The LA Duo on Their New EP, Warm Pulse...And Canoes and K-Pop
The formidable moniker Nguzunguzu has been raining beats and consonants upon the internet for a few years, with countless mixtapes, remixes, and the Vicki Leekx collaboration with MIA forever stamped on their CV.
Smack in the middle of a European tour and on the verge of releasing their new EP Warm Pulse, the L.A. duo Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof chatted with us about meeting Diddy, K-pop, and how annoying it is when people think “DJ” means “One Dude.”
What’s in store for the new EP coming out? How has your music evolved since you guys started?
We have an EP coming out on HIT. There are five tracks. It’s called Warm Pulse and it’s out July 3rd. Not sure if there’s an evolution exactly, but this record is pretty unique sounding we think, it’s still sad sexy scary.
Heard you met Diddy recently. Can one of you tell me the story? What’s he like?
We made music for the Kenzo Paris womens 2012 fall collection. Diddy came to the show and afterwards came to the afterparty where we were DJing. He hung out in the booth with us and gave us a CD of Cassie remixes. Cassie showed up too. They were super nice and cool, and followed by loads of camera flashes!
Watch NGUZUNGUZU’s recent video for “Water Bass Power (Timesup Sand Mix)”
What does the NGUZUNGUZU canoe namesake mean to you now? Does the meaning still carry the same weight when you chose it? Did you have any alternate names when you started out?
We picked the name NGUZUNGUZU because we really liked it as a name to make music under. We liked how it sounds and how it looks as text. We also liked that an NGUZUNGUZU is a sculpture that guides canoes and wards off evil water spirits. We never had any alternate names for our group though. After a while, your name is your name. Our name always happens to be a conversation piece though, and something that people always ask about in interviews!
You guys met in art school. What fine art were you studying at the time? Have you continued to pursue those passions or is it all about music now?
Sound, printmaking, painting, film, video, … anything really. Still into those things, but music has been a focus and the way we still interact with the art institutions as well.
Are you huge self-promoters? What’s important to you when it comes to your image as musicians?
Well it’s easy to realize we are a duo. There’s a lot of misinterpretations on the web and stuff. Since we are DJs and producers people generally always think of those as being single males. But I don’t know if we are so shadowy or understated perse. We are not huge self promoters. It is important people know we are a duo, that we are DJs and producers, that Asma is an amazing female DJ and producer, and that we collaborate with really rad people — and we have a loads of music/mixtapes on the internet.
What inspired you guys to start dropping mixtapes together? What was that ‘Eureka we have musical chemistry’ moment?
We just started sharing loads of tracks and collecting house and club records and recording club sets off Baltimore radio. We just started doing it for the fun of it. we were living in separate cities and we would e-mail each other music. Once we hung out we made about 30 improvised tracks and recorded them to cassette. When listening back in the car, it was sort of the moment we realized,this is great and we want to share it with our friends! After meeting Kingdom, we got inspired to move ahead with it as a project.
You guys get along okay on the studio and on tour?
Yes and no. We are together a lot so it gets annoying sometimes.
You both seem like super nice people. What pisses you guys off?
Thanks. Shady people, and waking up really early.
Daniel, you’re from Oklahoma City, right? What the hell was it like for you growing up there?
Yes I grew up in Oklahoma city. There were tornadoes all the time!
Asma, are you still collaborating with MIA at all? What did you think of her latest stuff?
No, we aren’t currently collaborating, but on tour, I did hear a few of her new tracks and they are sooo beautiful! She uses the sickest drums, her style is very unique. I’m really excited to hear the remix of “Bad Girls” with Rye Rye, Azealia Banks, and Missy Elliot.
Asma, we hear you’re really into 90s music – any influences from back in the day that inform what you do?
Hahaha, music made in the 90s isn’t a genre! I did grow up in the 90s, and watched loads of music videos on MTV/ BET/ and the BOX. So, I know all the words to like a 311 song or P.O.D; but R&B is the biggest influence on me personally. The beats can be practically anything, any bpm, any drum; there’s so much freedom to it.
Who are your favorite new artists right now? How about some global artists?
And here’s the most important question: what do you think of K-pop?
K- Pop is awesome, I love all the girl groups! Especially the one with 20 girls! #DOMINATION