In Conversation With N’Dinga Gaba

We had the chance to interview the musician, producer and DJ N'Dinga Gaba during his visit to our headquarters in Milan.

N’Dinga Gaba has been on the music scene for two decades as a DJ, Producer, Musician and Composer. Hailing from Central African Republic with his musical operations based in Baltimore, Maryland, N’Dinga is taking the musical world by storm. N’Dinga has embraced a variety of musical styles over his career. He has played with several symphony orchestras and jazz bands as a trombonist, and as a DJ, has toured with hip hop and rock acts, and is proficient in all styles of electronic music, including, down tempo, broken beat, drum and bass, and house. Also known as “The Diplomat, DJ Nuclear”, and “The Love House Movement”, N’Dinga’s musical style is hard to define.

Currently you can find N’Dinga’s music and re-mixes on top labels, such as, Foliage Records, Sole Channel Music, Offering Recordings, Code Red Recordings, Jinks Inc., and Universe Media, to name a few. He has also had his music featured on compilations, such as ‘10 Years of Soul Heaven‘ compiled and mixed by Louie Vega (Soul Heaven Records) and on ‘Dj Tira Presents Afro Lounge Vol 2 Mixed by Tumza (Sheleter Music/Afrotainment). With notable hits including, ‘Queen and I Know‘ (Sole Channel Music), ‘Summer Breeze‘ (Foliage Records), and his smash remixes of Muzzaik’s ‘Work It‘ ( Dub Life) and LeRoyal’s ‘Promise‘ (Code Red Recordings), his music continues to dominate dance floors and airwaves worldwide.

Currently N’Dinga has added label owner to his resume with his Global Diplomacy Productions imprint.

Interview

Hello, here House Of Frankie, Underground Radio in Milan, Italy. I have been joined by N’Dinga Gaba, musician, producer, DJ. Hi, how are you N’Dinga? Nice to have you here in Milan. How do you feel here? Do you like Italy?

Great! I’ve been here a few times, so I like it a lot!

So, let’s start with the interview. You have been on the music scene for two decades, but how did you start your career as a musician?

Well, going to electronic music or this kinda stuff, I started with boom clapping, I was a break dancer when I was much smaller, it was easier (laugh). I was dancing in the clubs, stuffs like that and then go to the DJ thing after that it is just a progression, you know, from the DJ, then production and stuff like that.

Is this what you wanted do when you were a child?

Actually, I wanted to study medicine. I’m a biologist, so I study biology. I was gonna go med school, worked in a hospital for a couple of years and then that just wasn’t for me.

Wow, DJ biologist!

Yeah, DJ Biologist!

So, second question for you: do you have any inspirational figure in your life, someone who has inspired you?

Mostly my parents! They love music, so we had music in the house all the time. My father played a little bit the guitar, but they have never actually pursued that, because my father was a diplomat, my mother was a medicine.

And do you have other figures, some famous people, a famous DJ?

Frankie (Knuckles) obviously! I’ve got to meet him, he was a very positive person in music, in this imaginary thing.

You have collaborated with a wide range of artists over the course of your career, played with several symphony orchestras and jazz bands, so of course I have to ask you what’s your favourite collaboration you have ever made?

Musically, across the board, playing in a classical orchestra, was my favourite, because you can have from seventy to hundred people and they play their part but they all come together, so when one is perfect, everyone feels it. It’s a magic thing. As for DJing and stuff like that, there were times where I played with Boddhi Satva, we travelled for 3 weeks in Africa, we collaborated, played gigs together, and that’s a lot of fun as well, but there’s something to be said about, a big life thing that makes me feel good.

And talking about musical background and influences you have embraced a variety of musical styles over your career, including house, down tempo, broken beat, drum and bass and so on… but how did you get into the underground scene?

Again, I was going to different clubs and just kinda get used to new music. So, at first, we went to hip hop clubs, and then there was a dance club right around the corner called The Paradox, a famous club in Baltimore, it just closed down last year. So, we drove by, saw the line of people outside and we were like “what’s that?”, so we stopped, went there and every week for years we were there, going for dancing and that’s how I get into music.

Our digital platform, House of Frankie, was born as a project dedicated to Frankie Knuckles, and more in general, as a tribute to house music. Do you have any memory of him?

I do! Before he passed away, he started playing my music and I didn’t know until I heard a New Year’s Eve podcast of him, I forget where he was, maybe Australia or something like that. I heard it and I was like “No way!! Frankie playing my music!” and then following that there was a post on Facebook and he was to talking about me and Mark Di Meo, saying how he liked the music.

You are the founder of the label Global Diplomacy Productions. How did you get the idea for this project?

Well, that was a project I spent about 20 years in the making. All I wanna do was a label, but labels gonna compass all kinds of music, I mean, jazz, electronic, all that kind of things. But then, when I find out I’ve get more into house stuff, it made more sense to focus on that first and then maybe expand, you know.

Do you have any other projects on the way?

Well, I have a couple of secret projects coming. We are going to expand the label, taking on some other labels under us, so we can expand the sound and dedicate a part to other labels, like afro label dedicated to afro, soulful, kinda spread it off.

Tonight, you will perform at Circle, here in Milan, One of the Italian city that is becoming really preeminent in the underground scene. What’s your relation with Europe and Italy and what do you know about the European underground music scene and about the Italian one?

Well, that’s a good question! What I have known from my travels here is that they love disco stuff, so when I come to play in Italy I tend to go a little more in that direction. I still do afro, stuff like that but for what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard on the radio and just researching I know that disco is pretty big here.

And what about Europe?

As for Europe, it really depends on where you go. More clubby, more chunky but they love afro stuff, so I go all over the place, so I figure out what people like, give them a taste of something that maybe they have never heard before and then I go back to something that’s kinda familiar.

Apart from Italy, do you have a favourite city in Europe?

Milan (Laugh). I really do love Italy, Rome, also Croatia is fun and I do enjoy that, then Amsterdam and so on.

Some of your fans want to know what equipment do you use during your live performances?

I’m a Pioneer guy but for me doesn’t really matter as long as I can have USBs or whatever. It’s not about the equipment, it’s about how you deliver the music and how you played.

So, last question: what else have you got coming up?

I have a new song coming with Sabrina Chyld, on my label, we have another with a Japanese DJ, some projects with a couple artists from South Africa, also with a couple from Amsterdam. There’s a lot coming!

Thank you N’Dinga Gaba! It was great to have you here. Do you want to say something to your fans in Italy?

Come see me tonight at Circle if you are around!

Hope to see you soon, Cheers!

Listen to N’Dinga Gaba’s latest releases below:

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