Posted: 25 May 2023

Debo Adebayo on the top three tracks that sum up STARS

Debo Adebayo. Photo by Bettina Adela

He is a theatre and cultural producer, DJ and music publisher and has worked with the likes of Talawa, Nitro, Tangle, The Red Room, Utopia Theatre and Collective Artistes and in 2012, he founded music publisher, Mix ‘n’ Sync. He’s been our Lead Producer for eons until he joined Paines Plough as their Deputy Artistic Director earlier this year <insertsadface>. 

But most recently, he is the human behind the amazing music direction and DJ mixes that form part of a set that plays throughout STARS: An Afrofuturist Space Odyssey – the banger of a play by Mojisola Adebayo, currently busy collecting 5 stars on the touring circuit. 

One half of the formidable Adebayo siblings, Debo shares his top three tracks that sum up the show. Enjoy! 

Underground Resistance – Inspiration  

Underground music is what really drives me most, musically, and I usually find myself taking a counterculture approach to most things. It’s joyous when tracks surface in underground scenes and speak to more people than just the avid followers of a sub-genre and I think Inspiration does that. It’s a relatively older Techno track (UR fittingly calling it Hi Tech Jazz) but still provides a real moment to let loose, embrace the atmosphere and euphoria in a club/party environment. We really wanted to embrace that feeling of joy and pleasure in creating STARS. 

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

I just love everything about this song. It’s a stone cold classic and one that I return to time and again. It was a big departure from what he had done previously, a bit like the journey our ‘Mrs’ goes on in STARS. The lyrics are specific to a time but they still transcend across generations; there is so much meaning to be found in the simple words.  Some of my favourite music comes from or is heavy influenced by Detroit, and this track was amongst the birth of that. I also love that in his later album Midnight Love he embraced the 808 drum machine, an instrument that would become legendary in House and Techno.  

The Lyman Woodward Organisation – Joy Road 

With its horns, keys, and synths this track creates a wall of sound that is so emotive; it stirs a feeling of reflection, sadness but also hope and light. I was looking for a track that would say all these things and help set up the cosmic journey taken by STARS’ central character – a woman known only as ‘Mrs’ until the show’s climax; being taken down Joy Road couldn’t be more fitting. Fun fact – this track also features in the show itself. 


Bradley Charles as DJ Son in STARS. Photo by Ali Wright


Enjoy the full setlist of STARS: An Afrofuturist Space Odyssey at a venue near you. STARS on tour – full dates & ticket info