Born in London, with a childhood partially spent in Sudan before moving to the U.S., Ahmed Gallab (better known as Sinkane) evidences his worldly experience in the eccentricity of his songwriting and textural palette. With hints of funk, soul, jazz, rock, electronic, R&B, krautrock, shoegaze and more (the list goes on and on), there’s really no way to pin down his music. It’s a personal reflection of the man behind the music and his unique perspective on the art form—a quality that is, unfortunately, often overlooked by many artists. His genre-bending fusions are so effortlessly natural that consistently underscoring the energetic vibe of his tunes is a certain calmness and serenity that makes much of his music just as great to relax to as it is to dance to. Sinkane’s latest full release Mean Love came out late last year on DFA Records, while 2015 saw him team up with Peaking Lights to release a special dub version of the album rightfully titled Mean Dub.
We got with Sinkane for the 3rd edition of our Recipes series to gain some insight into his creative influences, and he was great enough to send along a rad mixtape he titled “Chill out, man” full of eclectic song choices from the likes of Vetiver, Caribou, Devendra Banhart, and others.
What motivates you to create? Experience. Traveling mainly. Growing up and learning from my mistakes yields the best kind of creation. I’m also really inspired by nature.
A common concept in inspiring creativity is that of the muse – do you have a source (human or otherwise) from which you can consistently and reliably draw inspiration? Not really. I really wish I did but it just doesn’t work that way for me. I draw a lot of inspiration from personal experiences. The process is deeply personal but doesn’t really involve other people but rather my own reaction to experiences I’ve had.
What inspires you more in other artists: a unique aural aesthetic or a unique philosophical message? It’s always different. I’m drawn to the music first and then I learn about the artist. Sometimes that makes the music better other times not.
Do you ever feel competitive with the artists who have influenced you most heavily? Never. I always feel inspired by them. I get so excited when I hear something that I like. It makes me want to do something similar.
What are some of your creative influences outside of music? Photography is a big creative influences. It’s fascinating how a static image can give you the same kind of profound impact as a song or a speech. Great photography makes me emotional.
Check out one of our favorite tunes by Sinkane: “How We Be”