Diary: Geneviève Mame Kodou Dieng

From True Laurels: The Overseas Issue. The zine will be available in our online shop Monday, April 20th. 

Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng

Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng

I just got my graphic designer diploma. I’m half French, half Senegalese. I always had a passion for drawing and never stopped since I was able to hold a pen and express myself on a piece of paper. I love how it always let’s me capture moments and the faces of life. One of my largest influences comes from the comics universe. I've always been fascinated by drawers like Druillet, Moebius and Crumb. My work reflects these influences both in my pictures and drawings. I just spent a month in Senegal doing a documentary on my family. What’s important for me is to share my work as it is made of the people for the people.

GMKD is my artist name : Geneviève Mame Kodou Dieng. I promised my dad to never forget my African roots so I have put my African name on my nickname! I love Martian stories, and stories about space, that’s why my emblem is a spaceship. For me, people like Erykah Badu, Sun Ra, Bad Brains, Funkadelics, The Cramps, Sex Pistols, The Specials, and so many more are kind of comics characters for me. That’s why I love to  find special people for my pictures. People who remind me of a comic world!

Senegal is fantastic for that because everybody reflects the sun and it shines in their smiles. Everyday I was so happy to see happiness and colors, especially for the spectacular pink and orange natural light flashing from the sunset.

I’ve taken a special interest in religion in Dakar These souls or these mystic spirits, demonstrations (appearances) of the deceased or animal divinities, can act on the tangible world...in a beneficial way or not. It is thus advisable to dedicate worship to them. So by definition: faith in the soul and in the future life, correlatively, faith in guiding divinities and subordinate spirits; it can characterize extremely diverse societies, situated on all the continents.

I’m a total fanatic of Japanese artists like Takeshi Kitano, Hayao Miyazaki, Suehiro Maruo, Wong Kar Wai and Katsuhiro Ōtomo as well. I love how they put a lot of colors with all this beautiful perfection. Since I was born I always dreamt to be a nice witch and fly on the GMKDIZ (my imaginary world). One day I will jump on my drawing and I will fly into the page of all the comics from this world!

All photos are taken by Genevieve Mame Kodou Dieng, a French-Senegalese multidisciplinary artist. Follow her on Instagram.

Pick 'Em Up: Lakim, Rushmore, Flow Castle & Slow Graffiti

Rushmore - "Moment X" (Victoria Kim's Kowloon Edit)

Last year, The Astral Plane released Heterotopia, a collection of super grimy club tracks only suitable for the darkest of nights.  Heterotopia included a minimal club track with an impressively busy percussion section titled "Moment X" from London-based producer, Rushmore.  On the Heterotopia Remixes Vol. 2 compilation released earlier this month, Sydney-based production duo, Victoria Kim ups the ante with incredible force.  Victoria Kim adds some groovy synths, a dark industrial vibe, and most importantly, a textural club beat driven by a "work work" vocal sample so repetitive that it's pleasantly encouraging.  Victoria Kim's Kowloon Edit is a heater through and through.

Lakim - "Get Out On Your Own"

On the totally opposite end of the spectrum lies Soulection, a record label, traveling dance party, and cohesive musical family that thrives in showcasing only the smoothest of sample-based, R&B-inspired sounds.  To celebrate 200,000 listeners on Soundcloud, Soulection gave away their highly-anticipated ode to Sade, Love Is King, complete with soulful dedications from many of their incredible producers.  Check out LA-based producer, Lakim's take on Sade's "Mr. Wrong" on "Get Out On Your Own".  Lakim used the classic, energetic Baltimore club break as the backbone to his track but somehow still made it sound smooth as butter.  

Flow Castle x Slow Graffiti - "Do"

A few days ago, LA-based collective, Too Lush dropped Too Lush Vol. 3, a hefty, 25-track deep compilation which promises something for everyone.  "Do," a collaboration between Flow Castle and Slow Graffiti, is a future Jersey club track that is just too easy to love.  Pumping bass, spiraling synths, and a Jersey club break builds a track that can easily be rocked with all night long.

Pick 'Em Up: Kilbourne, TR!CK$ & UNiiQU3

Kilbourne x Albyy - "The Hand Clap"

I've been following Kilbourne ever since I heard her amazing work with Abdu Ali on his Already EP.  Kilbourne calls New Jersey home but is currently based out of New Orleans.  I just love the way she styles her club music - it's hype but not so aggressive that I feel like I'm gettin' shot up outside the club.  And such is the case with her collaboration with Albyy on "The Hand Clap".  Pulling the vocal sample from Hurricane Chris' track of the same name, "The Hand Clap" is such a classic demonstration of that signature Jersey energy.

