NGUZUNGUZU is Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, DJ duo, producers and M.I.A. collaborators who live in Los Angeles. The music they mix and make is eclectic, esoteric and energetic or "the fusion of contemporary top 40 R&B and the direct-source international sounds of Latin America, the West Indies and Africa—which, in turn, had been both refracted in and inspired by that top 40 R&B in the first place," to quote Pitchfork's description of their latest mix, "The Perfect Lullaby." Think R. Kelly crossed with traditional African Zouk music and you'll get the idea. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it's pronounced EN-GOO-ZOO EN-GOO-ZOO.
Singing Mariah Carey's "Emotions" at the top of my lungs in the back seat of my mom's car with all the windows down. I was probably five.
Hi Asma and Daniel! What is your first musical memory?
Asma: Singing Mariah Carey's "Emotions" at the top of my lungs in the back seat of my mom's car with all the windows down. I was probably five.
Daniel: A Fisher Price turntable.
What's the first record you bought?
A: On vinyl? Kraftwerk, "Computer World".
D: A 7-inch of "HR" by Bad Brains.
How did you get into DJ-ing?
A: Total Freedom made me.
D: Me, too. When I moved to L.A. I wanted to throw parties and play good music with Total Freedom.
Do you spin vinyl? Is that important to you?
A: I started spinning on vinyl. I have a deep love for wax, but the simplicity and immediate nature of USB DJ-ing has me at the moment.
D: No! I DJ on CDJ's.
How do you feel about the resurgence of vinyl?
A: I hope it never dies.
D: I think people like the novelty of a record and the experience of listening to something physical.
What makes a good DJ?
A: Someone that can take risks. Give the people what they want, but also teach them something new.
D: Selecting, mixing and making people dance.
What are the good and bad aspects of being in DJ duo?
A: [Laughs] It's great to have a partner in crime. It's bad when the booth is so small you both can't fit.
D: I love playing off what Asma plays, can't complain!
How would you describe the dynamic between you both?
A: Like peas in a pod.
D: Like Ren & Stimpy.
The best way to get a party started is...
A: Turn it up!
D: Play good tunes.
What's your order at the bar?
A: Patrón on ice.
D: Patrón and soda.
It's great to have a partner in crime. It's bad when the booth is so small you both can't fit.
What are your essentials during a DJ set?
A: Bass frequency.
D: Dark club and at least a couple people.
What do you like to wear when performing?
A: A cotton tee and a ponytail. Oh and sneakers! Can't DJ in heels, I am not the one.
D: Some kinda shirt-pants-shoes combination.
Do you have a mantra or philosophy you live by?
D: No, I don't.
What is your fail-safe tune or artist to play?
Do you take requests?
A: Only when I like them.
What is the weirdest request you have ever received?
A: A handwritten note thrown at me to play Tiësto.
D: "Play something trendy, this is L.A."
Do you have a signature dance move?
A: Snap yo fingers!
D: Head bob.
What's the best gig you've ever played?
A: There's too many! One of my favorites was the Kenzo F/W 2012 fashion show.
A: I'm kinda dying to play Ibiza. Maybe just to say I did.
D: In Space.
I'm kinda dying to play Ibiza. Maybe just to say I did.