DLT Brunch is here to create more wondrous party experiences for Black people
A brief, honest chat with co-founders Anthony & MK
A brief, honest chat with co-founders Anthony & MK
If the Coronavirus pandemic amplified anything, it’s our consistent need for in-person communities. UK-based events outfit, Days Like This (DLT), earned its social capital by curating unmissable community experiences, putting on brunches and day parties that grew into a staple of London’s party scene over the past few years. The pandemic temporarily halted operations for DLT Brunch, but it barely dented its momentum—and instead sharpened the group’s sense of purpose.
Co-founded by friends, Michael “MK” Amusan, Bosun Apata and Anthony Iban, DLT started as a quest to fill a vacuum. Raised in London, the trio moved to New York for a year-long internship in the city that never sleeps. This eye-widening experience included the array of day time events that stuck with them even when they returned to the UK.
That part of London’s party scene was pretty much non-existent at the time, prompting the creation of DLT as a proactive outfit to offer similar experiences, but tailored to appeal to Londoners. What started, circa 2016, as a minor key event with about 200 attendees, steadily grew and began attracting partygoers in their thousands across the years.
📍Love from #DLTLagos 🇳🇬
This festive season is about to be lit-lit 🙌🏾 See you soon! 👊🏾🇬🇧🇬🇭
— Days Like This (@DLTBrunch) December 25, 2019
In 2019, DLT hosted multiple events in London, expanded its parties to Ibiza, then Lagos and Accra towards the end of that year. The Covid-enforced lockdown followed suit, but the lasting impact DLT had on its attendees renewed the outfit’s impetus and refreshed the perspectives of its founders. “I think, for us, we represent a group of people connected to their roots but there’s not necessarily a space for us to exist in,” MK says in a chat with The NATIVE over a Zoom call. “I think we started to learn that we were a staple within the London party culture. What it made us do is help us realise we weren’t always intentional for what we were doing for Africans and Caribbeans in London, because that’s who we were appealing to.”
With a better understanding of its responsibility to the Black community in the UK, DLT returned last summer with stronger convictions, hosting several events, including one at Boxpark Croydon with Rema as its headliner. DLT also hosted an intimate live event celebrating Aaliyah’s legacy, coinciding with the influential R&B icon’s music finally making its way to streaming platforms, before closing out the year in the same fashion as 2021 with a series of parties in Accra, Ghana. Their return to Ghana is part of a forming dedication to “make Africa DLT’s second continent.”
Some days into December, we had a conversation with co-founders and friends, MK and Anthony about DLT’s stellar run in 2021, previous experiences in Ghana and Nigeria, and more. Our chat has been lightly edited for clarity, and it follows below.
NATIVE: How has 2021 been for you, so far?
MK: We just started doing events properly since the pandemic, so it’s been just crazy ‘cause we’re trying to do as much as we can. We’ve managed to do a lot of cool things this year; we had Rema perform at one of our events in August, we’re going to Ghana again—we haven’t been back since 2019—and, you know, just been able to come out and party with people like before is just a good feeling.
NATIVE: How about you, Anthony?
Anthony: It’s been good, you know? Like MK said, having that year off was a bit intense, because 2019 was the year DLT had really grown. We just got back from Ghana, we were in Nigeria, and then we had to go into lockdown. So, it’s really good that we’ve been able to celebrate and party amongst each other. Also, we’re able to travel and go back to Ghana this year, it’s really, really exciting, and all of the future possibilities.
NATIVE: What was Ghana like the first time?
Anthony: It was incredible, man. It was a bit of a risk from us, ‘cause we’re both Nigerians and we were told by a lot of our Ghanaian friends to pull an event in Ghana, but we were sceptical because we hadn’t been there before and didn’t know what the landscape would be like. When it actually happened, it was amazing, the energy was crazy and people absolutely loved it. I still get people, till this day, telling me DLT Ghana 2019 is the best event they’ve ever been to, and we just said to ourselves, we 100% have to be back there every December if that’s possible.
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NATIVE: You were in Lagos around the same time, too.
MK: Yeah. Again, it was a similar situation to Ghana, where we’d been doing our events in London, we had quite a few events and more people started taking notice to us—our events were selling out in minutes, seconds some times. There was a lot of social media buzz, then Bizzle came to one of our partners and he was like, “you guys need to bring this Lagos.” We were like, “for real?” At the time, it sounded like a crazy idea, but he was pretty certain. We met up with some people in Lagos—in fact, we started off the conversation in a WhatsApp group. Anthony went to Lagos and Ghana in November, met up with the people in charge of the venues we used in both countries, and yeah, that was it. We announced both dates, and it was a nice way to end the year, ‘cause we had Lagos, London, and we finished off the year in Ghana.
NATIVE: Across those experiences, what were the peculiar differences in organising an event in London and having to carry that over to Lagos and Accra?
Anthony: I think the hardest part is appealing to the locals. Obviously, we’re not creating an event just for people travelling, we still want to appeal to people in Lagos and Accra. So, I think it was really finding out the right DJs to book, and finding the right ways to advertise to those living in these cities, because these are quite different places to the UK. We had to talk to our friends to get recommendations for DJs and how to sell tickets, because we use British platforms to sell tickets over here but that’s not what people flock to in Lagos. Once we got our heads around all of that, it was quite smooth sailing.
