EA Wave (short for East African Wave) is a five-piece art collective based in Nairobi made up of DJs/producers Ukweli, Sichangi, Hiribae, Nu Fvnk and Jinku.
They’ve been championed in the West by Boiler Room, Red Bull Music Academy, 1Xtra, and Worldwide FM among others – as well as securing of African coverage. The collective is readying the release of ‘High Tide’ their debut outing on vinyl presenting new sounds from their native Kenya.
Across the five-track EP, you’ll hear beautifully crafted beats, hazy synths, and inch-perfect bass, constructed for the dancefloor. Each member has contributed a track and our pick of the bunch is HIRIBAE’s smooth cut ‘Different Strokes’ which we’re excited to exclusively premiere below.
The shuffling electronic beat, coupled with airy synth textures create a layered production that oozes with HIRIBAE’s signature soulful soundscapes.
Ahead of his upcoming EP, we chat to them about the new record, their creative process, the East African music scene and much more.
Hi, thank‘s for taking the time to do this! So, can you talk us through how the five of you connected?
We all met online on SoundCloud through a shared musical taste.
Tell us about the new EP. What made you put these five songs together?
Jinku: We were asked to contribute tracks for a vinyl release. The greater question is why the name ‘High Tide’? High Tide is the name of our monthly event series, It’s a space where we play the music we make and love, and we felt that name resonates the feeling of EA Wave and the EP translates that very well.
How do your tracks come together? Do you write separately or as a collective?
Jinku: For this particular record we all wrote individually in our pocket universes, then showed each other what we made. This method harkens back to the days where our collective started, the on SoundCloud. You had no idea what song the other would drop; you experienced it for the first time with all the listeners. That was the same energy here, there was a deadline placed, and everyone just submitted their final songs. Weirdly enough all songs gelled into each other. Generally, we all write together in a room, jam around, record it and arrange it later.
When can we expect a full-length album from EA Wave? AIso any individual projects you’re working on that you wish to talk about?
Jinku: I think of EA Wave like the Marvel Universe, you didn’t get the Avengers movie immediately you know there was a build-up to it. Expect lots of solo projects and various project combinations between members before the full album drops. In the meantime, we have a great slew of singles lined up. Alango with Makadem is out, as well as Dala featuring Mankind, all different vibes but underpinned by 70s Kenyan post-rock.
Ukweli: We are currently working on our album along with a few other side projects. Expect more music really soon.
How would you describe the East African music scene right now? Any artists we should be checking out?
Nu Fvnk: Young people are getting included in event line-ups and on the radio too. It’s hard to describe right now, but artists are for sure creating dope shit. And we’re just starting and are getting better.
Ukweli: it’s bubbling, there’s a lot of new artists putting in the work. I would say Xenia Manasseh, M3, KMRU. There’s too many to mention.
What’s the biggest challenge facing young musicians in Nairobi at the moment?
Jinku: I feel that with the internet and a bit of imagination and perseverance, there is no limit is except ourselves.
Nu Fvnk: We are a young industry, and we are building it in real-time. We are educating ourselves and fans at the same time. In a few years, we’ll get to see the culture which we have helped foster.
Ukweli: I would say it’s just the infrastructure like having functional performance rights organizations etc.
Thanks for the chat guys. Any last words?
Nu Fvnk: Introduce us to a friend.
Ukweli: Get the High Tide vinyl, we hope you love it.
High Tide Tracklisting:
A1. Sichangi – Where Does The Tide Go
A2. HIRIBAE – Different Strokes
A3. Ukweli – Maralal’s Groove
B1. Nu Fvnk – Happening In The Grey Area
B2. Jinku – Pearl Of India
High Tide is out on 13/12 via Byrd Out. Pre-order here.