Tag Archive | "House Music"

F What You Heard, Local is Lekker!

I can never stress enough the importance of creating musical works that are relevant to your community and region. The concept of ‘think local, act global’ not only applies to business but to an artist’s music and personal branding too. Unfortunately in South Africa there seems to be a proliferation of new artists that ‘think global and pretend to act global.’ They live in the sky and create music that is obviously designed to appeal to a New Yorker or an ATLien (a resident of Atlanta, term coined by Outkast,) and then wonder why their music fails to attract a South African audience. That’s because they fail to CONNECT and make music that is relevant to their immediate community.

The market sees this type of artist as a ‘wannabe’ and an impersonator that is too busy trying to mimic their favourite ‘American artist’. The market does not relate to their stories, energies and packaging; even their slang usage is more ‘Ebonics’ than Tsotsi Taal.

I had the opportunity of working with both Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid early in their careers. The one thing I learned from both these acts was the importance of representing your true self. Through their music and presentation, both these acts were representing elements of the South African kid growing up in the townships. Pro Kid’s “Ungaphel’ Umoya Son” is a great example of a record that connects to the South African audience. On the record, his message of inspiration is specifically designed for a township kid going through hardships and its references are also things we can relate to; things we have seen, experienced and lived.

Thebe’s ‘Bula Boot’ is another great example. Black South Africans have their own way of partying that is unique to us and this record captures that uniqueness to perfection. I can completely relate to it, and I know the majority of Black South Africa can too. Now there’s nothing wrong with making records about ‘poppin’ bottles’ and that sort of thing, however, you have to be mindful of the fact that most people’s reaction to your record will most likely be ‘A se mo States mo’ (translation”: this is not the States). Fans don’t want imported concepts and ideas from their South African artists; they want music they can feel and relate to.

Remember the formula? CwF (Connect with Fans) + RTB (Reason To Buy) = Success.

If you connect with fans, they will want to hear more of your music. In turn, radio stations will increase your rotation, so will music TV channels/programs.  Promoters will want you at their shows. Brands will want to use you for endorsements and sync your music in their ad campaigns. That’s how you WIN!!!

We all know Kwaito’s success story. Look at the core of what made the South African youth fall in love with the genre and you will realize that it went beyond the beat and the chants. There was a strong emotional connection; it was our own thing, it gave you a different feeling. I can say the same thing with the early 2000s Hip Hop scene, from Skwatta Kamp and Pro Kid to Hidden Force, H2O, Morafe, Tuks and others.

That was the only time South African Hip Hop artists regularly sold albums in large volumes. Skwatta Kamp’s ‘Mkhukhu Funkshen’ went platinum and so did Pitch Black Afro’s ‘Styling Gel’, Pro Kid’s ‘Heads & Tales’ shipped 15,000 units, and so on… Pro Kid was part of a Smirnoff campaign for their ‘Storm’ brand; he was also the face of the MTN’s campaign for the SAMA Awards. Skwatta was doing big things breaking down doors and putting SA Hip Hop on a whole different level. Right now Teargas, Mi Casa, Big Nuz, DJ Cleo and others are running the game and dominating charts, sales, awards, gigs and etc. They all make music that connects.

Next time you hit that booth, think about whom you are making music for.  As the late Dr Mageu would say, “A se mo States Mo!!!”


Hit me up:

Email: Thabiso.Khati@gmail.com

Twitter: @HipHopScholar

Twitter: @360Street

Till the next one.

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MiCasa’s Mo-T says his bit

With being nominated for multiple awards at the 18th annual South African Music Awards, and also being scheduled to perform at the very same event, it’s expected for them to have a hectic schedule around this time. But nevertheless, I got the opportunity to have a telephonic chat with one third of the sensational trio. Here’s what Mo-T, MiCasa’s trumpet player, had to share:

KT: I know you’ve probably been asked this a million times before, but please tell us how you guys got together?
Mo-T: Well, we were all scheduled to play at a hotel in Sandton. At that time I didn’t even know who Dr. Duda was. When the time to perform came, we were just randomly put together, and that’s where it all started. After that, we just started making music together.

KT: Was it a childhood dream or just a random moment in your life that saw you taking the music route?
Oh it’s been a childhood dream! I come from a musical family. My father used to play for Mango Groove. So, since I was about five years old, I would just watch my dad play and perform. I was taken away by the experiences and as I grew up, I decided I’d also do music.

KT: Entering into a very well-dipped genre of music in SA, what was the biggest challenge you faced?
Our biggest challenge was not being taken seriously by the industry. However, we really believed in our music and still carried on. In this industry, good musicians don’t have a platform or they’re not taken seriously because their different.

