Pseushi: Who are you what do you do?
Amber Akilla: hallo I’m Amber Akilla, I DJ and sometimes take photos but not enough to call myself a photographer. I visited shanghai for the first time a few years ago and then had another brief visit in 2016 to DJ while I was based in Beijing for uni. I think the way a Chinese city has embraced western culture while remaining true to its Chinese-ness is inspiring and good place for me to be for my ongoing identity crisis.
PSE: Having seen Shanghai and China from an outsider’s perspective and then being a part of the scene there, what would you say we are missing when we look from the outside?
AA: SO MUCH!!! I don’t blame anyone in Australia for not having any idea what’s going on in the creative scene in china because mainstream media only focuses on politics, economics and pollution. there’s so much talent, creativity and hustle and so much cultural exchange to be inspired by.
PSE: Who would be some people that you think we should research and know about?
AA: I’ve been reaaalllyyyyyy lucky to have connected with some very talented, very amazing, very nice people. Englesia and Lyzza are young producers based in London and Amsterdam, both also work hard to create safe club spaces and empower LGBTQI and PoC communities in music. Erika and Yuki are two creatives based in London who created the Sukeban platform to empower young PoC artists. Yeti are a collective based between Hong Kong and shanghai and throw parties all over the world!! mean Gurls Club party in Hong Kong. Shade, a drag and LGBTQI party based in Seoul, honestly I could go on…
PSE: Do you think DJ-ing has facilitated ability to travel and be involved in different scenes around the world, or has that been all you diving in and the gigs come later
AA: A bit of both I think! Dj-ing has always been a side thing for me and I think I lost my creative spark a bit in the last few years in Australia because in order to play regularly you have to play more for the crowd if you’re not making your own music. Social media and travel has played a huge part in connecting and staying connected with people through music. I’ve been lucky to play some cool gigs thanks to generous friends but I know I’ve barely scratched the surface, I’ll definitely have to work harder if I want to combine travel and gigs more.
PSE: I think you played down your photographs a bit earlier, even if you aren’t a trained or highly accomplished photographer, your work definitely documents your experience travelling and also shows young people around the world in an authentic way, which is always important! Are you trying to push your photography to the forefront more in the future or are you going to let it be a natural part of your overall life, intertwined with travel and music?
AA: Thank you!!!! at the moment I like how photography fits in with the rest of my life and I’m open to it going any direction. photography has been a rewarding way to document my life and connect with others. I love it when people share photos I’ve taken of them or use them as their tinder profile picture, that’s when you know they think you’ve captured them well! its also fun to work with independent brands and trade photos for t-shirts.
PSE: Sick!! I think that’s it. Thanks!
AA: Thank YOOooooOOUUUU !!!