Brian d’Souza is a musical polymath – by day, managing director and founder of Open Ear, a music playlisting agency that is re-inventing the background music space, by night award-winning DJ, producer and live performer with the alias Auntie Flo (a tribute to his Goan roots).

Since bursting onto the electronic music scene in 2010 when he was proclaimed as ‘one of the most original production talents of recent times’ (Crack Magazine), Brian has toured the world with his unique take on global music. The Guardian proclaimed he was ‘taking world music into the future’ and the Wire stated he is a ‘central figure of a new strand of club music’. This year has seen him headlining the inaugural We Out Here festival curated by the influential BBC DJ Gilles Peterson, pick up a SAY award for Scottish Album of the Year and be awarded Scottish Electronic Musician of the Year.

So, tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Brian D’Souza, part Scottish from Glasgow, part Goan, or ‘Glas-goan’ as I like to think of it. I live in London where I work in music, running the music playlist agency Open Ear by day and DJ-ing under the moniker Auntie Flo by night.
Auntie Flo DJ Set

Which artists have been the greatest influence on your musical style?

Fela Kuti, the first time I heard Fela was a game changer. I had previously immersed myself with predominantly western sounds- disco, house, techno and Fela’s afrobeat opened up a door to the rest of the world for me.

Matias Aguayo, a great innovator and visionary, with a niche following that should be much more widely known. The way he fuses latin music with upfront club sounds showed me that a new world of music was possible. Like Fela, the performative nature of his live sets stand him apart.

Tim Hecker, hearing Tim Hecker live for the first time helped change my perception of what is possible with music. More sculptural than song based, Tim’s music transcends time and affects your whole body, as well as your mind.

What is your cuisine of choice?

Probably a Goan Fish Curry. But anything Indian is good for me!

Are there any restaurant spots back home in Glasgow you would like to share with our readers?

Mother India is the best Indian restaurant in Glasgow. A legendary spot that has been around for years. One thing I really miss about not living in Glasgow is the Pakora! London needs to start offering it!

Crabshakk, when this opened across from our Glasgow office, it heralded the first of a new wave of restaurants in the Finnieston area that is now a destination for good food in Glasgow.

Monorail, Glasgow has been awarded for its Vegetarian restaurants and Monorail (alongside sister restaurants 78 and Saramago). It has the brilliant Mono records attached to it, which is a bonus!

You also work for OpenEar a music streaming service for businesses, particularly bars and restaurants, tell us a little about that?

I set up Open Ear 12 years ago. I’d just finished a degree in psychology and masters in sound design and I’m fascinated by the ways in which sound (and music) affects us in our every day lives.

In university, I got a first hand insight into this by DJing in various bars to earn some cash. I thought to myself, music is having such a big impact on everyone, but no one is really taking note. So Open Ear is based on these two sides – the science of music and the art of music curation.

From the early days from my bedroom to where we are at now, with a global business working with thousands of respected brands it has been quite a journey! Our basic mission remains the same – to help businesses use music effectively so they create the best listening experiences for their customers.

The struggle is real though, our culture is dominated by what we see, not what we hear – music is criminally undervalued! Open Ear’s task is to help prove to business our ears are open(!) and what we hear is just as important.

Do you have any interesting food related facts?

FACT – I don’t eat chocolate. I developed an intolerance to it when I was around 5 years old whilst on holiday in France. I ate a blue Smartie and promptly spat it out. Haven’t eaten chocolate since!

I’ve just moved into a new flat and designed our kitchen to be able to play vinyl whilst cooking.

What’s usually on the stereo whilst you’re cooking?

I’ve just moved into a new flat and designed our kitchen to be able to play vinyl whilst cooking. We cook every night so it’s a big part of the evening routine. Mostly I listen to ambient records or music I’ve collected on my travels. I DJ internationally a lot throughout the year and have made it my mission to buy as much local music as possible. This year I picked up loads of ambient music in Japan and Korea, electronic disco from Russia, hip hop from Miami, Bollywood from Bombay and African disco in Nairobi. If you are interested I’ve been making some a mixtape each month on my WorldWide FM radio show.

Who would be your dream dinner party guests?

Brian Eno. David Byrne. John Peel. Grace Jones. Sir Alex Ferguson. Delia Derbyshire. Gilles Peterson. Greta Thunberg (obviously).

What’s new for Auntie Flo, do you have a new release or tour?

I’m taking a break from Djing following a busy summer of touring with my live band. I’m using the time to build up my studio and make some new stuff. I’m also going to start a diploma in Sound Therapy, a topic I’ve been really interested in for a long time that ties into our growing work within wellness and health with Open Ear.

Please can you recommend a song for our playlist?

This must be the most difficult question of the lot! As I type I’m listening to Matthew Halsall – Stan’s Harp. I must listen to hundreds of songs everyday but this one stood out!

About The Author

David Farrer

David Farrer

David is the founder of EAT HEAR and co-founder of food and drink communications agency Fourteen Ten. Previous to launching a food and drink agency David spent a decade working in music publicity and had the idea for EAT HEAR in the notion that music and food, arguably the most important things in life, should be explored together.

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