Grooveguruu is a Creative Londoner with a great depth of musical knowledge. The ambiances he crafts build on the experimental undertones of his personality.
We meet at St Dunstan-in-the-East. Almost completely destroyed by the Blitz in the Second World War, the church’s remains are an oasis in the City of London having been converted into a public garden. It’s the kind of place you would never know about unless someone showed you.
‘I chose here because it represents my vibe – out of the box, something you might not expect’, he says, before joking about the connection between his stage name and spiritual affiliations.
Grooveguruu, whose real name is Samuel Muzinga, is a DJ. He performs at a number of different events, from collaborative art exhibitions to underground house parties. His shows are not just experiential: they’re informative, too. His work combines music beyond the constraint of genre, something he sees as fundamental to his voice as a creative.
Growing up with Congolese parents, Grooveguruu was naturally fascinated with the culture of his family background – in particular the cultural of La Sape. At home, he would be immersed in the soundscape of Congolese music.
Outside his home, living on the doorstep of London, he would encounter all sorts of other music, such as garage and grime. But his eclectic tastes did not stop there – he found himself interested in indie and hip hop.
“I’ve travelled a fair bit, so I’ve learned how to put myself in different peoples’ points of view. It contributes to what I do. I’ve lived in different areas all my life, and I’ve seen how different people react to different things. And that has influenced the way I always try to be myself. Even though I’ve been influenced by so many things, I always try to be myself.”
Moving around the globe a lot in his youth, Grooveguruu learned how to make himself feel comfortable in any environment. It reinforced his sense of who he was as a person.
While spending time with his friends, he was always in charge of the music. YouTube was his most valuable resource for mixing music. He would open two tabs, and alternate between them. His friends would constantly ask him what music he was playing.
But whenever he found himself out at events or clubs, he would notice something: the music that was played would never reflect his own tastes. It was always what was popular, never what was interesting to him.
Creative Londoners: What inspired you to begin DJing?
Grooveguruu: What really inspired me was just frustration: I felt that a lot of the music I was listening to wasn’t being DJed at events I was attending. I went to many types of events, and felt that there was something missing. At club events, they play whatever is on the radio. My generation know a lot of genres of music from the internet, there a so many different types of music that deserve respect.
There’s also songs with a bit more meaning. As I’ve matured a bit more and gone through different life experiences, I want to be able to listen to music that I can also connect with on a personal level. I’m kind of tired of hearing of the usual ‘drug, sex and rock ‘n’ roll’ – it’s fine, but it’s a bit boring at times.
Grooveguruu jumped at the opportunity of a free class in DJing that was on offer at university. He took the class in secret, all the while becoming better acquainted with the work of DJ artists he admired such as Black Coffee.
As the house parties got bigger, Grooveguruu became more and more well known as a DJ, and found himself doing more underground events.
And there was one feeling that kept coming back.
Creative Londoners: Where do you exhibit the most creativity with your performances?
Grooveguruu: With my song choices. I like seeing when the crowd takes out their phones to Shazam the song because they’ve never heard it before. I’ve seen it so many times and that’s what I work towards, that’s my thing. That’s when I’m really proud of what I’m doing.
The elation Grooveguruu experiences is no wonder, as, in inspiring people with his musical knowledge, he is communicating something of himself. Grooveguruu continued:
Grooveguruu: I want to say my life led up to this, I can’t be sure, but I feel like it did. Everything I am now is how I’ve always been. I’ve always been quite experimental from the way I dress to what I listen to. I almost feel like my life trained me into the person I am today. What I studied in university is completely different. But the benefits of that course is that it taught me the business sense that I have now. I can now take my passion and make a full time living.
Creative Londoners: In five years’ time, if someone says they’re going to go to a Grooveguruu DJ event, what will they say they’re going to see?
Grooveguruu: A musical experience. I see it like a desert. A nice little desert. Plenty of drinks. All types of people from different areas. All types of ages, from young to old – because I believe young and old people can listen to my music and still vibe. Cool scenery. Cool people.
The reason I play is also to be thought-provoking, to strike up conversation. I don’t want to be the main attraction: I want the vibe to be the main attraction. That’s what I aim towards. The people are the vibe, they bring the vibe, I’m just part of the ambiance.
You can experience a Grooveguruu performance at the after party (at 10pm, 30.09.17 at Dog Star, Brixton) for an art event (venue to be announced for art event soon – keep updated here: instagram.com/grooveguruu) organised with his creative brand, The Sermon. The event will bring together a variety of artistic expressions, among them photography, fashion and illustration.