The founder of Glasgow’s renowned Highlife parties and originator of the ‘Marimba Jam’, d’Souza defines what it is to be a globe-trotting artist better than most. A keen fascination in the transnational cultural exchange known as the “Black Atlantic,” African polyrhythms and the timbres of Latin American music has spawned various projects, notably the Highlife World Series – working with Esa Williams to recruit young musicians specialising in traditional instruments, those releases fused Western dance music tropes with the indigenous sounds of Cuba, Uganda and Kenya respectively. In short, this Goa-born luminary has lead countless fans off the beaten path in his sonic explorations. A musical nomad through-and-through, here’s an insider’s look at what typically fills his record bag.
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The first track that springs to mind when you think ‘dirty little rave’?
Glasgow Anthem, Ralph Rosario – ‘You Used to Hold Me’. Play this in any club in my home town and it’ll go off. I remember playing it in the dirtiest of dirty raves, The Binnin, around ten years ago, and of course it got some reaction. HWFG!
The record that defines your formative raving years?
I went to a LOT of parties put on by Slam and Soma as a teenager. ‘Positive Education’ remains Slam’s best tune and stands the test of time. It provided many young Glaswegians like me a gateway into lot of classic Detroit house and techno. Hearing this over the Arches (RIP) sound system was a goosebumps moment, every time.
The record that never leaves your bag?
I know this has now been overplayed but we made this one of the first go to tunes of our early Highlife parties, dropping it at just the right moment every night. It became a ‘thing’. I still take it with me, but play it less as heard many one too many DJs playing it out.
The last record you bought?
I just went record shopping in India, which was a joy. You can hear some of my finds on my Radio Highlife / Worldwide FM show, one that stands out is ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’.
The record you’ve been playing that begs for a rewind?
The last rewind I got was in Bombay. I got to play for an extra hour as the promoters paid off the cops, which is not very usual. Having an extra hour allowed me to play a bunch of random ‘closing’ tunes at the end, and one that got a rewind was the classic Roni Size/Reprazent track, ‘Down’.
Go-to record to save a dancefloor?
That bassline works every single time
Best/most annoying request you’ve received from a punter?
“Play some dance music.”
You’re booked to close a large festival stage to a crowd of 5000. What do you finish on?
Been closing my festival sets with my remix of Oumou Sangaré.
Same question, but to a crowd of 250.
Ach, might do the same… although I’ve been road testing new material, so maybe my new one coming on Disco Halal.
Illustration by Ellie Forman Peck.