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Afrodeutsche | SOS Podcast

A Journey Through Music By Caro C
Published March 2024

Henrietta Smith-Rolla, known professionally as Afrodeutsche, gives Caro C insights into her musical journey, from her introduction to the music industry in Manchester, finding her sound, getting signed to Skam Records and becoming a BBC 6 Music DJ with a prime-time Friday evening slot.

Show Notes


00:00 - Introduction
01:22 - BBC 6 Music
04:05 - Becoming A Musician
06:40 - Getting Signed To Skam
10:11 - Equipment Used On Debut Album
13:59 - Using Synth Pads
16:19 - More Recent Projects
18:19 - Creating Sample Packs For Spitfire Audio
20:11 - Working With The Kyma
27:09 - Being Productive
32:30 - Balancing Different Projects

Afrodeutsche - Biog

Afrodeutsche (Henrietta Smith-Rolla) is a British born Ghanaian/ Russian/ German artist, composer, producer, and DJ based in Manchester, UK. Her polyrhythmic compositions integrate a wide array of musical genres, including Afrofuturistic electro and techno, classical solo piano and Detroit legacy house; all memorable journeys into deep, abstracted sound.

Praised by The Guardian for enacting a new wave of club music, named by Dummy Mag as one of 2019’s most exciting artists, Afrodeutsche’s spectacular debut album Break Before Make was released on the legendary Skam label in 2018, followed in 2019 with the debut release on Eclair Fifi’s label River Rapid and much praised remixes for artists as diverse as Marie Davidson (Ninja Tune), Joep Beving (Deutsche Grammophon) and Nathan Fake (Cambria Instruments).

Afrodeutsche has written and performed scores for films and documentaries including the BAFTA-nominated Kamali about a young girl skateboarder in India, and a live re-score of renowned Earth documentary Baraka at The Royal Northern College of Music.

The soundtrack for Kamali was released by SA Recordings in September 2020, alongside a sample library for Spitfire Audio. The audio library illuminates much of Henrietta’s writing process as a self-taught musician and composer. Inspired by her work with the Kyma sound design environment, it’s a set of tools for composition based around colour. Her aim is to offer a new perspective and sense of freedom for those delving into the library, no matter their level of experience.

In the summer of 2022 she scored Bottega Veneta’s SS2023 collection runway show, during Milan Fashion Week, working closely with head designer Matthieu Blazy throughout the process.

In 2023 she premiered a new string ensemble commission for MIF at the prestigious new Factory International venue. Henrietta lent her own vocals and piano playing alongside a string ensemble from the Manchester Camerata, arranged and conducted by Robert Ames.

After years hosting a regular radio show Black Forest on the renowned NTS, Afrodeutsche now leads BBC 6 Music’s Friday night schedule with the People's Party, a peak time show that entrances listeners with her idiosyncratic combinations of crate dug party tunes from any point in the last 50 years, acid, rave, electro, breaks, footwork, ghetto tech and jacking house. In 2022 she has regularly presented BBC 6 Music live coverage of festivals at Glastonbury and Cardiff. At the end of that summer she curated the 6 Music stage for London festival All Points East.

Her DJ style is a synthesis of Drexciyan and Underground Resistance-inspired selections, intercut with a variety of forward thinking UK techno such as Bola and Lego Feet. Forever evolving a fully live hardware show, Afrodeutsche debuted it at the opening of CTM Festival at Berghain in February 2020, integrating classical piano and hardware along with visuals.

Interviewer: Caro C - Biog

Caro C portraitDescribed as a "one-woman electronic avalanche" (BBC) and a "sonic enchantress" (BBC Radio 3), Caro has been making her own brand of sensual electronica since the late '90s, reared on a diet of black music, Warp Records and Björk.

Caro currently finds herself in ample musical mischief in the Manchester creative mycelium and beyond — making music, teaching, producing podcasts as well as being the instigator and project manager of electronic music charity Delia Derbyshire Day.
Twitter: @carocsound
Instagram: @carocsound

Delia Derbyshire Day Charity:

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On this SOS channel we feature some of the pioneers of the industry, interview musicians, and talk about retro and current gear.

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