From Polokwane to Paris, Mo Laudi is living his Globalisto dream
Mo Laudi is a force to be reckoned with. Born in Polokwane, the music producer, composer and fashion designer now calls Paris home.
Inspired by his South African roots, Laudi creates sonic landscapes, mixing vocals, textures and rhythms with his core knowledge and experience of video, fashion, dance, design and music.
Credited as the first South African to introduce weekly residencies in London playing local House and Kwaito, Laudi soon re-imagined a borderless world through an African lens. And so Globalisto was born - his multidisciplinary cross-cultural project.
“I’m a pan-Africanist, I want my creations to offer an alternative narrative on life in contemporary Africa,” says Laudi. “The philosophy of Globalisto is re-imagining a borderless world from a non-occidental point of view.”
I caught up with Laudi for a Q&A session.
Q: You've found a way to encompass music, art and fashion into your Globalisto Collection. Can you explain the thinking behind it?
A: With the Globalisto Collection I wanted to create a functional work of art. I was looking for something to wear that expresses my musical and personal vision when I perform. I loved the story of Yasuke, an African, kidnapped from Africa to Japan to be a slave. He then became a samurai. It is about personal evolution, where no matter what the world negativity throws at you, you still rise no matter. It's so easy to give up but we should not.
I told my designer friend Elizabeth Relin about the idea. She shared the same vision. We both got excited about creating the collection, and hence the Globalisto Collection was born.
WATCH: Mo Laudi Dance Inside Of You official video
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: My style is simplicity but fused with a little touch of je ne sais quoi and with a nod to the old school. My style is an endless journey of exploration of forms, fabrics, cultures clashing, mashing into one pot. I guess you can say it's a cocktail of my roots and my travels.
I like what Virgil Abloh is doing with Off-white and Louis Vuitton menswear. I like the Danish designer Henrik Vibskov. I'm friends with the guys from Art Comes first. For a while I used to wear only black but now I mix things up with our Kimono collection. I'm working on a jewellery collection which I wear a lot.
Q: What motivates you keep moving forward?
A: I'm motivated by my family, close friends, the possibility that we are shaping history with our actions, correcting the mistakes of the past and the future. I’m inspired by the idea of our infinite potential to create, I don’t see the reason why there should be so much poverty in the world when there is so much abundance. I ask myself how could art, music or fashion change society.
Q: What do you think about the progression of SA house/dance music on a global stage?
A: I find it brilliant. In 2000 when I moved to London, I used to DJ and promote parties in London from 2000 to 2008 and invited DJ Tira, Oskido, Vinny and loads of others. Most people did not know what I was talking about when I was talking about SA House back in those days. In 2008 in Paris it was the same. We have come a long way.
Black Coffee recently sold out the Olympia in Paris. I was in the DJ booth with Nelson Makamo watching him play – it was incredible to see and feel the energy. Sometimes I hear other DJs playing my songs in Paris a few times on the radio. It can only get bigger!
Q: Other international artists are now recognising local music and involving SA producers. What are your thoughts on this?
A: I remember when Township Funk by Mujava was a big hit in the London clubs and in Europe around 2008 (a couple of years after the release in South Africa). Even Diplo did a remix; Beyonce used Pantsula dancers in Girls run the world, which was produced by Diplo, Now DJ Lag has produced for The Lion King soundtrack with Moonchild and so many others.
I have been working with artists like Ala.ni from the UK, Flavia Coelho from Brazil. There is a power in the South African sound, it’s ancestral, it's spiritual. Looking at what is happening around the world, this is what is needed right now.
* Follow the Globalisto Collection on Instagram: @globalisto