Ayebatonye Abrakasa is a Sydney-based DJ/event producer/writer/community organiser/curator/podcaster and all-round overachiever. When she's not playing fun tunes to packed rooms, she's providing sage social commentary through her online platforms; just casually. Ayebatonye is working her way to a more inclusive cultural landscape in Sydney and beyond, one dancefloor at a time.
She is gracing the decks at our mini in-store event this Sunday for King Street Crawl where we'll be providing free tunes and free pizza (yes, you read that correctly, FREE PIZZA) to patrons who are in need of a pit stop between gigs. Catch Ayebatonye's eclectic set this Sunday September 2 at our Newtown store at 239 King Street from 2pm and read our interview with the creative powerhouse below.
Firstly, tell us about yourself!
My name is Ayebatonye and yes that is in fact my real name and not a pseudonym. It’s Nigerian, and when you pronounce it phonetically it’s actually very easy to say. I work as a DJ, freelance event producer, sometimes writer, and full time in a Community Engagement role. I’ve also recently launched a new podcast called “Don’t @ Me” on FBi Radio and DJ workshop/showcase program in partnership with Music NSW called “Irregular Fit”.
I’m generally quite a homebody; I have a beautiful bearded dragon named Maggie and an adorable cat named Barney (who lives with my parents because I can’t have a cat in my apartment). In the down time that I do have, I enjoy gardening on my balcony whilst listening to podcasts, cooking, hosting dinner parties and cleaning/dancing around my apartment.
How you do manage to juggle so many different projects and commitments? Any tips?
Ha, I’m not completely sure… but my driving force in life is creating positive disruption within each space that I enter, which might in turn instigate change. I think knowing that one day all the work I do might have a positive impact on the communities I belong to keeps me going.
I think if you really care about what you’re doing you’ll find a way to juggle everything. Having said that, I work pretty long hours each week trying to get everything done and you can burn out if you go too hard. So I think it’s important to always try and have some down time and really look after yourself because if you’re not in good nick you can’t help anyone else.
How would you describe your music taste?
That’s a question I always find trickiest to answer, because my music taste is fairly eclectic. I’ve realised I’m more focused on the nuance in music. I always gravitate towards a solid drum beat, an unexpected jazz lick or a good harmony I’m not a big fan of anything too minimal. I think my music taste ranges between 70s Nigerian disco, Cumbia, Italo disco to acid and Detroit techno, ballroom, a little jersey club, golden age hip hop.
Sometimes I dabble with a little pop, especially 90s classics. Having said that, I recently heard the song “no tears left to cry” by Ariana Grande whilst overseas and to be quite honest I’m a little obsessed.
What’s your favourite song at the moment, and can we expect to hear it this Sunday?
I found it really hard to pick one track, so I’ve cut it down to my top three (hope that’s okay). I may play one or two of these on Sunday for sure, I think they’re all very “having a casual bop on a Sunday” vibes.
Labi Siffre – Nothin’s Gonna Change
Gwen Guthrie – Should have been you
Crazy Gang – Every Sunday
Who are some of your favourite Inner West locals doing interesting and creative things?
- Sydney performance artist Stelly G. Her work is centred around the decolonisation of the contemporary diasporic Pacific Islander experience, and she incorporates elements of her Fijian heritage so beautifully within her performances. I love watching her perform, and her energy in general.
- I looove The Oyster Club: Glamdrogynous Freakshow which is curated by Porcelain Alice and Marlena Dali. Together they’ve created this inclusive and intersectional monthly event with amazing performance artists, burlesque dancers, drag queens and kings and so much more. It always sells out really quick and is always a fantastic time!
- Black Birds: Black Birds is Sydney based art collective run by Ayeesha Ash and Emele Ugavele, they unpack the experiences of non-Indigenous Black and Brown women through their work. They recently put on this play called “Brown Skin Girl” featuring Angela Nica and Emily Havea. The play explored the experiences of bla(c)k and brown women living in Australia it was the first time I’d ever seen an Australian play that reflected many of my own lived experiences that related to my cultural identity, it was a very powerful thing to watch.
What does your ideal weekend look like?
My ideal weekend involves Saturday brunch, catching up with a few friends, seeing my family, buying new houseplants and then basking in the sun with a book and having absolutely no emails left to read.
What are your favourite things to do in Newtown/the Inner West?
I love visiting cafes close to my house, visiting friends at their studios, hanging in Sydney or Camperdown park and eating at Pho PHD
What exciting things do you have in store for the rest of 2018?
I’m looking forward to working with new and emerging DJs through Irregular Fit, I love sharing and exchanging knowledge and think we will learn alot from one another. I’m excited about some of the fantastic gigs I have coming up later in the year that I can’t talk about just yet. September is looking to be lots of fun, I’ll be playing Bedrock Collective’s Second Birthday, the Opening night of “Body to Bodies”, St O’Donnell’s Select Gallery 002 and Yours and Owls Festival (and of course Bailey Nelson for King St Crawl!)
Facebook page: facebook.com/houseofayebatonye