The driving force behind Sinkane, Ahmed Gallab, is from everywhere: Brooklyn, Sudan, London, Boston, Utah and Ohio.
  In recent times, he also has been everywhere. Sinkane just released an album, Mean Love, on DFA records which seamlessly blends African, Country, reggae and soul influences while having a dialogue on human interaction and existence.
  The past year saw Ahmed music directing a series of performances of Afro-Electronic genius William Onyeabor’s music called “the Atomic Bomb Band.” Members of Sinkane were joined by people from Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, the Lijadu Sisters, Money Mark and more. A highlight of “the Atomic Bomb Band” was a performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, that had David Byrne singing “Fantastic Man” next to Gallab.
  Although Ahmed has been all around the world and lives in Brooklyn, I will always view him as an extension of here. He went to OSU, and was heavily active in the Columbus DIY, and Hip Hop communities.
  Sinkane will play the Wexner Center on October 30th so I interviewed Ahmed about his album and life.
  How was your approach to creating “Mean Love” different than your previous album “Mars”?
  “I worked with Greg Lofaro on both Mean Love and Mars. With Mean Love I wanted to sing more and that informed how I wrote the music. I wanted the songs and the message to be simple. Greg wrote the lyrics and we spent a lot of time discussing the topics that we wanted to address. We had a cardinal rule: No love songs. But I was intrigued by the sentiment of love so we used that to talk about different things. It turned out to be a pretty personal record but the themes are universal and I can only hope people can relate to this record on their own terms. Make it their own.”
  You have very different influences that mesh organically on this album like a good hip hop producer would.
  “Yeah. I think, musically, I'm all over the place. I've had the opportunity to experience a lot and those experiences have helped shape my musical language. I like so many different styles of music and I find it fun to try to fuse them together. Looking back at these last two records it almost feels like I put them together like a mix tape.
  What is the common thread between the African, reggae, soul, and country influences?
  “A lot of the people who founded these musics come from a similar place. Poor white folks, the black struggle, struggling Africans and Jamaicans. You can feel the same sense of urgency and emotion in their music. It's all honest and earnest in the same way. There aren't any frills in those musics. It's all about the message and, usually, the message is the same: heartbreak, love, longing. I found that really interesting and I wanted to see what I would have if I fused all of them together. Perhaps the collective energy would create something unique.”
  The title track “Mean Love” totally sounds to me like it could be played in a teen comedy during a sock-hop prom scene. What movie do you think it belongs in?
  Are you kidding me? It should be in every teen love comedy. I'm a sucker for those movies. It's perfect for any corny, sappy scene in any of those movies.
  Your family left Sudan as political exiles. What were the circumstances?
  “My father was affiliated with the democratic government that was overthrown by Omar El-Bashir in 1989. At the time, my family was in Boston because my father was doing a fellowship program at Boston University. When the the coup succeeded he realized that we couldn't go back so we applied for asylum with the US government and got it.”
  You often tweet LOD FU. For those who don’t know what that means; could you explain in more than five words?
  “The Legion of Doom is a punk house in Columbus that I used to frequent and throw shows at. In 2004 or 2005 they had a punk house war with another punk house called the 15th house. It was a lot of fun, actually. I think, one time, some of the 15th house guys came over to see a show and ended up stealing all of the forks from the Legion's kitchen. When the Legion answered to that, Eric Redpath, posted a sign on their door that said 'This means war. LODFU.' And thus began a really fun and playful punk rock house war. The phrase became a mantra and it's a way that I still connect with some friends from back then. I think a few people even have tattoos of it.

Sinkane will perform at the Wexner Center 10/30/14. 8 PM. Tickets are $16.

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