Next week Voyage Direct present nr 7 in the series. this time by the ‘Dutch superstar in the making’ William.
In the mean time get yourself involved in William Kouam Djoko by reading this interview.
1.) For the people who haven’t read your biography yet, please tell us briefly who you are!
My given birth name is William Kouam Djoko. Djoko being my last name. I’ve been living in
Amsterdam for the passed 8yrs coming from Rijswijk near The Hague. Initially moving here was
for school purposes but i quit my marketing studies after two years to fully focus on music. For
7yrs, up to last year, I’ve been part of Dutch House outfit Jason and the Argonauts with members
Bandit&Shae and Newton Da Costa. First as MC on mic & fx and later they showed me the ropes
in making electronic music. Since 2008 I’ve been releasing as a solo artist. I have a quite
energetic style coming from a dancing background. I always reflect this in my DJsets and Live
performances. When I play Live I try to connect with crowds as much as I can, still using the mic
like I once started out with.
2.) Whom and what are your main influences? Anybody in particular that you are looking up to?
Being influenced is something I think an artist of any form cannot go without. Just having your
daily interactions with other people or seeing things around you already take part in being
influenced in my perception. But in growing up I must say having lived in the era of Michael
Jackson gave me a big drive. As long as I can remember there was nothing I’d rather do than
being on a stage. So I could say MJ was my biggest influence growing up. Also having African
blood flowing through me and getting a lot of Love from the home front make me confident
enough to do what I do.
Is there anybody I look up to in particular..? Don’t dare to say. Perhaps, to keep it close to home,
you could say I have a great deal of respect for my friends & family. I’m blessed with a great
crowd of people around me. The list would be endless but what it comes down to is that they are
all very good at what they do and that right there is already a big influence on my day-to-day life.
3.) What is your connection to Tom Trago and Voyage Direct?
Of course I’ve known the producer/artist Tom Trago over some years now, but I never really met
the guy up to november last year. I guess you could say we connected since. On Dec 5th after
Steve Rachmad’s b-day at Studio 80, where Ricardo Villalobos played, I went on giving him a cd
with some of my tracks at an afterhour. Come NYE we met again at Trouw where he told me
he’d love to release some tracks of mine. I was ecstatic ‘cause Tom’s a kick ass producer and one
of those people I think very highly off. Now to have an EP on the greenblue fade of Voyage
Direct is simply incredible! All releases have been world-class for what I’m concerned and I’m
honored to be part of that.
4.) Tell us a bit about your special use of rhythm and vocals. Is that your own voice you are
Whenever I do music it’s hard for me two do the same thing twice. You could say I have my
signature sound but for me every project I start stands for something new. So rhythmically it’s
never easy for me just to go badoemdoem-bap and use that rhythm every time and again. It’s very
boring to me. I always feel the need to create something people go like: “ok, interesting.. how did
he come up with that”. Sometimes my shit’s just plain weird, but I like it like that. Getting
myself, or the listener, out of mine/his/hers comfort zone.
Often I include my own vocals to make it even more personal and because I play Live I get to do
something extra with it. On We Are Your Brothers & Sisters however I sampled from a short
5.) Tell us about “Enforce YS / We Are Your Brothers & Sisters”. Are you always trying to bring
a positive message across?
The tracks both did not come as a package originally, but come to think of it the message behind
both while making them resounds very well. The YS in Enforce stands for Your Self. The track is
quite abstract and can make me feel lost sometimes, as I can feel in real life as well. We live in an
amazing and confusing time where we no longer have to stand on the sideline and where we can
make a difference. The internet is full of countless examples of this. But I think the problem most
of us have, myself included, is how to get yourself heard in a meaningful way. For me this is the
feeling behind Enforce YS in which I impose my views of what music can be to the world.
WAYB&S is a track with a serious undertone. All the while it’s an intense party track for the
dancefloor. The theme of brotherhood of course has been done lots of times already in house
music. I am perpetuating that theme. The undertone though is slightly deeper than that.
The voice you hear is that of a 10 yr old English schoolgirl. She just portrayed executing a
classmate in front of the whole group in a re-enactment of the horrors that child-soldiers go
through in Africa. It’s a subject I was really into around that time last year. While making the
track I came across this short movie placing those horrors in our civilized western world. The
voice pitches down so it resembles the voice of a young girl, maturing and evolving into the
voice of an old man. Meaning it affects all of us. I felt the need to make a connection between
what I am doing and being a conscience human being who is aware of the world around him. I
doubt me making this track will make a big difference. But if I can raise awareness for even a
tiny fraction among my audience I feel it’s worth the effort.
It’s not that I always try to bring such a conscience message across with everything I do. But
what I miss sometimes in music is engagement. Engagement with society. Me as an artist I’m
living a fantasy life, living my dream if you will. When you balance that out to what’s happening
globally, from time to time it doesn’t feel right. So when I get the chance to reflect that feeling in
what I do I’ll share this in my music.