Sasha Perera (Jahcoozi) – Exclusive Interview
Sasha “Mother” Perera – of London via Sri Lanka – is the vocal third of Berlin-based bass-heavy electronica trio Jahcoozi who have almost a decade’s worth of dope material in their holsters. She’s on a short DJ tour through India and we were lucky enough to get an interview with one of the fiercest women in electronic music today. She’s got one last gig at Pebble’s in Bangalore on Saturday night (tomorrow) so make sure to hit that up if you’re in the area!
IMPORTED GO(O)DS: If we’re not mistaken, this is at least your second visit to India? Last time was in November 2011 with the full Jahcoozi trio, and now you’ve been on a short solo run DJ’ing. How’s India treating you?
SASHA PERERA: I love coming to India! Although the truth is that i have a love-hate relationship with India – love the vibes but hate the elitism and the skin and vagina bleaching wash! [It] was great to play here for the first time in November – I’d never played for a whole club of South Asians who look like me. Of course, clubs in India tend to be much more elite than in Europe and Berlin in particular. A drink costs about 3 times the price that it does in Berlin and for us it’s very odd to find ultra posh lobster restaurants in clubs here. We never play in places like that in Europe but we were playing at the Blue Frog in Mumbai and I swear people were eating lobster! I’m patient though and i wanna play here nonetheless. Hopefully there is gonna be more music and less lobster here at some stage!
I had a brilliant DJ gig in Mumbai at Grime Riot Disco last week… Apparently one of the only parties in Mumbai which doesnt have a big shiny alcohol sponsor branded all over it. It was a lot of fun.
IG: What’s been your favorite gig in India so far?
SP: With Jahcoozi I loved playing in Pune. The crowd at High Spirits were basicially students. There were basically no hipsters and the drinks were not extortionately priced so the crowd who came were interested rather than just moneyed. Just a really normal bunch on Indians who weren’t particularly informed about electronic music but were screaming at the top of their voices before, after and during my show. It was great… I’ve attached a few photos to give you an idea…
IG: Any good finds on this India trip? Any music, art, clothes, design, places, people that stood out and you’d recommend?
I’m supposed to be performing a few tracks at a project at Tihar Prison in Delhi this afternoon. It’s a project where they are building in studios and music production facilities for the prison and a bunch of b-boys and the Ska Vengers are gonna be playing in the prison this afternoon. I’ve been asked to jump on the mic there. It’s gonna be special i think.
I enjoyed hanging out with loads of musicians and audiovisual artists here in India. I was in the studio with Ish from Sound Reasons yesterday, he’s got all this gear built by some mad Russian dude. In Bangalore we hung out with a guy called Yashaz who builds his own analogue gear. So there are definitely a few weirdo sound gurus here…
IG: As you travel a lot, where else have you been where you would say the electronic or global bass scene is really exciting these days?
SP: Difficult question… Hmm… All over the place actually. In Buenos Aires we met a lot of people through our friends at Zizek Records. In Kenya, we found incredible talents all over the place… Not necessarily electronic music but just amazing music and an openness to it at every level of society. The Kenyans have a lot of humour.
We met some freaks in China too…. like Cha Cha the chinese opera dancehall singer for example. I gotta say most of the electronic music i listen to actually comes from the UK though…. Maybe it’s just in my blood….
IG: What are your DJ sets like – what can people expect to hear?
SP: If I play early then I play a wide spectrum of stuff but if I play at the maintime then I tend to play straighter. It will be state of the art dance music – poly-rhythms and syncopated dance music with amazing sound texture. I guess u are gonna see me having fun playing the music i love…
(Here’s a recent mix from Sasha to give you a taste…)
(Here’s the Jahcoozi mix from their Wild City mix from November last year…)
IG: What are your future plans and what can we expect from Jahcoozi in the near future?
SP: A new album…. Working on it a the moment. I think it’s gonna sound entirely different to any of our other albums because we are working in a totally different way to how we’ve worked before…. Apart from that there are two new tracks which are dropping on Bpitch Control‘s new compilation very soon.
IG: Thanks Sasha! Definitely we’ll be waiting on the new Jahcoozi material. “Black Barbie” was my jam way back when!