Asna: “Electronics is a bit like the realm of all possibilities”

The Ivorian dj Asna took part for the first time in the Transmusicales of Rennes. On the Green Room of the exhibition center, his techno cavalcades drawn from his African roots caused a sensation. Like his piece Abissa. Meet.

It’s your first time at the festival, what did you know about the Transmusicales?

I just knew that it was a festival that had a certain notoriety and fame, one of the biggest in France.

How was the contact with the organizers?

It was with my booking agency (Wart), which is used to working with the Transmusicales, that the link was made.

What do you think determined their choice?

I don’t want to be pretentious, but I think that the style of music I play, which is very hybrid, is perhaps what makes a kind of novelty and difference.

Precisely, what makes your difference?

Already, I can’t qualify what I do, to put my music in a category. There’s electro, it’s very percussive, there’s rhythm, it’s very steeped in my African culture and identity. I explore everything that electronics allows.

In electronics, what marked and influenced you?

I am a very spiritual person and I have discovered something infinite in spirituality. I find that in electronics. His universe allows an infinity of things and experiments, with still a whole field of unknowns that fascinates me. There are certainly many possibilities in the organic but sometimes, we find ourselves limited. Electronics is a bit like the realm of all possibilities. It is this limit that allowed me to shape the idea that I had of music.

Which artists made you want to take the leap?

I’m a huge Daft Punk fan. When I was younger, I said ”I want to do the same”. Then, when I became interested, I discovered the experimental, these machines which make it possible to generate sounds. I am self-taught, I go to studios, I meet people, I ask how it works. I met Praktica and I learned a lot, it was with him that I took my first steps. I am not autonomous but I try to always be in this learning and this research.

When we come to Transmusicales, do we prepare something special?

I always prepare my sets, I try to tell a story, to have something coherent, to create rhythms, to take the public with me on this journey, not just to play songs.

Does the public influence you in the evolution of the set?

Oh yes, very much. It’s essential. I feel this energy a lot. I’m really connected to the public, I can’t ignore that. I think it also comes from my culture. With us, music is something alive, it’s an extension of being. We celebrate in music, we are sad in music, it tells something. I give it and it must be received!

Electronic music in Africa is better known today. Do you perceive it?

Yes, it’s true, we have South Africa and East Africa, which are pioneers. There is a whole generation and a movement of electronic music of which I am a part. It is also the influence of this globality in which we are today. There really aren’t any borders anymore. We are one in a globalization with the Internet which has made things enormously easier.

This music, do you prefer to create it alone or surrounded?

Doing it together is essential. Even if, in a creative process, we need, at some point, a kind of autarky to design with clarity. My last track, Abissa, I did with a Parisian producer, Anyoneid. Alone, it would not have given what it is. The story of this track comes from the first time I heard the percussions of this celebration, I said to myself: ”these are the same rhythms that I hear in Berlin techno, whereas these are drums of at home, it makes me do something.” I already had the thing in my head but I didn’t master this techno and trance side. As a result, this meeting gave this title.

Is it a process that takes you time or is quite fast?

For my two projects, it went quite quickly. What took time was the visual production, the clips. For me, the visual aspect is important, I see the music. When I hear something, there is immediately a story that comes with it, an emotion.

Being a woman in this very masculine environment, how do you perceive it?

We are more and more numerous, it is a positive aspect. I have a lot of chances at my level as an Ivorian. This society is matriarchal, so women have a recognized place. I spent four years in Morocco during my studies, it’s a little more complicated for my colleagues there. But we are at a time when the woman is recognized for what she is and we tend towards an equity for which we have been fighting for quite some time. Those who were before me did most of the fighting but there is still a lot to do. And as a DJ, there is a wave of women arriving in Côte d’Ivoire, I’m so happy to see these little sisters mixing, or in other professions in which they were not expected. They take possession of their freedom.

This emergence, do you see an explanation?

Because there are others who have dared to do it before us. I don’t know if I would have left my room one day if I hadn’t seen other girls mixing in front of everyone. I know that my meeting with the Ugandan dj Kampire reassured me a lot, during my first festival in Burkina Faso. I said to myself: ”ah yes, it is possible”. At that time, I gained more self-confidence.

photo (c) Rodolphe Pete

Asna: “Electronics is a bit like the realm of all possibilities” – Toutaculture