Gabriel Ananda: “Life is a mystery — you never know”

12 March 2015
Manal Aziz

An honest artist with a protruding vision and extreme dedication to self discovery — we could not wish for a better start to our short video series than with Gabriel Ananda. Embrace his state of being and rise to a multiplex of virtuous experiences.

Gabriel Ananda: It is about more than fun. It is self-expression, a way of releasing what is inside of you. All your life you have to function, people want you to smile, but there is something inside of you that maybe never comes out. And at parties, when you hear a melancholic track that triggers deep emotions, you have a chance to dance it out, feel it, process it. When you suppress your emotions, maybe you'll get cancer after many years. You have to let it out.

Manal Aziz: Expressing emotions is important — emotions form feelings. And we need to listen to our feelings to balance out the voice of reason in our head. When are you most creative — in your sadness or your happiness?

Both. The worst is when I don't feel anything. When I'm kind of destroyed. Many artists are afraid to let go of their pain and problems because they think that's what makes them creative. And maybe it does. But then I ask myself, "What's more important — to be a successful musician or to be happy?"

... And what is it for you?

I want to be happy, definitely. If I would have to stop doing this I would, even though I would not have a job then. Life is a mystery, you never know.

What do you think could make you happy?

At this moment I want to have a family. When the party's over, the people go home, and I drive home alone in my car. And it's also hard to find a girlfriend in this industry, you know. They're young, on drugs, whatever. When people approach you, you never know why — if it's for you or because you're a DJ.

Have you ever thought of quitting this industry?

Four years ago I was at the point where I just didn't want to do it anymore. Serving the people and playing what I thought was right. Then I got this feeling like I want to quit, I don't want to do this anymore. I felt a little like a prostitute, you know. At that point I thought awh fuck it, I just play whatever I like most. I played a lot of my own tracks, didn't look for new music all the time. And the funny thing, the response from the crowd was amazing. People were telling me they haven't heard such good sets in a long time. And that's when the light switched on.

And this would be your advice?

Yes, but I also think it's a process. Knowing by theory and hopping to fast forward doesn't really work — you need to go through the whole process. When you want to become a big DJ you look at: How can I do it? How do the others do it? What do the people want? It's really hard to look at what do I really want and stick to it and still believe you can become successful. I've had my issues with self-esteem, too. I mean, thats why I stand on stage. Why do I do a job where you get this much compliments and applause? Cause I needed it. That's the truth. Even the biggest DJs have the biggest problems with self-esteem.

We are only humans. And what do you do to get your confidence back? Is there something you say to yourself?

When I feel insecure about myself or the crowd or anything else, I just ask myself: What do I want at this moment? And if I find something I really like at this moment, then I feel comfortable with myself. Then I can also reflect the comfortable feeling on the people around me. If you can find the comfort within yourself, in any situation, you're good.

Camera & edit Dammes Kieft
Production Anna Bogomolova
With assistance of Wiebe Kuipers, Michael Rabbers
Big thanks to Kadir Pelit and Undertone crew

Manal Aziz

Manal Aziz

Manal Aziz is convinced that music brings people together in a way similar to love. And with that same love for music she spends her days in this galaxy. Based in the beating heart of Rotterdam, Manal tries to find new ways to express her love for the scene. She lives from night to night and fast like the food she eats. Her African roots give her the superpower of dancing all night long and she believes that as long as there are people dancing around you, you'll never be alone.