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.


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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:

Fosta: “Where Have You Been?” ft. Fancy Galada [Omar Morto remix]


 Kwaai-Fi is the platform pushing the vast landscape of sounds coming out of Cape Town right now, focusing on deep house, sjoko joko, future beats, kwaito and anything fresh out the Cape. Kwaai-Fi Volume 1 was released last November and included six tracks of original music and remixes from heavyweights FOSTA, Dunn Kidda, Terrasoul and DJ Maramza. After some silence the platform is back with a remix of FOSTA’s latest track from Omar Morto, and the promise of regular tracks for the rest of the year.

                    FOSTA (Picture by Ashiq Johnson)
Omar Morto (Picture by Ashiq Johnson)

FOSTA released “Where Have You Been” two months ago on his label 021 Records. The track fuses his energetic afro house style with the glorious vocals of Cape Town-based Fancy Galada. From the production to the vocals it’s a masterpiece, and pulls the listener in with its stirring emotion.

Omar Morto stripped down the afro house track, and created a bold chill wave remix. He built it around key elements of the original like the melody, vocals and drum line, but also completely reinvented it. The remix is a dark and chilling rendition, that’s as intriguing as it is profound. Its simplicity and minimal tone make it so effective. The bass is weighty and tempo slowed, and it’s just as commanding and emotionally gripping as the original. The only critique is that it’s way too short.

Listen to Omar Morto’s remix below:

GinaJeanz: Interview


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.


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.



 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.


Dwson: Interview

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.


 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.

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?


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.


June Selects: Playlist

June Selects17

June Selects is the first of a new feature on The BASSics, that highlights local and international tracks released each month. Every month hundreds of tracks are released, and doing a write-up on every single one is just not feasible. So we’ve decided to compile a playlist that will be released at the end of each month, showcasing the tracks we can’t get enough of.

For the first installment the playlist is mostly local, and includes tracks from Chee, Rose Bonica, Fosta and a track from Sean Munnick that was released in May, but it’s so great it had to be included. On the international side, there’s a gorgeous ballad from Jordan Rakei, a rework of a classic from J. Robb and brand new Halogenix.

Listen to June Selects below:

MalcoHol X Michel- Mess: “Dance or Die”


Mozambican house producers MalcoHol and Michel Mess collaborated on “Dance or Die”. Both producers are currently based in Cape Town and are pushing their respective sounds. MalcoHol began producing in 2011 and Michel in 2015, and have since both had releases on local and international labels. MalcoHol’s had releases on local record labels Chutney Records, Immoral Music and international releases on East Project in the UK and Augmented Deep in Belgium. Michel’s had local releases on Immoral Music and MudPie Records. Internationally he’s released on  Bloc Beatz Records in the UK and Inusual Series in Spain.

“Dance or Die” is a culmination of deep house, tech house, and jacking house. It’s a funky, whimsical track that has great anthemic potential. It’s one of those tracks where you’ll get the overwhelming urge to get up and shake a leg or two, and bask in how infectious the rhythm is. It also has a few twists and turns, and exudes a level of maturity and innovation from its creators. “Dance or Die” has only scraped the surface for both up-and-comers, and if it’s anything to go by, their futures are going to be furiously bright.

Listen to “Dance or Die” below:



CAPECLUB  is a new platform by Omar Morto and The Surreal Sessions. It intends on highlighting South African producers that are on the fringes. It was established in December last year, and at the moment there are six artists part of CAPECLUB, these include The Surreal Sessions, Ethan Crowie, Slim Groove, Jaydon Lewis, Sage Hitomi and Mew Zu.

The BLUE Series is CAPECLUB’s second musical showcase, with the first being The Yellow Series which was released a month ago. The BLUE Series showcases the extraordinarily talented Mew Zu and his latest track “Cryptkeeper”. It’s an ominous, dark and intriguing offering from Mew Zu where he holds nothing back. The luscious bass line, coupled with unusual and daring sound effects and a gripping melody create an unbreakable force.

