&friends member Sean Thomas details the Afro house collective's rapid rise and where they plan on taking their music next.

In an era where algorithms and trends often drive music, &friends emerges as a collective dedicated to creating art with intention and cultural reverence. Founded by Sean Thomas, a Southern California native with a vision to unite impassioned creators from around the world, &friends is more than just a musical project – it’s a movement rooted in authenticity, storytelling, and the transformative power of collaboration.


Through a genre-bending fusion of Afro-house, pop, electronica, and Indigenous African rhythms, &friends crafts an evolving sonic tapestry that tells stories of resilience, joy, love, and the human experience. Each track is a journey, inviting listeners to dance while sparking curiosity about the diverse cultures and narratives woven into the music. At the heart of &friends is a collective of gifted artists from across the globe, including Nigerian vocalists Oluwadamvic, Phina Asa, eL Jay, and Dotun. United by a shared passion for their heritage and a desire to share their stories on a global stage, these collaborators bring a raw, unfiltered energy to the project that is both grounding and elevating. In the short time since launching in 2022, &friends has already made an indelible impact.


From debuting at Coachella’s DoLab stage to performing for thousands in Egypt, releasing remixes with icons like Sofi Tukker and Myke Towers, and earning support from the likes of Black Coffee, the collective is quickly becoming a prominant force in dance music. Most recently, the collective collaborated with Bob Sinclar and Zakes Bantwini on a moving official reimagination of Sinclar’s legendary classic, “Love Generation”. But for Sean Thomas, success is merely a means to a greater end. His ultimate vision is to leverage music as a vehicle for connection, healing, and unity. Whether it’s partnering with fashion brands to support charitable causes or using lyrics to address societal issues, &friends is driven by a mission to create art that uplifts and inspires. As the collective continues to gain momentum, it’s clear that &friends is not just another musical act – it’s a global movement of conscious creators using their gifts to change the frequency of the world. With an ethos grounded in authenticity, cultural reverence, and the power of human connection, &friends is poised to leave an indelible mark on the music industry and beyond.


In this exclusive Fresh Face feature, we sit down with Sean Thomas to dive deeper into the &friends journey. From the project’s origin story, to the power of collaboration, and Afro house as a unifying force to the role of music in cultural preservation, no topic is off limits. Get ready to go behind the scenes with one of the most exciting collectives shaping the future of dance music culture.

&friends’ original music is a rich tapestry of sounds and stories from across the globe. How do you approach the creative process of weaving together these diverse cultural elements into a cohesive narrative?

The biggest thing is staying true to ourselves, creating not for trends, but authentically being and doing what feels good in the moment. I don’t think there’s a recipe or a formula for it besides listening to the heart, connecting with each other and creating with intention. That’s where the magic comes from and I believe why our music is resonating differently.

Your DJ sets often feature unreleased &friends remixes of iconic artists like Eminem and Amy Winehouse that get the dancefloor moving. What goes into selecting and reimagining these tracks to fit the &friends sound?

There are certain artists who I’ve always respected who played a big part musically in my youth, those who told incredible stories, that persevered, that went through the mud and told it how it was. I always say I want to make people feel something they didn’t know they needed to feel, and that’s what all the artists whose records we’ve remade have done for me and I wanted to extend that feeling into a new generation and new audiences.

Tell us more about your most recent releases and upcoming music. How has expanding the fingerprint of &friends to remix more mainstream artists helped develop the project?

I couldn’t be more excited for the releases we have coming in the next few months. I have a collab with Bob Sinclar and Zakes Bantwini as we remade his classic record, ‘Love Generation’. That’s a dream come true as I remember hearing that song when it first came out when I was at my cousin’s wedding in Brazil in 2005. I have a remix of one of the most beautiful records I’ve heard by the Bantwanas, ‘Mama’, that’s coming out on Cercle Music. Then, something that’s near and dear to my heart is a two track EP called Liban, Mon &mour. They’re two covers of the legendary Lebanese singer, Fairuz, that I did with two amazing vocalists Shireen and Samia and one of the records is a collab with my little bro Alex Yav. And then another surreal one is an official remix of one the most well-known songs ever made, ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E King.


All of these releases and the remixes that we’ve been releasing have been about expanding the catalog, growing our audience, but more importantly, preparing us for the album, &family. We’ll have three singles to release in the fall before the album drops in January.

You’ve spoken about manifesting dream collaborations. If you could team up with any artist, living or not, who would it be and why? What kind of track would you create together?

This isn’t a fair question, there are too many! But if I had to choose one, the first person that comes to my heart and mind is Pharrell. That human is a creative genius in all aspects and someone I admire and respect greatly. He isn’t tied to a genre, he is tied to creating what feels good for him at that moment in time. I could see us in a studio with the &friends family, a gospel choir, some incredible musicians and coming up with what I believe could be a record deemed as gospel funk Afro house.

Tell us about your experience delivering &friends around the world – where have your favourite places to perform been, and tell us about some performance milestones.

It’s a dream come true experiencing so many different beautiful cultures, meeting humans from all walks of life, and creating connection through the gift of music. I think everyone knows this by now but there’s no place like Lebanon, the city of Beirut has a special, magnetic energy that is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Words don’t really do it justice. But there are so many incredible countries that I love playing in like Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, and Greece. One of my favourite sets I’ve ever played was a seven-hour sunrise set in the mountains of Beirut, a place called Faraya. That venue, Odin, is magic. You’re sitting above the clouds, watching a sunrise with the best humans who know how to live life… I mean, priceless. The other one is our first live show in Egypt. To think about our crew singing live in front of thousands of people with an incredible crowd. I can’t wait to start our live tour and travel with my chosen family.