NATIVE: It’s just one part of the experience, but how were you able to curate the food? I’d like to think you have set operations in the UK, so you’d have to manoeuvre different here.
MK: Funny enough, when we’re here, we’re quite flexible with how we do food. Sometimes, we bring in our caterers, other times we work with the venues and who they’ve got. Fortunately for us, the two venues we used—Atmostphere and Bloom Bar—they have their own catering team, so it was just a case of curating a menu that treated both the travelling audience as well as the local audience. It was just a case of sharing our ideas and figuring out what would work locally. We usually have four or five things on our menu, so we just picked two or three things that would work in London, two or three things that work locally, and let’s see which ones get the most love.
NATIVE: You reopened last year with several events, but the Aaliyah one stands out to us. How did that come about?
Anthony: One of my friends reached out to me and said that [record label and music services company] EMPIRE wanted to have a conversation. They brought up the idea to commemorate Aaliyah’s music and the re-release on streaming platforms, and we were born in the ‘80s but grew up in the ‘90s so Aaliyah was a staple in a lot of our childhood, so we thought it made sense. Also, because DLT—I guess, during the brunch—is very R&B focused, we felt this was an amazing marriage for us to be able to work with them and the music fit into what we normally do. It was a really fun but different way of how we do brunch, because we normally wouldn’t dedicate a brunch to one artist, but in this case it was cool because we were given the freedom to play different types of music, but we also incorporated a lot of Aaliyah songs in a natural way, if that makes sense.
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NATIVE: How was that for you, MK?
MK: Yeah, it was different kind of putting together an event which is solely focused on an icon. Like Anthony said, we grew up on ‘90s music, so it was a natural fit for brand and it was right up our street when we were approached to do it. When we have our events, at the beginning of the event, we always play classic, singalong R&B songs. It was different because we had to curate our music a little differently, we usually just start with R&B, but we started with it and finished with R&B. I really enjoyed the event, because I’m an R&B fan, and it also brought out a new, different audience of dedicated R&B lovers and they came to that event. Also, there was a lot less pressure, because it wasn’t as big as the two to three thousand DLT event. It was quite intimate, and it was fun to have a smaller event.
NATIVE: It looks like you guys basically picked up from where you left off when Covid first hit. How did the pandemic reshape what you think DLT’s role is in the Black community?
Anthony: I think the pandemic gave us a lot of breathing room and space to fine-tune the brand, and we realised that, especially in London culture, people were missing us. I think we started to learn that we were a staple within the London party culture. What it made us do is help us realise we weren’t always intentional for what we were doing for Africans and Caribbeans in London, because that’s who we were appealing to. So, the pandemic gave us the time to actually sit down and, just coming off Ghana and Nigerian as well, we fully realised this who our brand is for and these are the people we cater to. From then, we decided to be very intentional in the cultural moments that we involve ourselves in during the year. For instance, we’d do something during the Nigerian independence, and we’d also do something during the carnival. We’ve intentionally made ourselves that platform for the diaspora, and I think we wouldn’t have been as intentional without the pandemic, just that breathing space to figure out this who we want to be.
NATIVE: How about you, MK?
MK: I think for us, we represent a group of people connected to their roots but there’s not necessarily a space for us to exist in. That’s the audience we are, we’re from Nigeria, we live in London, but we also appreciate Nigerian music, Ghanaian music, Caribbean music, and the culture attached to them. We wanted that to show even more in our parties, and I think the pandemic made us realise we have this impact because when things are quiet, you notice that people remember the nostalgic moments, and a lot of them were still talking about DLT in Ghana. A lot of people are online, Clubhouse is a thing, and a lot of people were in there saying they couldn’t wait to go out again, and DLT was constantly mentioned. That gave us a sense of responsibility, like, we have this brand and people actually resonate with what we’re doing. We understand that responsibility and encourage it.
NATIVE: DLT is back in Ghana, how does that tie into the experience you want to give your audience?
Anthony: I think what we really want to give people is the freedom of being black and having the freedom of just doing what you like without any issues. I mean, we’re from the UK and there’s still some form of stigmatism of being black and enjoying yourself, and I feel like when we’re in Africa, there’s that freedom of being able to be, being able to enjoy ourselves to the maximum. The security, the owners of the venue want us to be here; we’re not seen as a minority, we’re part of the majority and that’s a feeling we want to give continuously. In the UK, we’re still black facing stigma whenever we’re just trying to enjoy ourselves, and we’re always trying to make sure the venue and security doesn’t see us this way. But in Ghana, it’s a whole 180.
MK: Yeah, man, I agree with that. In Ghana, it’s a different vibe, a different party from the UK, parts of Europe and maybe in America. Whereas, over there, it’s like partying at home with your people, the experience is just unmatched, and it feels like it’s curated for you.
NATIVE: So, Ghana is about to be the second home for DLT?
I think we want to get there, yeah, haha. We’re trying to make Africa DLT’s second continent in general, we’re still trying to build ourselves, ‘cause this is the second year over there and we haven’t done Nigeria but we’d love to be back. I want to say exclusively that we want to be everywhere in Africa.
MK: I feel like we’ll want to exist in any touchpoints in Africa that are welcoming of it and need this kind of experience.
We entered 2022 in Ghana 🇬🇭and celebrated with some beautiful people #polobeachclub 🏖️
Can't wait to party with you, all over again this year 👌🏿🥳🎉
— Days Like This (@DLTBrunch) January 16, 2022