Part 2

Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I will describe a typical day during a period where I am working on a project. In short, for me music has to be immersed in the fabric of my daily activities because there is just too much too accomplish in 24 hours. On my way to and from work, I typically listening to the latest version of what I most recently recorded in the studio to review, correct and add to. If I am still composing, I will literally have the track on repeat, humming and tapping along until I hit a groove. Once I get something I like, I am using the voice note app to capture my ideas because they go as quick as they come. My goal by the end of this exercise, which could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, is to complete my composition and re-record it using two phones (one with the track and one with my drumming or humming the melody of whatever instruments I’ve created for). Music definitely gets me through the day and is often a place of comfort, as the everyday hustle and bustle of corporate American can be very foreign at times.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?

Lomami as the album’s first single is probably the best example. Inspired by great times at family events dancing with my (late) older cousin Diaka to Mutwashi music (one style of Congolese popular music). There were a few modern and traditional songs that inspired the guitar parts, I wanted to capture that same joy we use to experience at the family gatherings but showcase the Ngoma at the forefront of the music. Justin played a huge role in making this record what it was in his ability to stage the song, add his musical perspective and engineering expertise, it probably took us over a year of refining with over 20 versions before we arrived at the final  
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?

Inspiration is key for me to be creative. It is sensitive and can be as unpredictable as the weather meaning when it's here, take advantage and capture those thoughts, because it could change in a second.
What inspires me is other artists, great bodies of work and thinking about my ultimate goal of expanding the love and appreciation for Ngoma music. Realizing that there is a need to create and be prolific is a characteristic that many great artists have. This motivates me.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?

For me the experience of playing live music and writing music in the studio was very different and similar at the same time. It was extremely different because I had not had much recording experience prior to this project and spent most of my artistic career performing.
Performing allows for ebbs and flows, level changes, improvisations and imperfections that ultimately add to and are accepted in the live experience, these same qualities do not lead to successful recording experiences. However, composing for me, most of the time starts with improvisation, which is eventually built upon.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?

The tone of a certain drum will call certain ideas out of me. I have a composition in mind and I identify/test which drums match the composition in my mind.  
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?

Touch and sound are definitely connected for me. The title of the album “Tembo Kia Ngoma” means the wind of the Ngoma but can also be translated as feeling the winds, feeling the vibrations of the Ngoma. So, feeling sound through the wind and vibrations is very present in this music and on this album. I have also experienced shutting off a sense to heighten another i.e., shutting out sight and closing my eyes while playing to hyper focus and to get more enveloped in sound and touch of playing the Ngoma
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?

My approach to art is meant to educate, provide enjoyment, and to serve as a bridge between communities as well as a way for people to learn about the amazing music that comes from the Kongo Kingdom.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?

I believe music has and will always be strongly intertwined in the fabric of our lives because everyone is so much more connected and anyone can upload a song and immediately have a huge audience, we will have many more musicians and interpretations of music to service, which I think is a good thing. Music will continue have more global and international voices just not sure how the music industry will respond to this though but there is much more competition for sharing music outside of the radio

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