&friends has partnered with brands and supported causes close to your heart. Can you share your approach to merging music and style with purpose?

It’s deeply rooted in my commitment to authenticity and meaningful impact. I believe that music and fashion are powerful vehicles for expression, and I believe they should resonate with our values and passions. It’s a beautiful thing when we create a symbiotic relationship where creativity meets purpose.


For me, this approach not only enhances my artistic endeavours and uses a different part of the creative brain, but also supports and amplifies the causes we care about, making our work not just about entertainment, but about fostering positive change and connecting with our community on a deeper level.

Playing sunrise sets in stunning locations seems to be an &friends speciality, like your upcoming show in the mountains of Lebanon. What is it about performing with nature as the backdrop that resonates with you?

 the root of where we come from, the most in tune and authentic vibration on the planet that creates an energy like no other. Being surrounded by the beauty and rawness of nature taps into something primal and profound within us. When you think about the sunrise, the sunrise itself symbolises new beginnings, fresh starts, and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. When I’m playing a set as the first light of day breaks over a breathtaking landscape, there’s a palpable sense of connection—not just with the music, but with the earth and the crowd. It’s a shared experience that transcends the usual boundaries and brings everyone into a harmonious state, united by the rhythms of the music and nature.

As &friends continue to evolve, where do you see the collective five years from now? What kind of impact do you hope to make in the music industry and beyond?

I see us playing a few big live shows a month across the world, in stadiums. Someone asked me this the other day and I gave the example that &friends are if Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay had children and they were an Afro house group. It goes back to what I said earlier, I want to make people feel something they didn’t know they needed to feel, and without this whole group, I wouldn’t be able to do that. It takes a village and we’ve got something very unique and beautiful that we’re bringing into the house music industry that hasn’t been done before. It’s threading the needle of familiarity and novelty.


Love, hope, beauty, curiosity, vulnerability, and connection. These are the only things I strive to create and weave with our music. It’s all about getting lost in the moment, a feeling, an emotion—whether that be happiness, sadness, pure joy, nostalgia, or great memories, even the challenging ones that haven’t been properly dealt with yet. In a world that often feels dark and disconnected, we need more light, more moments of genuine connection. The beautiful thing about music is it has the power to illuminate our hearts and minds and bridge the gaps between all walks of life. Through our music, I hope to shine a light that guides people toward understanding, compassion, and a deeper connection with themselves and others. The world needs more light, and if our music can be a small part of bringing that light to others, then we’ve achieved something truly meaningful.

Your live shows are known for their immersive, spiritually charged energy. How do you craft your sets to take the audience on a journey that goes beyond just entertainment?

It’s not so much about crafting sets as it is about creating music with deep intention and authenticity. Ultimately, it all comes back to the music, which is what fosters that immersive experience and deep connection with the audience.

And I think for me, playing only my own music in sets adds a layer of vulnerability and emotion. As I believe when you play your own creations it allows you to connect more deeply with the music, which in turn, enables the crowds to connect on a similar level and feel that energy that I’m giving.

From Fela Kuti to Miriam Makeba, African music has a long history of being a force for social and political change. In what ways do you see &friends contributing to this legacy of artivism?

It’s been incredible to visit many African countries in the last few years, especially Nigeria, and witness firsthand where our crew comes from, tapping into the rich culture that shapes their and our music. By giving them a platform to share their gifts with the world, we’re not just amplifying their voices but also providing opportunities for them to travel outside their country for the first time and pursue what they love. My hope is to help create generational wealth for them, ensuring their voices are heard on a global stage and continuing the legacy of African music as a powerful force for social and political change.

The &friends collective seems to have a very strong sense of family and community. How has building these personal connections influenced your music and overall vision for the project?

The music wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for this incredible group of humans. We’ve been able to take so many different emotions from all walks of life and put them into sound. Everyone in the collective has a unique story to tell, each marked by their own struggles and triumphs. The beauty lies in how effortlessly we can collaborate, merging these diverse experiences into our music.


This family bond influences our music profoundly, infusing it with authenticity and raw emotion. When we come together, it’s not just about creating records; it’s about sharing parts of our souls, supporting one another, and amplifying each other’s voices. This collective spirit and genuine connection are what make our music resonate so deeply with people. It’s a celebration of humanity and a testament to the power of unity.

As &friends gains global recognition and your platform grows, how do you hope to use your influence to create opportunities for other rising artists?

My goal is to build a collective that provides resources for artists who don’t have access to them, helping them elevate their craft and follow their dreams while giving back to their communities. The music industry is challenging, and talent alone isn’t enough today. I want to be on the forefront of enabling underserved artists to thrive by offering them the support and opportunities they need to succeed.


It’s about creating a network where artists can collaborate, learn, and grow together, fostering a sense of community and mutual upliftment. By creating a platform like this, we can amplify voices that might otherwise go unheard and help build a more inclusive and diverse music landscape. It not only nurtures individual talent but also strengthens the collective spirit, ensuring that everyone has a chance to shine and make a meaningful impact with their art.

Listen to &friends now: