Sea trip!  The new DIY sound of Nigerian nightlife

Sea trip! The new DIY sound of Nigerian nightlife

The biggest obstacle to MOVES was the rapid creativity of cruises, as they released their first international collection of cruise rhythms as a four-part EP series. However, documenting the early days of this movement was a rewarding task.

“We signed some stuff that’s coming out six months after you signed it, and it’s crazy when things are moving so fast,” McQuaid says.

This has added to a problem since EPs will be released onto vinyl during a time when urgently needed plants are lagging behind orders. The inconsistency of capturing such intentionally disposable digital audio was too good to be missed.

“We wanted to print on vinyl because we wanted to do this kind of ridiculous thing of taking that ‘obsolete’ sound and recording it. Vinyl is a ridiculous shape – it’s a fancy vintage format, which I absolutely love. But I liked the wrong thinking of taking this whole sloppy thing, which In some cases it’s just mp3 files without any real project files.”

Cruz isn’t in its final form yet, and there’s no way of knowing where it will end up. “I have no idea where this thing will be in six months,” McQuaid says. “It’s likely to grow and spread. I’m also familiar with the distorted multiplication of bringing foreign money into things. It’s like quantum physics. When you measure something, you change its position.”

“I don’t want our presence to have a distorting effect in a negative sense. I want to be able to support people to grow the way they would naturally, and like the best scenes, they tend to grow out of the spotlight to get into a solid place before they explode. I know it’s going to change. I think That it will grow first before you see the changes, but it will be driven by what people start to dance to.”

“I see it as something new,” DJ Cora says. “I can say I was the first DJ to start the cruise, and I see it as something that people didn’t really get into when I started. Once I started, I saw a lot of interest, a lot of opportunity. That was when I realized what I was doing.”

Initially, McQuaid and MOVES communicated directly with the artists on social media. Some download links have phone numbers attached. This led him to artists like Slimfit. After that he was the director of DJ Cora. Some were more difficult to find than others, such as DJ YK, who has since become one of the most prominent characters on the scene.

Soon he was building relationships via WhatsApp, organizing meetings across the continent with producers and their managers. This unconventional approach is not without its problems.

There is a lot of culture clash. None of these people had any kind of experience with mainstream DSPs [streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music]. There is a lot of mistrust. Many people think you are cheating on them. Sometimes that’s fine, because you’re challenged with a lot of the basic things you take as reading. If someone says “Why is it like this?” , you have to think, “Well, why is it like this?” If it doesn’t make sense and they want to change it, you think, “You’re right, I’m wrong, let’s change it.”

This flexible and unconventional approach reflects how exciting it is to pursue the music itself. Artists and the brand made sure to use the immediacy of the platforms they’re working on to their advantage, discovering loopholes that older parts of our industry simply don’t see.

“Technology has enabled us to talk and interact with a lot of speed. I can call someone at any time – or more realistically they can call me day or night, which often happens. We have ringtones now where people have been doing demos on WhatsApp and slapping a verse in One place, and they send it to the next. For me, there’s a whole new path that navigates around all the traditional structures of power and control that are largely found in a very small group of companies. We’re looking for ways around that and hopefully give artists better deals with the tools we have “.

Here we can see that the cruise is part of a larger conversation, where artists from outside are not allowed in until it becomes overwhelmingly clear that their voice is part of the current landscape. At this point, they are taken advantage of, their voice is softened, and money is often wasted.

“Everything is still done the same way.” McQuaid says. “It’s unbelievable that the label company would get 85% of someone’s money. It only makes sense if you make physical products and you control all of the distribution systems. How the hell would someone get a record in Taiwan from Hull without a huge machine behind them?” Now, I can do this with a Tunecore account. What the majors have done is start increasing video budgets to justify this huge royalty rate, to tell artists who have to be at that level making it out of the reach of most people. That’s bullshit. You don’t need that.

In Lagos, this process has resulted in a split of culture, with those without lavish lifestyles on the island (aka Victoria Island, an exclusive and rich part of Lagos) having no music related to their own lives. After the Afrobeats exploded around artists like Burna Boy and Wizkid, huge production budgets became a selling point for many artists, fostering an elusive lifestyle that alienated some of their listeners. Cruz is in some ways responsive. Like the familiar narrative of the original punk scene growing out of a desire to subvert the bloated and expensive Brough Rock market, cruises evolved out of necessity and community spirit.

“He created a void where this music would fill it in,” McQuaid says. “It’s cheap. It’s very DIY. Anyone can make it with a cluttered laptop from FruityLoops. I found a gap where people actually needed something that reflected their lives, as opposed to the aspirations of the wealthy. There was a huge gap where the scene was providing what people needed.” “.

Bridging this gap can be seen in real time at New Afrika Shrine, a venue run by Femi Koti. Unlike many other club venues that cater to higher-income earners, Shrine has an open door policy that makes it accessible to working-class people who are often priced out of other live music venues. At the club’s later parties, venue goers began ordering quick amapiano and, eventually, free original tracks. This sound began to bleed in other places. Now, the simple rural street sound is starting to take over Lagos.

This has also broken crossovers, such as portable’zazu costume, produced by P Prime. Prime made the clever move to master some of the sound’s wildest trends, sculpt it into an accessible format, and the results have propelled the cruise into the mainstream. Hybrid forms of cruise seem to be popping up everywhere.


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