Muloka is in the house
If you know Louis Galipeau, you know his headphones. Walking through town, riding on the bus, behind his computer at work, they are always on, techno and house music pulsing.
Ask, and he has an easy response: “I just like music.”
But if you push, he will confess his commitment is a little deeper than the average fan’s.
Since 2016 he has been an on-call DJ, sharing the 5,000 songs on his playlist as Muloka.
“I want to make it clear I’m not doing this for commercial purposes,” said the 38-year-old who works in IT at the law firm Conyers, Dill & Pearman.
“It’s just a hobby. I already have a job. I’ll work for taxi fare or dinner.”
He got into music while in high school in Ottawa, Canada.
“At the time, all my friends were listening to either punk or techno,” he said. “I gravitated more towards techno.”
Trends changed but he stuck with it, partly for the nostalgia factor and partly because he just likes the genre.
“I like the feeling that the music evokes,” he said. “The only other style of music that I have a comparatively strong reaction to is classical music. I listen to quite a bit of that as well.”
There was not much going on with house and techno when he moved to Bermuda in 2006. He thought about making his own but “just didn’t have the time” so he looked into becoming a DJ.
A Canadian friend here, Andy Smith, taught him some techniques. Muloka ordered some simple equipment and downloaded some mixing apps.
The deejaying seemed a natural extension of work he had been doing, producing electronically generated visual effects for Volcanic Entertainment.
“I like performance,” said Muloka, who in 2010 married a Bermudian, Laurel Monkman. “But I found that carrying around equipment for visual effects and deejaying was a bit much. I asked a friend if I should just focus on deejaying and they said I should.”
He started out playing at beach parties. Not everyone was familiar with the style of music he loved which, as he describes it, is decidedly “less popular” than mainstream.
“One of my friends would say, ‘Go on, play something,’” Muloka said. “Sometimes people would be surprised and excited that they were hearing this type of music in Bermuda. I think for some people this type of music has to grow on them, while other people get it immediately.
“I like more modern takes on techno and house. There are other subgenres within house music that I gravitate to, such as deep house and tech house. Tech house borrows its sounds from techno. Techno tends to be a bit faster than house, usually in the 130 beats-per-minute range. House music tends to be in the 120 and 124 bpms range. Then there is slow house, which ranges from 90bpm to 110bpm.”
He got his first regular gig in May 2016.
“I was at Rock Island Coffee,” he said. “I started talking to someone there. I didn’t really know them. They asked me what I was doing and I said mainly deejaying.”
His new friend happened to work at Muse restaurant on Front Street.
“He said come and play for us next week and bring some friends,” he said. “It was experimental.”
The evening went so well he was invited back to play on a regular basis. Another restaurant, Bulli.Social, came calling after a few months.
“The energy I get from it feeds back into everything else,” Muloka said. “It’s almost therapeutic and makes me feel connected to everything.”
But, after a while, having a busy weekend schedule on top of a full-time job got to be too much.
“Some of my friends were saying they couldn’t keep up,” he said. “I could barely keep up with it myself.
“Things died down after last Christmas. I’ve only played three or four times this year. The last time was for a friend’s party on the beach at the end of August.”
Now he is looking for a few more gigs in more intimate settings. At the moment, he is having fun playing for his seven-year-old daughter Oona.
“She likes house and techno too,” he said. “Sometimes we have dance parties.”
• Look for Louis Muloka on Facebook or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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