KT: What kind of House music do you guys produce and what’s the biggest influence behind your fresh and different sound? Read the full story

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Music Review by PMash: The Hot.99 Dance mixed by Just Mo

Music Review by PMash: The Hot.99 Dance Mixed By Just Mo

Album: The Hot.99 Dance Mixed By Just Mo.

Artist: Various Artists

With just a month into the New Year, the music scene is still quiet. There’s barely anything new on the shelves… but I came across The Hot.99 Dance mixed by Just Mo. At first I thought it was just another House compilation, but then again it grew on me. The compilation features the likes of At Jazz, Nasty Nev, and Donae O. The compilation opens with a very jazzy “Quietstorm (Darque’s Afrodrum Mix)” by Andy Compton. If you’re a tribal house fan, look out for some afro beat infused song ‘’Hung Up (Infinite Boys Remix)” by Nasty Nev.  All in all, depending on what you’re looking for in a compilation, it’s not a “Wow” compilation, but it is nicely mixed.

Ratings: 3 out 5

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Q&A with DJ Fanatic

Sitting in during his rehearsal for AKA’s birthday celebration at Hush Bar and Lounge in Rosebank, Kasi Times caught up with DJ Fanatic, whose real name is Thabiso Maphutse. DJ Fanatic is in his absolute element behind the decks and is fast becoming one of the best Hip Hop DJs in South Africa. Being the backing DJ of one of South Africa’s revolutionary rappers, AKA, he sure does have a lot of weight on his shoulders.

We squeezed in a few minutes from his crazy schedule, albeit with several interruptions, but once the dust settled and we finally got to our interview, we discovered a down to earth and very humble guy. Here are a few things we found out about him:

Q: What’s your fondest childhood memory or earliest connection with music?
A: I don’t remember much about my childhood pre-high school but what I do remember is being in the school choir.

Q: When did you decide that music would be the path you’d follow?
A: I didn’t really decide; I don’t even know when I started deejaying. I just saw myself spinning discs and because I really enjoyed it, I kept at it.

Q: Why did you choose to be a Hip Hop DJ?
A: I started out as a House DJ but it felt monotonous. Many people might not know this, but Hip Hop music has more beats and instruments. I saw it as a better challenge and that’s why I chose it.

Q: When was your break into the industry?
I was signed by ShowLove in 2010.

Q: How did you become AKA’s DJ?
A: AKA recognised my skill. My manager, Tibz, approached me and told me that AKA was looking for a DJ. That’s how it started.

Q: What’s the best thing about your job?
A: Travelling and seeing beautiful places, but mostly connecting with the fans and getting the love and appreciation from them – and of course there are certain ‘perks’

Q: What is the most important lesson for those in your industry?
A: Don’t be bigger than the industry. Don’t get an ego and think you’re better than everyone just because you’re well-known. Always appreciate the fans because they are the ones that got you here and tomorrow they can also get you out. Most DJs and artists wonder why people don’t clap or appreciate them after their performance, it’s simply because they didn’t respect the people, so people don’t respect them back.

Q: What characteristics should DJs possess?
A: A certain presence when playing in front of a crowd. Good interpersonal skills and humility. They should be accessible and also stay away from all the stereotypes that surrounding DJs.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make a break into the industry:
If you absolutely believe that it’s your calling, follow your dreams with gusto and don’t treat it like just a hobby. For me, it’s my job and it’s part of me and who I am. Also, stay focused and make sure you have a plan. Stay in school; that’s very important, and teach yourself the business side of the industry as it’s not only about the glam and spinning discs.

Q: Who’s your role model? Read the full story

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Q&A with SCIM Graduates DJ Bongane and Thabiso

When asked for individual interviews DJ Bongane and Thabiso requested a joint interview as they seem themselves as one brand. I see where they’re going with this and when I asked them if F.Eu and KentPhonic have anything to do with this, I was met with a blank stare. They claim they had never actually thought about it that way. Oh well here’s what the guys had to say about their journey so far:

DJ Thabiso

Thabiso, how did you meet your partner in crime Bongani?

T: Bongane and I met at the SCIM. We were attending our third practical class; he approached me and asked what my name was, and told me that he likes the way I play, especially my mixing. We soon started playing and practicing together for gigs.

Why did you pick deejaying, instead of another career path?

T: I took djing for the love of House music, the beats and vocals. Djing is a passion I’ve had since I completed my Matric. I’m not only involved in djing as I’m busy with a course at Soul Candi specialising in the music business. Next year I’m planning on upgrading my Matric marks so I can go to the Tshwane University of Technology to study media.

B: It’s my passion for music.

