DJibouti has been making waves for a minute. This up-and-coming DJ, producer and artist is taking the New York City scene by storm with his underground roots and addictive tunes. Starting out by hustling his way to opening slots for legendary DJs like Louie Vega, DJibouti eventually began headlining his own events at clubs in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. Honing in on his craft, and refining his own unique sound – DJibouti shines amidst the saturated electronic space.
His latest offering, the EP “Crying in the Club,” is the pitch-perfect addition to his oeuvre. We’ve come to expect that groovy, eclectic mix of house and funk – which sets him apart in the industry. Drawing inspiration from kingpins like Kerri Chandler, Daft Punk, and Inland Knights – DJibouti has expertly crafted up a sonic language of his own.
This release, and debut EP, sees DJibouti transcend the confines of ‘DJ Producer’ – instead garnering acclaim for his energetic production and pop-tinged writing. Before “Crying in the Club” snowballs into a whirlwind of frenzy – we had the chance to sit down with DJibouti – and pick his brains. From scoping out the New York music scene, to the perils of electronic production – he spills all.
Head below to check out DJibouti’s EP “Crying in the Club”…
Head below to read the interview…
Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in the DJ scene in New York City?
Through making my own tracks and edits: eventually you just want to play them for others and spread the love. I learned to DJ the same way I learned to make music, just doing it. Feeling it out. For a while, I was either having parties in my apartment or going around NYC to different house parties’ with my little Controller, Laptop and Rokit’s (speakers) wanting to play my edits and remixes. Broke my computer countless times at these impromptu get togethers and got banned from my building for my parties, so I had to take the music elsewhere. With time, the DJing transitioned to a bigger stage, with louder speakers and a whole lot of more people.
How would you describe your sound and what sets it apart from other DJs in the city?
I don’t like to call myself a DJ, that’s secondary to DJibouti, I simply make music. That music all stems from a feeling, and I try to capture that and provide it when I spin. There’s nothing like seeing your friends and a great crowd of people dancing to your basslines, your samples, your grooves. It’s like scoring a beautiful free kick from outside the box with everyone watching. It’s pretty obvious that a lot of DJ’s around do it for the wrong reasons, you can hear it in their sets or see it on their instagrams. I’m here because I’m trying to create something that people get lost in.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind your new single (EP) “Crying in the Club”?
“Crying in the Club” is my first EP and it’s the culmination of my early sound. It’s like a checkpoint, a conclusion of what young DJibouti was but will always be. It’s a combination of my early artistic elements combining the lofi house aspect, with hints of OG house and bouncy tracks with airy vocals. Elements that would relate to crying in the club.
How has your sound evolved over the years and how do you continue to refine it?
Since I started making music, my friends always told me that I had ‘my own groove.’ I never knew whether or not what I was making ‘musically’ made sense, and to be honest I still don’t know if it does. I focus on feeling out groove and the rhythm, and if it makes me feel something deeper it’s likely that it would also make someone else feel that way. I just keep on doing what feels good and through trial and error, my sound has matured and developed a raw elegance that attracts a certain energy.
Can you speak to the experience of opening for and playing alongside legendary DJs like Louie Vega?
It’s incredible. Especially having positive feedback from someone like him is a sign to keep on doing what you’re doing.
How does your global background influence the music you play and create?
Carrying influence from my split heritage and the many places I’ve been fortunate to encounter, my exposure has surely played a part in my sound. Surely, the diversity of my experiences is what allows me to touch a global audience–using my form of house to bring divergent cultures together. Having a community of friends around the world is also a blessing digging for music and finding disruptive ideas.
Can you talk about the process of creating your debut EP?
One of my good friends always said to me that my music sounds like “crying in the club.” That always stuck with me, and I wanted to explore that direction because I could relate to it. I made all the songs at different periods within the last two years, with that concept guiding my production. Eventually I built up a project that felt like the proper culmination of what I want to put out into the world.
What do you hope to achieve with your EP and how do you want it to be received?
Sometimes house music is too niche for a lot of people or seems like it wouldn’t be something they would naturally want to listen to. I made something that holds house elements but is accessible to everyone. I’m hoping that my work helps introduce house to more people – and of course, I hope it makes everyone dance.
How do you approach creating sets and selecting tracks for your parties and events?
I try to recycle as few tracks as possible, only the bombs, and try new things out every set. And I always play my edits or unreleased tracks to get the crowd’s reaction, that’s when you can really feel what works and what doesn’t. Every track needs to have a DJibouti vibe.
Can you speak to the challenges of standing out in the electronic music space?
There are a handful of factors that make it harder to stand out in the electronic music space. It’s an oversaturated space already, especially now that house is becoming more mainstream. However, the freedom to experiment in the electronic music space made it more accessible for me to find my sound and keep on growing. It allows me to distinguish myself through the energy I bring and the feeling that comes with my bounce.
How has your success on streaming platforms like Soundcloud and Spotify impacted your career?
It’s insane. These tunes I’ve made in my bedroom are now shared across the world. It’s something really special to have a platform to communicate what you make with so many people. I get the most beautiful messages appreciating what I do. The thought of my music helping someone out through a difficult time is something I never thought I’d amount to, and now it’s just a gift to know that my music is a tool to spread love.
Can you talk about any upcoming projects or collaborations you have in the works?
Yes! Lot’s of DJibouti to come. I’m really excited for this project I’m working on, it’s an album in collaboration with my homie Feinte: sad boy lover vocals on bouncy dance beats. Really excited for all this stuff to come out – Crying in the Club was really just the start.
How do you see the NYC house scene evolving in the coming years?
I think it will eventually become the standard, even at the most commercial clubs they’ll be playing house, or housier things. It’s only natural for the cycle to come back to the real dance music. House music.
How do you see yourself fitting into the current electronic music landscape?
I don’t think about that. I’m not really trying to fit into a “landscape” or “genre,” I’m trying to capture what I’m feeling – either DJing or producing – and draw a connection to listeners and dancers alike.I try to capture what I feel at a specific time or place in my life hoping someone will relate, and I think that fitting in through that aspect is much more profound.
What advice would you give to aspiring DJs and producers looking to break into the industry?
Trust your ear! If you like what you’re making, it’s likely that someone else will too. I feel like art is more about trial and error than anything else, that’s how I go about my work. Make, make, make and keep on making, because eventually you’ll surprise yourself. Listen to your gut and never think about the “audience” when working on your projects, make it for you.