Kenya Nights: Beyond A Decade
Before I get into this interview, I must admit (shamefully so) that the 14th of December, 2019 was my first time seeing Major Lazer live despite them having performed in Kenya numerous times before. That being said, I couldn't figure out was why everyone else had seen Major Lazer at least once before but they still came out in numbers for yet another show. Ten minutes into the set and the answer quickly became evident, it was more than a show, it was an experience. Major Lazer have a way of getting every single person in the crowd move and dance and basically turn all the way up. But, it was more than just their performance, from the moment you walked into the venue, the vibes were unmatched. From a seamless entry to effortless bar service; from amazing opening acts such as Blinky Bill and Suraj to the amazing people all around, it felt like every single detail was thought out and nothing was left to chance. That probably explains why Kenya Nights has been such an industry leader when it comes to the nightlife scene in Kenya. They always deliver without fail and this can only mean that whatever is coming next for Kenya Nights can only be even more elite than what they have built over the last decade. We had a little chat with Sadia from Kenya Nights about what the future looks like for them.
MOOKH: It’s been an incredible journey to ten years for Kenya Nights. What made you want to start hosting events in Nairobi?
Sadia: My exposure to events started when I started radio in 2001. As a media personality, I was always at the most happening events and concerts. Music’s always been a big part of my life. Somehow, Riz’s passion – taking dope pictures at dope events, and mine – radio - aligned. After throwing the first Kenya Nights event in November of 2012, it was a no brainer.
MOOKH: You just celebrated 10 years of Kenya Nights with Major Lazer. Why was Major Lazer the final act?
Sadia: We have an amazing relationship with Major Lazer and they ADORE Kenya and its beautiful people. They also keep growing bigger and bigger every year, collaborating with artists from every corner of the world. It’s like bringing the world to Kenya and exposing Kenya to the world.
MOOKH: How did it feel to be there knowing that this was goodbye?
Sadia: Well, we’ve said this before and over and over… This is Goodbye, but not The End.
MOOKH: What are you most proud of with what you have been able to create with Kenya Nights?
Sadia: I feel this is something Riz should be answering, but if I know my younger brother at all, he’s proud of turning a random idea into reality - putting Kenya on the map musically and breaking all types of stereotypes.
MOOKH: What’s the next chapter for Kenya Nights?
Sadia: Come 2020, Kenya Nights becomes the umbrella to a new brand and concept Dstrkt, our already existing hip hop division GET REAL and day time party Sun(ny) Days. We’ll be focusing more on our Podcast and turn into international management. Keep your eyes peeled on our socials for more info.
MOOKH: You’ve mentioned that we should be on the lookout for a festival in 2020. What changes do you hope to bring to the festival scene in Nairobi?
Sadia: First of all, there isn’t much of a festival scene in Nairobi. The word festival has been misused for a very long time. There was one, that truly stands out, and that sadly ended in 2014. Since then, the only real festival that exists in East Africa is Nyege Nyege in Jinja, Uganda. Let’s just leave it at that ;)
MOOKH: Can you tell us what to expect with Dstrkt?
Sadia: Dstrkt is an exclusive raw and forward thinking event series that focuses on all aspects of electronic music, a space for some heaving and emotive sounds for like-minded individuals. Reviving underground music in Kenya.
MOOKH: What do you hope for the future of Dstrkt?
Sadia: It being a brand that will focus on all aspects of electronic music, I hope it exposes and educates those attending to the different types of sounds that exist in the world.