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Authentically Plastic
Illustration Jethro Nepomuceno

Dazed Mix: Authentically Plastic

The Kampala artist shares an urgent mix that conveys ‘the feelings of paranoia that are being experienced by [Uganda’s] queer community’

As a DJ and producer based in Kampala, and a pivotal figure in East Africa’s electronic music scene, Authentically Plastic’s sound is innately political. The Ugandan artist embodies what they call “free-form femme fuckery”, with an eclectic style of mixing that pulls together hypnotic extracts of techno and hard dance, chopping up and accelerating traditionally queer strains of dance music to urgent extremes.

Dubbed the “demon of the Nile” by conservative Ugandan media, Authentically Plastic is a staple of the city’s LGBTQ+ scene, and a resident of queer experimental club night ANTI-MASS, which describes itself as having a “common interest in shaking up traditional forms, techniques and palettes; exploring them in all directions, discovering new tensions in familiar methods, always with an eye towards the alien and disorienting”.

For their exclusive Dazed mix, the Kampala artist shares a disruptive mix that responds to Uganda’s tightening anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and conveys “the feelings of paranoia that are being experienced by [Uganda’s] queer community”.

You released your debut album Raw Space last year, how do you feel about it?

Authentically Plastic: I’m happy with how it turned out. It might have scared off some people, I don’t know, but I really wanted to start off with a bold, non-compromising gesture.

What are some of the main inspirations behind it?

Authentically Plastic: Northern Ugandan Electronic Music, Kadodi, a hypnotic and ritualistic genre of dance music from Eastern Uganda, Detroit techno, industrial.

What are some of your earliest memories of music?

Authentically Plastic: My earliest memories were live performances of Northern Ugandan Courtship Dances. I liked how trancey and dense the music was. And, of course, the 90s R&B stuff, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott – all the icons.

How would you describe the scene in Kampala? Has it influenced your sound at all?

Authentically Plastic: Kampala has influenced me immensely. I’m constantly inspired by the sounds coming out of the underground scene here. It feels like there are many artists who do not feel the need to reference anything; it’s so rare these days to find artists just creating totally fresh and original sounds.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Authentically Plastic: I’ve become more aware of how these really intense and unsettling frequencies I work with might be affecting my general anxiety. I enjoy being on edge sonically. But I’ve also been trying to balance it out by listening to softer and ambient works by Space Africa, Voice Actor, KMRU, etc. I also love the mixes being put out by

Do you have any fun projects or shows lined up?

Authentically Plastic: Yes, I have some shows coming up in the next few weeks at De School in Amsterdam, Listen Festival in Brussels, and Rewire in The Hague. My collective ANTI-MASS will be on tour together in the summer as well. And I might be making some music for an experimental theatre production… Not confirmed yet, we’ll see. It’s looking like I’ll be in Europe a lot over the next 12 months.

Tell us about your Dazed mix.

Authentically Plastic: Uganda has recently been experiencing a new wave of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, and stricter homophobic laws are currently being proposed in Parliament. Queer homes are being targeted by the police and the general public. I wanted this mix to convey the feelings of paranoia that are being experienced by me, my friends, and the queer community at large. The term ‘paranoia’ usually has a negative connotation, implying something not grounded in reality. But I want to reclaim and redefine it as a ‘Hyper-Awareness of Relations’. Everything is tense, there’s this feeling of being watched constantly, and there’s a pressing need for escape, especially among trans people. It’s the first time in a while that I, and several people I know, have considered moving away permanently. I want this mix to be not only a reflection of our paranoia but of our agency and anger in times like these. This feeling of being immobilised but also looking for strategies to take care of each other, those inevitable explosions of rage too.

Authentically Plastic will perform at Rewire in The Hague, taking place between April 6-9, 2023

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