded. I think that it’s important for females to come together to teach and learn from each other.
Who would be your dream DJ to go back-to-back with?
Pete Rock! He’s one of my favourite DJ-producers. He also played a big role in shaping hip-hop. His Petestrumentals album is still a big inspiration for me and got me through some heavy times.
It was also the first full instrumental music project I had ever listened to. So that was monumental for me, because up until that time I didn’t know that there was a huge market and demand for that.
You have a very strong visual identity which falls in line with your sound as a DJ. Why do you think it’s important to take pride in both your image and your sound?
I’m just being myself and I hope that shines through and resonates with my fans. I just try to cultivate and live an authentic life, as both an artist and human being.
Name three artists you are most excited to see on the line-up for AFROPUNK London.
Grace Jones, Goldlink and my Soulection labelmate Hannah
What’s in the pipeline for you?
I just want to continue to create and pursue ventures that fulfill me and hopefully inspire others along the way.
Catch Eden Hagos playing at AFROPUNK London this weekend. Tickets available here.