How did you get involved with Soul Candi?

T: I was searching for a music institution on the internet and came across the Soul Candi Institute of Music. I applied and they invited me for Read the full story

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Meet Candi Roots’ DJ Cuebur

Nicholas Mboweni, better known as DJ Cuebur, is a budding artist who hails from Middelburg, a small town in Mpumalanga. The music bug bit him at the tender age of 15, where he began a love affair with Hip Hop, and eventually House music. A friend would record demo tapes at his place and would leave his equipment, allowing Cuebur to experiment with it. He soon taught himself how to mix and play. I spent a few minutes getting to know him and what makes him tick.

How did you get into the Soul Candi Institute of Music?
I was passionate about music and wanted to get into a career that embraced this newfound love. I did a bit of research on SCIM and was hooked. I began my studies in 2010 and one of my courses covered advanced music production, sound engineering and the music business.

How did you become part of Candi Roots?
My journey into Candi Roots came about when the Soul Candi head office made an announcement that they wanted the students to submit songs to be put on a compilation album. I submitted mine and two weeks later I got a call from Brett Jackson (R.I.P.) informing me that Soul Candi wanted to licence my songs. One of my songs was chosen to go into the Soul Candi 5 album. Soul Candi had recognised me as an artist! They asked if I was interested in doing a project with them. Candi Roots was born, and I became a part of the Soul Candi family.

Achievements? Read the full story

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Why I Don’t Support South African Music

Music Contributor

I’m a big music collector and I’m ashamed that 90% of my collection is made up of American fusion jazz, R&B, Soul, Neo Soul and House music. South African artists complain that we don’t support their music, but what they don’t realise is that there are a number of issues that disable or limit us from doing so. One of these is the issue of distribution. It’s hard to find South African CDs on the shelves of major, well-recognised CD retailers.

For a while I’ve been struggling to find a CD by 340ml, but I’m certain that if I were to look for a Rihanna CD, I would find it within a few hours! I work for a music store. Customers look for local releases but most of them leave the shop dissatisfied, with some considering the illegal downloading/piracy route.

Another issue is that of music choice. What happens to someone who likes R&B in a country where most of the music played on radio is House, Kwaito, Afro-Pop, or Hip Hop? Does this mean that the person needs to switch to those genres for the sake of supporting proudly South Africa music? I have a keen ear for local music that’s fresh; as long as it is good, it’s worth buying. Unfortunately there are few artists in our country who deliver that. Most of them are independent artists but it’s difficult to access their music. As a music lover and a critical listener, I don’t really care much about an artist’s independent label issues. All I want is access to good music.

Some record companies in our country are trying to address these issues. For example, look at what TS Records did for Zahara, a talented musician with something unique and fresh to offer, well-marketed and DISTRIBUTED. Why don’t other record companies do the same with their artists?

Please do share your thoughts and views on this topic?





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Getting to Know DJ Groovin

Soul Candi

Soul Candi runs an advanced music school which equips deejays and music enthusiasts with skills and knowledge about the entertainment industry. The school produces many enthusiasts who are making names for themselves within the music industry. Over the next few weeks I’ll be profiling various Soul Candi Institute of Music (SCIM) graduates. First on the list is DJ Groovin:

Who is DJ Groovin?
My birth name is Vincenzo Ladeira and I’m from Alberton. I’m 19 years old, Italian, and I’m a passionate music enthusiast.

How did you join the Soul Candi Institute of Music?
I met Clive Bean, who asked me to come through to Soul Candi after he’d heard me play, which led to me becoming part of the SC Institute of Music. After joining the SCIM I started my first course which I excelled at. I’m proud to gloat that I got full marks for the exam!

What and how do you enjoy playing your sets?
I don’t box myself when it comes to playing as I play commercial, deep and Latin tic music. Music deals with the emotions and motions of an individual and it is perceived as the propeller of life.

Why music as a career option?
My love for music began seven years ago when I started deejaying at family functions and house parties. I had an ear for virtual music and would pick it up easily. When I studied, I couldn’t do it in silence, so I started listening to music; but, instead of studying, I would listen to the music. I also enjoy changing people’s moods through music. Read the full story

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Music Review: Mi Casa’s Music

Fresh and crisp – that’s the kind of sound that I always look out for when I write my reviews and I’ve got to admit that Mi Casa gave me exactly that, and more than I expected! It’s always refreshing to review a CD that brings something unique to the mix. Mi Casa is Mzansi’s new live House band, with Dr. Duda on the beats, J’Something on vocals and Mo-T on the trumpet. What intrigues me about Mi Casa is how each band member creatively brings in his own distinctive sound to create a soulful blend, with an  element of live music, especially the trumpet.