TR!CK$ ft. L'Entranger - "All Alone"

TR!CK$ is another Jersey-based producer who is starting to make some waves in my world.  "All Alone" allows that super energetic Jersey style to completely carry a sexy R&B vibe from the vocals here.  I'm especially loving the varying manipulations he made to the vocals - pitched up here, pitched way down there, and chopped so expertly throughout.  This is the way you craft a Jersey club track that's fit for dance floors all around the world.

UNiiQU3 ft. DJ Kiff - 69 (If I Fuck)

Bow down to UNiiQU3!  She's a certified Jersey Club Queen and she's running the show in New Jersey and beyond.  This week I stumbled upon an older track of hers that I had on repeat for a hot minute - "69 (If I Fuck)" with DJ Kiff.  It starts out subtle, almost like it could easily transform into a dope footwork track, but instead it introduces this insanely cool bubbly bass that I can't get enough of.  It almost doesn't even sound like it's a Jersey club track - maybe a hybrid of Jersey and Baltimore - which is great because anything that fills the abyss between the two styles is really something remarkable.

Pick 'Em Up: Kingdom, Vjuan Allure & Diamond Kuts

Kelela - "Enemy" (Kingdom's Destruction Before Paradise Mix):

It's really impossible to make Kelela's voice not sound like it came straight from the heavens above. Otherworldly Fade to Mind add just the right touch of future to her 90s R&B influences. "Enemy", originally produced by Nguzuguzu, sees a brand new treatment from fellow Fade to Mind creator and cohort, Kingdom.  Kelela's voice sounds as soulful as ever while Kingdom builds a future club beat so delicate at times that it barely erupts into a full-blown ruckus.  While you can hear the occasional pounding bass, grandiose synths, and a hint of the signature kicks of club music, Kingdom keeps his take on "Enemy" right under the threshold of a big room banger.  That's some real finesse right there.

Vjuan Allure - "Wherkk ft. Purple Crush":

"Wherkk" is the title track from Vjuan Allure's latest EP, which is streaming over on THUMP right now.  Allure is one of the innovators of the classic ballroom sound - house and disco tracks that you hear at vogue parties - and actually created "The Ha Dance" (later dubbed as "Allure Ha") which is basically what "Sing Sing" is to Baltimore club.  But on his "Wherkk" EP, Allure demonstrates a vast knowledge of that classic club music sound, especially on the title track here featuring LA's Purple Crush on vocals.  The horns are blowin', the kicks are perfectly energizing, and it sounds brand new and timeless all at the same time.

DJ Diamond Kuts - "Keep Your Ass Down":

Philly's DJ Diamond Kuts has a stellar reputation for being versatile behind the decks to deliver sets that are totally free of the binds of particular genres.  However (!!), I know she has an affinity for club music stylings from Jersey to Baltimore.  "Keep Your Ass Down" doesn't seem like a typical club track from the surface, but it has all the right vibes.  It's repetitive and hyper just like a classic Jersey club track but the way she blends in bouncy twerk and the rolling hi-hats of trap makes it perfect for all kinds of dance floors. 

Interview: Amy Reid On Her GRL PWR Party & Why It's So Needed

It's no secret that women are underrepresented to a shameful extent, in music and otherwise. Shit, in every industry just about. It's also no secret that not enough fight against that goes down which is why things like The Exchange II are starting to pop up in Baltimore and all around. We need discussions like those to continue challenging the patriarchal structure of our society. Amy Reid of Baltimore duo, Chiffon, is doing her part in that challenge with her new Baltimore-based party, GRL PWR, which exclusively showcases women performers and DJ's. Her last party featured performative dance by Fluct, a live set by Ami Dang and DJ sets by Genie and Isabejja. Aside from proving that they didn't need any men to pack over 300 people in a tight warehouse space, it also showed that there are tons of talented female artists that go unnoticed. Wanting to know more about the origins and intentions of GRL PWR, I caught up with Amy recently. 

Photo: Diamond Dixon

Photo: Diamond Dixon

What was your initial mission when conceptualizing GRL PWR? Was it to show that you didn't need men or was it just to celebrate women?

