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Red Bull Music Academy & Major Lazer go Carnival crazy

Doc Danneka interview ahead of Notting Hill appearance

As August Bank Holiday weekend approaches, Notting Hill's annual carnival rolls into view in all it's feather and glitter covered fanfare. As well as soundsystems and floats pumping out reggae, dub, d&b and house (you can catch DJ Mag's Adam & Joe on Sancho Panza's towering stage on Middle Row), Red Bull Music Academy team up with Major Lazer for the fifth year for their own now traditional party on Monday 27th August – this follows an appearance at the Nottingham Caribbean Carnival on Saturday 18th August.
As well as the genre-leaping Diplo and his Major Lazer Soundsystem, the line-up is a hefty blend of Caribbean flavours, hip-hop offshoots and bass heavy dance, including Red Light and Dread MC, the chart topping Sean Paul, David Rodigan, Dre Skull, Trinidadian soca legend Machel Montano, New Orleans bounce star Nicky Da B, Lil Silva, Melé, Raf Riley and three renowned Red Bull graduates, Hudson Mohawke Lunice and Doc Daneeka, the latter of whom we interview below.
With past surprise guest including M.I.A, Santigold, Lee Perry and Toots & The Maytals, expect other big names to be joining Diplo onstage.
You can apply for free tickets to their Notting Hill Carnival stage from 10am on Thursday 16th August here.
How long have you been going to carnival and do you have any traditions there? Stages you visit, food you eat?
“You know, its pretty nuts. I've grown up for part of my life in london, and always been back and forward between there and Wales, but I've never actually been to carnival despite so many attempts. So this year is super special for me to go for the first time, as well as play. I'm pretty damn into Caribbean food so I'll be getting busy with the food.”
You recently moved to Berlin. What are the street parties like there?
“Yeah pretty great. Recently Rashad and Spinn played in a tank that went around the city. There's loads of different stuff like that on at this time of year.”
Your album headed into deeper, darker territory but are you going to be playing for the sunshine for the Red Bull Music Academy party?
“Yeah definitely. When I play solo it tends to be more colourful and upbeat anyway. The 'They!Live' project is more of a way for us to focus on darkness and techno, this will be more bashment and bruk.”
You're from Wales, not necessarily known for it's clubbing, but there seem a few people following in your footsteps like Rushmore and Ratcatcher. What holds the scene together there?
“To be honest, I've been out of the Swansea scene a while now, so it's hard for me to comment. It used to be very vibrant, with good small club nights and a really good after hours party scene. I think Cardiff is different and it holds more production talent; as you say they have producers like Ratcatcher, Chesus and the C.R.S.T. Boys, as well as The Organ Grinder who is really starting to make waves now. Also, there seems to have been a real embrace for house music in the last couple of years in Cardiff with nights at the old bank vault really doing well.”
What other involvement have you had with Red Bull Music Academy?
“Well I attended RBMA 2011 as an applicant. It was amazing and since then I have played a couple of shows for them. I recently just did the Sonar stage and it was easily up there in the best gigs of my life bracket!”
What's next for you personally and alongside Benjamin Damage?
“I'm currently finishing off a 12" for 2020Vision and am spending some time writing solo stuff. then me and ben will be getting back together early next year to do the second 'They!Live' record. We can't write that shit in the summer!”