This is the end of Okonkole Y Trompa. I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone; nothing happened here for quite a while now, I did not even bother to repost the NTS show on the blog this year… My bad, I should have. Writing this is not that sad, really. All things must end, and rather than vanish without a sight I thought I’d be happy to say a few words and upload a few more songs to the YouTube channel.
When Satoshi and I started Okonkole Y Trompa in 2015 we were genuinely interested in sharing music that seemed to us “obscure” and that was not available online. More importantly, we tried to provide as much context as we could by writing – sometimes quite clumsily – on a blog rather than just posting music to a YouTube channel, something to help grasp music that sounded so alien to our ears. We were not disseminating fragments of a well-kept secret to a greater audience, we were sharing new music that appealed to us as we were discovering the infinite vastness of the world. I don’t think we had any ulterior motive. Music From Memory just released its first compilations and digging was far from being sexy yet. It was synonymous with bleak record fairs and unpleasant sellers, car boot sales in the least bucolic places. Our models were not sexy neither: blogs from the late 2000’s tended to be run by possessed nerds, frantically uploading the most insane and otherworldly music to Megaupload. They were quite cryptic repulsive blogs at first site. I remember how, as a high-schooler, I felt like I was gaining access to a long-lost forbidden knowledge, checking this blogs’ latest entries religiously every evening, coming home from school. I’d download everything and listen to it on the school bus the next morning. It felt like I was being “initiated” – it sort of felt the same way than when older people got you into playing MMORPG’s or Warhammer.
If we’re guilty of something, it’s probably to try to make things a little sexier. Things got weird when people started calling us “selectors”. I’ve been deejaying since I’m 14, and I’ve always been keen on mixing properly, providing an exhilarating experience to people on drugs in a club. I never considered myself a “selector”, I do consider myself a “DJ” though. And I’ve always considered Satoshi a great DJ too. What terrible reality lies behind this word? I think you know. And I sure never wanted to embrace the “culture”. Late 2000’s diggers culture was already a bit shady: bunch of 30/50 year old slightly misanthropic and/or misogynistic blokes ruminating in dusty record stores or playing dusty records in bars with the lamest sound systems; but what came next was way worst. Picture yourself a bunch of dudes in their late twenties / early thirties who attended the same business school and who now meet in audiophile bars to play their latest “finds” and “blind buys” on Discogs, sipping natural wine. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think it ought to be a rich kid leisure, and certainly not something to be gatekept by hollow men.
Where has the whole opensource ideology from the aforementioned blogs gone? I know early Internet utopian ideas were Californian new age bullshit, but come on, are we supposed to be so cynical as to accept to let uninspired happy fews appropriate music that way? Digging for music is perhaps the most accessible hobby one can think off these days. Go to a record store, or go on soulseek, soundcloud, whatever, it’s just as good. Look for the stuff you find unsettling, things you don’t really understand. Watch films that intimidate you. I think that’s one way to find joy in the world we’re living in.
I’m not biting the hand that once fed me – there was a time when the blog’s notoriety got me gigs in Europe. I eventually made great friends thanks to that, and have fantastic memories in Madrid, Vienna, Edinburgh, Berlin, Tokyo etc. But these friends became friends not because of their love for “rare records”, but because there was eventually more to life to them than speculation on Discogs.
Sometimes I feel like the thrill is gone, nothing seems “obscure” and “weird” the way it was 10 or 20 years ago, everything has been reissued, remastered, etc.And then something violently proves me wrong: a record, a film, a book that hits me so hard. We’ll never reach the limits of human creativity and intelligence and I have many more epiphanies to live.
I’m definitely not feeling bitter. Just deeply annoyed by a couple of things, like the fact that we couldn’t help but fuel speculation on records each time we posted a new song on YouTube. I’m proud in a way, thanks to all the people who wrote me lovely messages. And relieved as I feel like I played my part and brought Okonkole Y Trompa to a satisfactory ending. There’ll be one last NTS show in December to round things off, then I’ll move on to new projects – maybe I already did.
Since 2015, Okonkole Y Trompa has played a great part in my existence and so are the people I met along the road. If you’re in Amsterdam and you want quality music advice, Satoshi is working at Rush Hour Records, I’m sure you’ll meet him easily either there or at some record store in the city. And if you want to contact me, I’m sure you’ll find a way.
That’s it, I’m getting a little nostalgic already, I guess it’s time to end this text :’)
Hope you’ll enjoy these last few songs.