Listen to The BLUE Series below:


SKinniez: Happy Birthday Hotep Galeta [New release]


DJ SKinniez  pays tribute to his late father with his latest release Happy Birthday Hotep Galeta. It’s his second annual tribute to his father and South African jazz legend Hotep Idris Galeta. The playlist was released on 7 June which would have been Hotep’s 76th birthday.

Elements from hip hop, r&b, soul, jazz and future beats are heard throughout the playlist. When it comes to production, SKinniez can be quite unpredictable and you can never be sure what you’re in for. However, soul and ingenuity are always guaranteed.

The seven track playlist shows off different aspects of his artistry, from sampling tracks and breathing new life into them, creating bulky hip hop and trap inspired beats to creating something more subdued and moving. He makes use of flips and chops, and his sound can be experimental at times, with his almost erratic use of sound effects and synths.

“Persistence__Hope” starts off the playlist, and begins with a recording of him speaking. It then morphs into three different wavy hip hop beats, each one effortlessly transitioning into the next. Track three, “FxF Flip” shows a more hard-hitting side of the producer, with its weighty bass and cheeky sound effects. “IntheDARK-[LIGHTning]” is enchanting as it begins with a nonchalant future beat and then turns into more of a house-styled beat. Again, it exhibits his ability to seamlessly change the direction of a track and give it an entirely new persona.

SKinniez has crafted his own sound, and although erratic at times, it’s never void of direction or energy. It’s clear that he draws inspiration from many things especially his father, which contributes significantly to his boundless potential.

Listen to “Happy Birthday Hotep Galeta” below:

Davve Beats: Baile Ikapa [EP Release]


Davve Beats ventured into new territory with his debut EP, by combining the Brazilian genre of baile funk with South African soundscapes. The EP is his first solo release in two years – as he also forms part of the duo Beat Sampras – and it’s his first release under the moniker Davve Beats.


Baile originated in Brazilian townships, known as favela’s. It became popular in the 1980’s and tackled social issues such as poverty, violence and social injustice with its hard-hitting lyrics. In 2004 Diplo made the genre known internationally, when he created a mixtape called Favela on Blast, from his time searching the favela’s for new baile music and artists. In recent years, Sango from Soulection has been a huge advocate for the raw baile sound, and has helped pioneer the sound as we know it today. It’s intense, emotive and fast paced.


With Baile Ikapa Davve does an incredible job at finding and aligning African tracks with baile samples. Everything flows and nothing feels forced or out of place, even though the tracks are worlds apart. The first two tracks “Introducao” and “Baile” fuse traditional baile samples with heavy-set hip hop and trap beats.



“e-MOTION-al” samples Black Motion’s hit “Rainbow”, and makes use of the iconic horns from the original to assist with its transition to a classic baile track. “Yizo Reprisenta” sees the DJ Zinhle anthem undergo a fierce baile revamp, and adds an exhilirating drop. South African hip hop star Nasty C’s “Hell naw” is sampled in “Chill bro”, and is given a less rigid baile feel. Baile Ikapa is a brilliant ode to what influences Davve and his sound. The EP is bold, and if anything, makes you acutely aware of Davve’s astonishing talent and vision.


Listen/download “Baile Ikapa” below:


Christian Tiger School: “If You Want To” [Single Release]


Christian Tiger School are one of South Africa’s foremost electronic acts. They’ve gifted us with an explosion of sonic euphoria with their latest single. Sonar premiered the mammoth track, as the duo will be playing at Sonar in Barcelona on 15 June this year.

Their last offering was the album Chrome Tapes released two years ago, which saw them shift from an experimental hip hop sound to a more electronic one. “If You Want To” sees the duo explore the latter, and spoils the listener with a mixture of impeccable drum work, rhythmic waves, volcanic bass and an unforgettable melody.

One of the stand out elements of the track is its drum work, which elevates it into a transcendental state. The melody has an unwavering calming effect. The bassline and melody are equally as profound as the drum sequence, and the combination makes it a sensory experience, not just a sonic one. “If You Want To” is organic and addictive. It’s one of those tracks that can be put on repeat, and each time your appreciation for it grows.

Listen to “If You Want To” below: