KaeB: Interview

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Johannesburg-based producer KaeB is one of the most exciting and interesting producers right now. KaeB’s re-works are incredible, each with its own personality and authenticity.

He began a movement called #CozyFridays where he releases a new track every Friday. We spoke to him about #CozyFridays, his career so far and what else we can expect from him this year. He also graced us with an exclusive mix of all original tracks.

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When did you begin producing?

I started producing in 2010, most of the time I was finding my way using Fruity. Trial and error is how I taught myself to make music. 7 years later I am here getting better and better.

Your re-works are something else. How do you approach re-working a track and putting your own touch on it?

The ideas are honestly just spontaneous. I always focus on songs that I grew up listening to. The throwback feeling you get from listening to tracks. The goal with the re-works was me wanting to add my own modern touch to music that inspired me – all the beats have to have a particular bounce, which we call Mzansi Mnandi. You can only get it in South Africa.

How did the idea of #CozyFridays come about?

It was really just an idea that came about to strengthen my confidence, get people to listen and build a fan base. I always had a problem with my confidence when it came to my music. I was tired of waiting for people to put me on, so I decided to embark on this journey.

Listen to “FLWR” by KaeB below:

 

How have you found the #CozyFridays experience so far?

My fan base has grown and more opportunities to collaborate with other artists have opened up for me. The campaign has made it easier for me to create. I do not need to sit on a particular idea for too long now and have built up the ability to focus on creating whatever comes to mind as soon as the idea springs up.

Who are your biggest musical influences locally and internationally?

My foundation is definitely local and proudly South African. My influences are Lundi Tymara, Selaelo Selota, Jimmy Dludlu, Zim Ngqawana, Bhudaza, SanKomota, Joe Nina, Thandiswa Mazwai, Ringo, Lebo Mathosa, Freshly Ground, Mdu Masilela, Mandla Spikiri. I am probably the biggest Madlib fan and J Dilla was super influential in my journey in music. Also jazz artists like Miles Davis, Hugh Masikela and Thelonius Monk.

What’s the biggest positive to come from #CozyFridays?

My brand awareness is becoming stronger and more people from my country are showing love. For a long time, most of the love I received was from international folks and now that’s slowly changing with more people from home getting to know my work.

Listen to “Feel” Kaeb’s re-work of the 2005 hit “How do you feel” by TK:

 

Name a local producer we should be listening to right now?

B1, Buli, Tsukudu, Rendition, Sage Hitomi, Tweezy, Dellz and Rasco.

What prompted you to create the Rework EP?

My love for kwaito music, particularly because I feel like that era went by too fast.

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Which local artists would you love to collaborate with?

Hugh Masikela and Espacito. I am currently head-hunting a lot of local producers to work with.

What else can we expect from you this year?

My group called XMPL which I am in with Joburg-based rapper Bringo. I have a lot of collaborations in the pipeline with some really dope artists and I am also gonna start DJing.

Listen to the exclusive mix below:

Under Pressure Sundays: [Interview]

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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.

 

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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.
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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.

 

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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:

GinaJeanz: Interview

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GinaJeanz is the second artist featured in the Rocking The Daisies series, where the focus is on artists who are debuting at this year’s festival, creating their own path and pioneering forward-thinking music.

GinaJeanz is the undisputed queen of future beats right now. Her music has an air of grace, strength and fervour. The utmost effort and care is put into every track she releases, and her consistency is exceptional. Born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia Gina moved to Cape Town in 2010 to study graphic design at CPUT. The 26-year-old has since based herself in Cape Town where she works as a model, illustrator and producer. GinaJeanz is the first Namibian to play at Rocking The Daisies. We caught up with her about this and her musical journey.

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How and when did you start producing?

I started producing in 2007 with FL Studio. Back then I was just doing it for fun, but as I progressed I realised it was something I was really passionate about.

 What is your production process like?

I normally take some personal time out for myself to draw inspiration from my surroundings, this would entail a day at a museum, painting, or meditating. I have to set the tone and clear my head space before I get into my production.

 You’re the first Namibian to play at RTD. How do you feel about this?

I feel honored to represent my country at such an established music festival. This is a huge opportunity for me to showcase the talent out of Namibia.

 What was your reaction when you found out RTD wanted to book you?

I thought they were pulling my leg, I was so shocked when I got the email. I had to re-read it a couple of times just to make sure.

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 Which artists are you looking forward to seeing at RTD?

I’m definitely looking forward to Snakehips and Flume’s performances.

 What are you looking forward to the most about playing at RTD this year?

Just the whole experience really. I’m looking forward to playing my own music and meeting the other performers, and having a good time with the crowd.

Which local artists would you give anything to collaborate with and why?

I recently came across Langa Mavuso’s music and I just think his voice is so silky and smooth.

 How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?

Future beats, a twist on r&b and melodic progressions.

 What advice would you give any females who are thinking about starting producing music or who have just begun?

For me it’s all about consistency and constantly challenging myself. My advice would be “just start somewhere, and really work on your craft”.

 Name one local artist we should be listening to right now?

Langa Mavuso, for real.

 What can we expect from your RTD set?

I have a pretty chilled future bass dance set prepared, but who knows I might just switch it up.

 

  • Rocking The Daisies takes place from 5-8 October 2017. Get your tickets here.

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Dwson: Interview

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Picture: Curtis Golden Photography

Last Monday, Rocking The Daisies announced its lineup for this year’s installment of the ground-breaking festival. We decided to interview two artists who are playing at RTD for the first time this year. They’re artists who are creating their own paths, and are pioneering some of the most forward-thinking music right now.

First up, is Cape Town-based house producer and DJ  Dwson. His career has experienced enormous growth this year, and has firmly placed him as one of the most in demand and influential artists right now. The 23-year-old is renowned for his refined, soulful and lush soundscapes. This year he’s been booked for two of South Africa’s biggest festivals, Oppikoppi and RTD in October. We spoke to him about where his love for music comes from, what inspires his music and what to expect from his RTD set later this year.

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 Rocking The Daisies is your second major festival booking, how do you feel about being part of such a momentous occasion?

I’ve seen and heard nothing but great things about RTD. So many great acts get to showcase what they do, and I’m just happy and excited to be part of such an amazing festival.

 This year your career has really taken a leap, and hit a few milestones like RTD. What do you think your success is owed to?

I owe both small and big accomplishments to God.

When did you start producing?

In 2012 I did a one year production course at Soul Candi Institute of Music.

 What inspires your music?

Everything and anything, from listening to different types of music, whether it’s jazz, soul, r&b or house. Inspiration hits me anytime of the day. From being in a club to walking in a busy street, the sounds of nature, kindergartens, hallways, cafés, many things.

Which local and international artists influence you and why?

There’s a few local artists that influence me, many of them for different reasons. But one that has been a huge influence is KYMAC. His work rate and ethic is just crazy and his sound is so matured, I love his work! There’s a lot of artists internationally that influence me too, from the Soulection crew to the house idols. To name a few, Evil Needle, J-Louis, Sivey, Ju Soul, IAMNOBODI, Anton Lanksi, Baaz, Bonobo, Moomin, Atjazz and the list can go on. Each artist has inspired me in some way to be different and always push boundaries, experiment, and do certain things that wouldn’t be safe to do with the type of music I make.

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Picture: Curtis Golden Photography

 Where does your passion for music come from?

It comes from my father and his fetish for good soul music. If it weren’t for him and the music I was introduced to at a young age, I’d probably not have been at this point in my career.

What are you looking forward to the most about playing at RTD this year?

The big sound rig, playing for thousands of open-minded music lovers and watching so many peeps enjoying themselves. Just the good vibes, and seeing some of the other top artists perform as well.

Name one local artist we should be listening to right now?

KYMAC !

What can we expect from your RTD set?

People can expect the sound they know me for and a whole lot more. Lots of emotive and feel good stuff, and I’m definitely going to put that massive rig to good use. We’ll see how it goes, I’m looking forward to RTD.