Amy Reid: Definitely to celebrate women performers. Exclusion is the opposite of what I want. There is an obvious focus on women performers but I'm all about including people who want to be a part of it. Originally, I wanted it to be strictly DJS and then I realized how boring that could be to exclusively have DJ sets. I think the best shows are when you get a taste of everything which is why I love Baltimore. It's not out of the ordinary to walk into a show where there's 4 different genres of music being represented on a single bill and I love that. I also wanted GRL PWR to represent a mixture of established artists, up and coming artists, and people who have maybe never performed before. I was just getting into djing and I was trying to find women djs in the area and I had a hard time and I was kind of puzzled. I had a drink with a friend and they brought up a good point that I had never really thought of but if you don't see yourself represented in a genre or art form it's hard to picture yourself doing that. I think that's a little extremist but still holds some truth.

When you think about it, it's pretty crazy that there haven't been any women-focused shows in the city. But it's so common for an all-guy lineup to be booked without it even being a thing. I've been guilty of it too when putting shows together. How's all that make you feel?

AR: That was a driving force for sure and I know people don't do it intentionally I just hope that this event brings awareness to that. There have been a few that have happened over time like Puss Fuss, Female Front Fest, and Lady Fest. They are all cool events and there is always room for more. Like those events, mine is curated. I want every show to make sense even if it's in a non traditional way. There's a focus on electronic, club and movement/ dance performance so far but I'm not going to limit it to be only that.

Did any anxiety come during the planning process when you thought of how the party could be received?

AR: I definitely had anxiety before both events. Some people freak out when you start to talk about things like gender. I look at this event as a positive reaction to further support women performers and have a conversation about it if someone thinks differently. There was one person sort of trolling the first event facebook page which made me pretty bummed out. But realistically, you can't please everyone and not everyone will agree with you and that's okay, I am interested in the conversation that happened anyway even if I feel uneasy or start to second guess afterwards. That's how we grow, we listen to each other, contemplate, and agree disagree or meet somewhere in the middle. For the most part it's been positive.

Playing in Chiffon, you've done a good amount of traveling through touring with Future Islands. Was the disparity in women being booked a problem in other places as well?

AR: It's not unusual for me to be the only woman on a bill but thats not to say that it's 100% of the time. We play with a pretty broad spectrum of artists from  a lot of different genres and backgrounds. When I'm on the road I actually forget about it cause I'm just doing my thing with Chase, my best friend/ bandmate. I don't really notice a difference in treatment or anything. It's when I take a step back and think about it, that's what makes me want to address it in a positive empowering way.

It's a common thought that women are marginalized the most in hip-hop culture but this party speaks to multiple genres. Is that struggle of being ignored just as prevalent in other genres, in your experience?

AR: I think that DJ culture is what initially sparked my interest in starting GRL PWR. It's a problem when you can't name more than 5 women DJS in your city and part of that is me learning more about djing in general. I obviously don't know everyone who is djing or interested in it, that would be stupid to assume. I just want to meet those people doing it or provide an opportunity for people interested in it.

Photo: Diamond Dixon

Photo: Diamond Dixon

A great thing that I noticed at last week's party was that the all-female lineup had little-to-no effect on the crowd's diversity in comparison to other shows in Baltimore. Was that something you put a lot of thought into?

AR: Yeah, definitely. I want to put on shows that slay every time which is generally the philosophy behind every show I play or book. I think that everyone can get down with celebrating powerful women performers and I am confident in everyone I ask to play or that wants to play. I want people to come to GRL PWR knowing that they are going to have a great experience.

How've people been receiving GRL PWR?

AR: By the turn out alone I think it's going well. The first one was about 150 and the second was about 300 which is crazy and i was not properly prepared for. I was talking to isa bella about that earlier, DJ isabejja, and we were trying to figure it out. It's one of those things where I have no idea at this point if its the performers, the  event, the philosophy behind the event or a combination of why people want to be a part of it. Either way, I'm grateful that people want to be a part of it.

What effect do you hope the party will having on booking trends throughout Baltimore?

AR: I hope that people who perform at GRL PWR gain more attention and people become more open to giving budding artists a chance to shine. I also hope that people think more deeply about the ways that shows can be more dynamic and interesting be it location or performers. Not saying that this already doesn't happen, but there is always room for things to grow into something more.

Dream acts to have play at GRL PWR?

AR: Missy Elliot, Tink, Holly Herndon, Kelela, Grimes, Kali Uchis, Emily Reo.....everyone that has already performed has been that dream come true.