Under Pressure Sundays: [Interview]

UPS-yunginnn boy
Illustration by DrugFreeSports.

Under Pressure Sundays is the collective doing things differently, by offering its audience a unique audio and visual experience. UPS began last year, and the initial concept of releasing weekly playlists every Sunday is what set it apart from other collectives, and intrigued listeners and artists alike. We spoke to UPS to learn about its origins, the artists involved and the relationship between its visual and audio elements. UPS also created an exclusive mix of original tracks from previous playlists.


SZN 3.3 Illustration by Musonda Kabwe.


How would you describe UPS to someone who’s never heard of it before?

UPS displays music made in people’s comfort zones, allowing them to extend that intimate experience into this intimate space.

Who created UPS and why?

The concept of UPS was something that was very spontaneous. It was founded by Bonolo Thomas aka Bo’s Hub and DrugFreeSports. Bonolo is a 23-year-old student, producer and DJ. DrugFreeSports is a 24-year-old student, photographer, visual artist, painter and producer. The two are really good friends who exchange and create music, alongside other homies including Lazy Ent, TH3KWL3ST aka DJ Mdubulo and Satori Nova. UPS had intended to be a safe space for us all to drop beats and tracks we had made with each other and by ourselves. The structure of our weekly drops pushed us beyond our comfort zones, which brought about a sense of momentum (which was very exciting) and things seemed grow from then.


How would you describe the UPS sound?

This is a tough question because UPS is bound by nothing. It’s a fluid music space that is open to anyone who wants in. UPS incorporates a variety of sounds including down-tempo house, afro-house remixes, hip-hop flips, sounds coupled with dialogues and conversations, experimental bassy beats, gqomish bassy beats, soul feels, ambient vibes, garagey vibes, lo-fi beats, space travel shit and we’ve now received really sick rap and lyrical content from heavy, heavy dudes.
SZN 2.5.


How is UPS different from any other collective or platform out there right now?

The openness of the UPS page forces it to be diverse, and this might be the main characteristic that distinguishes it from other platforms or collectives. There’s also potential for multi-dimensional growth that transcends a space that is solely musical, which adds to the unpredictability of UPS.


Is there a vision for UPS?

Each of the UPS team members, as well as it’s contributors have some sort of vision for their artistry that UPS has potential to contribute towards. Right now, this is the driving force, as there isn’t a distinct vision UPS seeks to achieve other than to facilitate artistic growth and to share each other’s good music, visual pieces, poetry etc.


How do you go about choosing artists to be part of each playlist?

During the first season we sourced tracks from our homies Dada Shiva, Lazy Ent, Justice Machaba and other talented beat makers. We also got beat submissions from homies we didn’t know that had the sauce. Right now, we source from people we come across that are packing the heat, and we receive submissions from those who want in.


SZN 3.5


Each playlist has its own persona, which is also brought across with the artwork. Was it a conscious decision to make the artwork such an integral part of the UPS experience?

Each drop represents a new body of work so the tracklist is not random. Instead, it is well curated and thought out for the benefit of the experience, and so is the artwork. Our role as the team is to ensure cohesion in the sense that the pieces of art we source and receive are appropriately coupled together (both on a musical and visual level). There may be elements of randomness, but the broader intended outcome follows a hands-on type of process.

There hasn’t been a new season in a while. Can we expect one anytime soon?

We’d prefer to keep the structure to two seasons per year, given what is required of the artists who contribute to UPS. It is the most realistic way to do things because everyone has their own outside hustle that they’re pushing. Having said that, a fourth season is definitely underway.


Are there any exciting developments in the works that we should look out for?

There are a number of projects that are in the works with people we have met through this platform, as well as through other mediums. As much as it is exciting it is very premature to elaborate on, but watch this space yo!

Listen to the mix below:

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