Armel Ngungu Nanga and Bibi Seck Talk Bold Beginnings While Sipping a Bulldog Gin and Tonic

Every success story starts with a vision that gives the creator the drive to achieve the impossible. Bulldog gin supports bold beginnings, that’s why in collaboration with this bold gin, we portrayed four ambassadors with four upcoming creatives to have a heart-to-heart chat about their bold beginnings. Today, we introduce you to dancer and choreographer Armel Ngungu Nanga and DJ Bibi Seck.

It’s probably the most cliché question, but how are you?

Armel: I’m doing fine. I can’t complain.

Bibi: I’m a bit stressed, but I’m doing good. I just finished a whole season on the radio, so I can relax for a bit. Bookings are finally coming in again, so I’m trying to gather all my energy to start again.

Is it different to prepare a show for a radio show compared to live sets?

Bibi: Yes, I play songs much longer to get the hour filled. I mix quicker when I play in front of people because the radio is a more chill setting where the music has more time to establish itself. A live audience needs more dynamic.

Armel, you usually go on tours throughout the year. In what way did the uncertainty of going on tour impact your view on your passion?

Armel: This pandemic helped me to give myself rest. I’ve been working super hard and was blessed to have these opportunities, so I won’t complain. We didn’t know what would happen at the start of the pandemic. It helped to know that everyone was in the same situation, and you weren’t the only one stuck at home.

Bibi: You don’t feel guilty about staying home. (laughs)

Armel: Exactly. It was nice to rest, but the money part looked different with all the jobs and bookings you were supposed to have. Everything was canceled, so you have to think differently. This had a big impact on my future as I’ve been in it for twenty years, and the end of my career is near. Of course, I’m still going to do different things like directing tours, but I was supposed to go on my last tour as a dancer. At the moment, it feels weird because I don’t have a perspective. After all, this also impacts the market, and people will make different choices.

Since music plays such a big part in your life, would you say that the pandemic shows that music unites people?

Bibi: I’m going to be honest, not really. Going out and having a drink is one of the main occasions people listen to music. For years, I’ve done many bookings, so this forced stop helped me to reflect on these years, where everything went by at such a fast pace. In the beginning, I didn’t even listen to music and just took a full break, but since live shows are slowly happening, it changed. Just experiencing music with friends was something I didn’t know I missed because it was something so natural in my life.

Armel: I think people didn’t realize that. Our society has a big social part, where music is an important extra. When they reopened some things last year, you could see the happiness even though we were still a bit distant.

Bibi: Some people will come to your show and pay attention to your set, but most people go outside to be seen and wear nice clothes.

Armel: Exactly, but for my art, dancing, I could see that people were missing shows, concerts, and festivals.

Since we’ve had a lot of time to reflect, how do you look back at the early stage of your career?

Bibi: For me, it was a journey where you learn and grow. In the beginning, I would accept any booking to get out there and accepted fees under 100 euros. As I got older, I started to invest more time into mixing songs and took it more professionally. I always make sure that the gig I’m doing represents who I am because it’s a bit like I’m a brand where a booker knows who I am and what I do.

Armel: It’s obvious for me that if this pandemic would have been five or six years ago, I wouldn’t handle it the same way as now. I tried to take it in a good way because it was time to sit, think, and do everything for a good future. We were so busy, and we’re not thinking of the future because we were blessed. This break made me realize that you need to be more aware of life. From day one to now, I’m still able to make my choices, and I don’t want to do something just for money.

To conclude, what’s your current life motto or what inspired you to begin bold?

Bibi: That’s a good one. It’s a quote about integrity, and I forgot how it goes, but it means that you don’t need to sell out. At first, I mixed R&B and hip hop, but then I got booked for more commercial events, but playing commercial music isn’t my thing and didn’t make me happy. Stay true to what you want to do.

Armel: I would say, health care is the most important thing. Mind and body.

Bibi is wearing a Vetements shirt dress and Dr. Martens boots. Armel is wearing sf1og jacket and trousers, with Nike sneakers.

Photography and video direction by Matias Batallé
Production and art direction by ENFNTS TERRIBLES StudioDries Vriesacker
Styling by Kate Housh
Makeup and hair by Emma Catry
Production assistantIsa De Boeck
Styling assistants: Lyncia Froidmont, Lauryn Vanhaverbeke, Iman Majid
Makeup assistant: Sarah Carlier
directorAitana Del Sol

Interview by Maxim Meyer-Horn

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