June 02 2016

On a Trip with Sinkane

New York-Le Bain
We sat down with DFA's beloved artist Sinkane before he soundtracks the New York sunset from the top of Le Bain on Sunday, June 12th.
LE BAIN: You traveled for much of your childhood, from London to all around the US. Your father comes from a nomadic family line. Do you believe it's in your DNA?
SINKANE: I do believe traveling is in my DNA. I like to connect with people. The more the merrier. Music has allowed me to do that, and as I continue making music and touring, I get hungrier and hungrier for it. My family's roots are based on connection and collaboration. We have always worked with people to make the world a better place, and I aim to do that with Sinkane.
Sinkane's "Young Trouble" (DFA records, 2015)
You will be playing Le Bain at sunset. Do you remember your earliest memory of a sunset?
The golden hour is my favorite part of the day. It's magical and mysterious. Remember that Life Savers commercial when the Dad is explaining the magic of sunset to his daughter as it's happening in front of them? And then, when it's over, she asks her dad to make it happen again? That's the shit!
"Drink really good coffee and swim in the Nile river."
After listening to your recent albums, it's a bit surprising that you have a punk background. What has punk rock taught you?
It taught me how to be true to myself and believe in my ability. The DIY ethos of punk rock is part of my DNA. It made me realize that I can do anything I set my heart to. Punk rock is also about community, and with my music, I strive to create one where everybody feels welcome. Most importantly, punk and hardcore have taught me the importance of playing music loudly. If you have something to say, say it loudly!
Sinkane's "How We Be" (DFA records, 2014)
Your parents could not go back to Sudan, their homeland, when Omar Al-Bashir overthrew the democratic government in 1989. Do you have romantic memories of Sudan?
I haven't been back to Sudan since 2006. Before then, I'd spend every summer there. I have so many romantic memories. I spent so much time there as a child! Sudan has no Western influence really, so being there is great. No fast food chains or franchise stores. The food is so delicious, organic, and locally farmed. The people are so nice and the landscape is incredibly hot. All of my favorite things. My grandfather would have large Sufi Islamic celebrations that would be so overwhelming to me that they'd make me hallucinate. It was also really fun to go get lost in the market and haggle with store vendors, drink really good coffee, and swim in the Nile river.

You tour a lot in the US. What would you say touring has taught you about America? 
It has taught me a lot about America. So has moving. I hadn't lived anywhere in the States for longer than 4 years until I moved to Brooklyn. It made me see the different kinds of Americans all over the country, but it also made me realize how similar we all are. 
Sinkane's "Runnin" (2012)
What’s your definition of being American today?
Being American is different for everybody. I don't know if it's so simple to describe what it is to be American today. I have an American passport, so technically I'm American. But I feel the same kinds of things as my friends from other parts of the world. I relate to non-Americans in a personal way all the time. Also, I get told that I'm technically not American because I wasn't born here. Or that I'm African and not Black. So many labels! Why? We're all interconnected and we shouldn't let labels distract us from getting to know each other!

On Sunday, June 12th, Le Bain presents Été d'Amour featuring
DJ sets by Sinkane (DFA), Cooper Saver (DFA), and Higgins
5pm-11pm, doors open at 2pm | The Standard, High Line