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Hitsongs are made by GOD, says Artquake

By Lolade Sowoolu
They’ve been around 10years and still counting. They served us the ‘Sa ma gbadun nitire’, ‘Everybody are you ready’ and ‘Abule l’awa’ hits in their 5-album career.  Adegbite Adeniran a.k.a ADX and Tomomewo Olakunle a.k.a ICE-K make up the group Artquake and they are the most recent pioneers of the newest dance style after Olu Maintain’s Yahozee- Alanta.

This dance, like Funke Akindele’s movie -Jenifa, has broken all class barriers. In this interview, the young men very humbly submit that ‘anybody could have sung Alanta but God reserved the blessing for Artquake’. Read on.

Do you write your songs yourselves?

Of course, every single one.

How do you both do it?

We have a method of writing songs. ICE-K and ADX are guys that are blessed individually and uniquely talented. So, we try to blend these gifts. We pick a title and agree to write around it. We go and write everything about the theme separately. Then, we share ideas on the chorus and amend the verses accordingly.

How long did it take you to write Alanta?

Some artistes freestyle, and some write in a matter of months. For us, it depends on the kind of song. For Alanta, it didn’t take so much time.

What brought about Alanta?

Initially, we wanted to talk about transportation in Nigeria but ‘Bus stop’ (another track on their fourth album) settled that. Then we noticed that every two years, a particular dance step usually comes into vogue in Nigeria.

We’ve had Makossa, Swo, Galala and we noticed a particular dance pattern among folks. So we thought we should research into the dance, ask questions and maybe modify the dance. We decide to call it (the dance) Alanta. We later heard of a particular guy in Ajegunle called ‘Alanta’.

What did you try to achieve with the song?

What we tried to do with the song is to describe the dance using our song lyrics. ICE-K came up with the idea that we should do a dance-song. We wrote individually and decided that we were going to take the dance out of the Ajegunle level- a kind of re branding suitable for the general public.

At first some people were like, ‘which kind song be dis wey people go dey scatter face’? Alanta is a song that says you should just express your feelings, like a ‘burning-fire sensation’, in your own way.

What informed your choice of song producer?

Initially, we had penciled down popular producers like Sheyman, K-Solo, Puffy T and ID Cabassa but they were not chanced during that period. As for Puffy T, he had already produced a number of tracks on the album, so we wanted somebody else.

There was this guy who used to work for us called Chiffo. We guided Chiffo and before we knew it, we had a good song. That day in the studio after we finished recording the song, everybody felt it was fantastic.

So you knew from the onset that the song was going to be a hit?

We had an idea. No artiste can tell a hit song from the studio. You just do your best and leave the rest. There are some fantastic songs but because it’s not yet their time, the songs just float.

But when its your time, just a little effort will produce a hit. It’s only God that gives an artiste a hit, it’s not by your power. Anybody could have sang Alanta but God reserved the blessing for Artquake.

Why did you guys decide to record a song that’ll come with a dance?

We’ve been doing it a long time. ‘Abule l’awa’ has its own dance style. Maybe we didn’t really put it right in the video. ‘Everybody are you ready’ also has its style.

Artquake- IceK and Adex
Artquake- IceK and Adex

The good thing about Alanta is the song lyrics itself. In ‘Abule l’awa’ and some of our other songs that have dance styles, we didn’t really talk about the dance but Alanta is the celebration of a particular dance.

When did you write Alanta?

In May last year.

Did you record it for the album?

We had finished compiling songs for the album. Alanta was the last. In fact, we had done Artquake album listening party. That was in 2007. We were supposed to release the album early 2008 before Alanta came into the scene.

What was the progression of recording like?

We wrote the lyrics before going to the studio. Chiffo produced the song, then the track was mixed and mastered by Sheyman.

How long did the song play for before people caught the buzz?

The single was released on radio in December 2008 but it didn’t really catch on until this year when the video dropped. We thought just the audio would not work because we were trying to describe a dance and people need to see how the dance is done. The expectation was high and people were asking questions on how to dance ‘E be like fire…’ Even when we shot the video, we just had an idea of how the dance should go. We were not perfect unlike now.

Who shot the video?

Even though we shoot videos for others, they say ‘a barber can’t cut himself’. What we did was to draw up the story board for the shoot, including shot angles. We then called Dan Bishop (Nollywood’s Doris Simeon’s husband) and explained to him what we wanted, especially on the camera shots. And then we got the kid saying ‘Gini ki cho?’

What language is ‘Gini ki cho’?

Actually, what we tried to do was to bring in the Igbo language that means ‘wetin happen’ but people say ‘Kini ki jo’ so we just give it to them.

How easy was it teaching your video cast and how long did it take to teach the dance?

Two things happened while shooting that video. There was this set of uninvited people that were dancing the style very well. We approached them and tried to talk them into featuring in the video and that we would pay them.

They refused. Then there was a particular guy who criticized the dance outrightly. When the video was released, some of these people called us saying they wished they were in the video. We tried to use people that were committed. Many of whom we had to teach.

Many didn’t know the dance until the day of the shoot. Even I (ADX) was taught by my younger brother. The dance already existed but we modified it. In the original dance, you beat your tummy, we introduced the chest gestures.

What do you think is the main attraction to that song?

It’s the dance moves in the video.

Song Title: Alanta
Song Producer: Chiffo
Artiste: Artquake
Intro: Artquake Style you know! No be say one thing, one thing
Giniki Jo, jo jo jo,
Giniki (4times), Giniki Cho,jo jo jo,

E Be like fire, dey burn my body, Je kin fera, oru’n mu mi  /2ce
Open your arms like say u wan fly away, Jupa juse sibi, je kajo ma sere /2ce
Alanta (3ce), One leg up; Alanta (3ce) Two legs up (Repeat)

Verse 1
I see this baby stand for corner start to dey wind that thing
I was tempted to touch and I ask her baby can u dance with me
She dey dance I dey demo I dey look am say na which kind dance be this
She change position say she go teach me one particular dance lesson
My baby ooooohhh my cherry coco
Lets get to the floor make we dey dance dey go
As u see me soooo, I’m a fast learner oooohhh
Baby don’t stop I never sabi teach me more

Verse 2
I’ve been watching you girl, as u dey do it do it
Iwo tun le gan, I can’t wait to feel your body
I dey imagine, how e go be, if I sabi do wetin u dey do
Oma le gan, oma dende
Give it to me gbo gbo ere, loni were were
Just like wetin I say, let me take your breath away
Oya oya alanta, kajo mara
Loni fera fera, I no dey tire
To ba ti je alanta, alanta, alanta

Verse 3
Galala and Swo were the steps I thought could knock me off my feet
I’m so surprised the way alanta dey change the song I dey sing
Alanta, alanta, alanta oh ha alanta, alanta
Giniki cho, jo jo jo
My baby ooooohhh my cherry coco
I don sabi oh
Make we dey do am dey go
As u see me soooo, i don sabi pass u oh
Lets change position make I show u I no dey joke



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