Meet Sonny Dhanowa from Trowbridge in the UK.
After studying Biological and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Exeter, then working for ten years, Sonny (pictured right) decided on a total change of field and direction and pursued a new career in music and business. If you are familiar with the social media of Antwerp’s vibrant music scene, you may have noticed Casa De Sonny events on your feed. These evenings take place for free in Sonny’s stylish Italiëlei apartment, and showcase local and visiting musicians.
Having been to one of these, I was curious to learn about what inspired Sonny to do this here in Antwerp …
So who are you and what are you doing here in Antwerp?
I’m Sonny Dhanowa from the Trowbridge, UK (nearish to Bristol). I was living in Barcelona, Spain for thirteen years before coming here three years ago, and before that I was in London. I’m a DJ/ producer and general music lover. I’m using Antwerp as a base of operations while I kick start different music related projects.
I went to a Casa de Sonny evening, and would love to come again. It seemed a very unusual event -what prompts someone to open the doors of their home for free and making no profit, as a hang-out for people who they do not know?
I’ve been promoting nights- on and off- for most of my adult life; from the standard party with DJs to more elaborate and unusual nights involving different cultural aspects such as bands /film /dance/spoken word. I was extremely fortunate to move into a nice large loft-style apartment when I arrived in Antwerp, so the decision was basically made for me. And as I’ve found Antwerp to be quite an expensive city, it was easy not-charging people entrance and tell them to bring their own drinks. I believe in uniting people through community projects regardless of age, race, gender, language … but also regardless of wealth. I also LOVE meeting new people!
What should we be looking out for at Casa de Sonny, or on the Antwerp music scene in the near future?
As per usual, I’ll be holding an eclectic mix of events over the following months: singer-songwriters, comedy nights, African music nights, and even album launches from local hip-hop artists. From an Antwerp perspective, there is way too much going on, I actually have a hard time keeping up with everything!
My next night is on the 14th of July – Ants Jeffares (NZ) & Jo Laureys (BE)
What are your favourite Antwerp hang-outs and venues & why?
My favourite hang-out is my flat! But apart from the obvious, I love chilled out bars, Crossroads Café is a personal favourite -mainly because it’s the closest bar to where I live, but also because they have live music events and jam sessions.
What are your current (or near-future) projects and aspirations?
I’m gearing up to release an album in September on a small record and apparel label I’m in the process of setting up: Blue Ghost Records and Apparel.
With my long-time collaborator, Daniel Roberts, we form the duo, “Dekalog”. Our first release, “Een: Bread and Circuses”, is with Antwerp jazz singer, Fien Desmet, and Ghent/London based rapper Amazumi, and also features contributions from musicians from various parts of the world.
Intrigued? Check out these links to find out more:
Blue Ghost Records on Instagram
With many thanks to Sonny Dhanowa for this interview and for the images used in this post.