My highlight on the album La Vida showcases Mo-T adding his personal touch of jazz with his trumpet, while J’Something adds some soulful elemnts with some soulful vocals, engraved with engaging lyrics that touch on issues like love and religion. His vocal abilities amazes me; I love the way he coverd Sade Adu’s hit Smooth Operator. Dr. Duda adds some House flavour  with his production skills, with beats that create an interesting and listenable blend of deep jazzy, yet dancable beats. This is evident in a song like Heavenly Sent. The album has been well-received, with their banging hit These Streets which is blazing on almost all radio stations. This is definately a must have album, and be warned… it will grow on you!

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Getting to Know J-Something

With all due respect to Zahara, Big Nuz, AKA, and whoever else is vying for the crown of King of December 2011, I hereby announce that this summer belongs to the Mi Casa boys. Mo-T, Dr Duda and J’Something have combined their forces to create one of the country’s hottest bands… ever! Their debut album Mi Casa Music is a must-buy for this summer.

What this trio proves is that House music is indeed growing. Gone are the days of it being about nauseatingly repetitive beats put together in someone’s dirty bedroom on a cheap keyboard. House music now features live instruments, creative compositions and vocals so soulful Marvin Gaye himself looks down from heaven and nods in approval. Mi Casa is Soul Candi’s first live House band.

The trinity that is Mi Casa came together when Dr. Duda heard Joao innocently strumming away on guitar and singing sweet nothings at the Soul Candi studios. Dr. Duda, being a man with an intelligent ear, promptly suggested that the two of them collaborate. Soon after that J’Something had a chance meeting with Mo-T and voila Mi Casa was born.

The guys have achieved a healthy balance of creative power between them. Nevertheless, respectfully I submit that it is J’Something who gets most of the brass thrown at him. Mr Soulful Vocals has the country’s female population swooning. Should his vocals only get the job half done the lyrics he pens will have you jotting down your numbers for him. His Portuguese blood gives him an unfair advantage. I imagine him uttering sultry Portuguese pick-up lines in an Antonio Banderas-esque accent and accomplishing in one line what other guys need months to do.

Joao Fonseca was born in Portugal but he moved to SA when was 7 years old… so sorry Portugal, we’re claiming him as our own! He is only 22 years old now (cute man) so ladies please restrain yourselves when he gets on stage. As young as he is, he is already a respected figure in the music scene. He has worked with RJ Benjamin and DJ Ganyani and has Mzansi’s top DJs queuing up to feature him on their tracks.

Let’s have a sit down with him and find out what potting behind the scenes:

Describe the Mi Casa sound?
We like to describe the sound as ‘soulful house’ infused with jazz and gospel influences.

How did that style develop?
I have grown up with soul-filled music. Dr. Duda has the gospel roots, whilst Mo-T is a jazzman through and through. And then all 3 of us have been listening to house music since our minds can remember.

Your vocal style is very soulful, are there perhaps other genres of music that you draw inspiration from?
 Soul, soul, and more soul. I love the neo stuff. Musiq Soulchild, Anthony Hamilton, Dwele, John Legend, Jill Scot, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, honestly the list is endless.

When did you start singing and playing the guitar?
I started singing from my mother’s womb I think. My mom always tells me that the doctors were very worried about me when I popped out. I wasn’t crying. I later started laughing. I’ve been singing properly since the age of 5. Doing little concerts for my family and demanding them to pay. Guitar came when I was 11 but it lasted for only 6 months. Then I picked it up again when I was 16 at school.

J’Something going solo? Read the full story

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Who’s Going to Don the Song Of The Year Title?

It’s that time of the year again: cars are playing the same songs, artists are fighting for the number one spot on music charts, and everyone wants to have fun. For musicians – it’s the moment of truth. Some of them have spent most of the year in studio cooking up songs, hoping that their work will make it to your playlist or music collection for the summer of 2011.

I’m sure you’ve already heard a lot of singles from artist’s compilations; some singles entice you to want to buy the whole album, while others put you off the artist and their music for good!

Around this time last year, artists like DJ Cleo, Kent, Fisherman, Zakes Bantwini, Liquid Deep, Tumelo and Big Nuz, were fighting for our attention. And, Professor deservedly won over our hearts and sold over gold status with his University of Kalawa compilation.

Is it going to be as obvious as last year’s summer on who’s going to claim the most sought-after Song of the Year title for this year’s summer? I think it’s still too early to tell. With the growing trend of using social media networks to market one’s material I think artists have it easier than the previous years, even though having fans showing you love on social networks doesn’t qualify to sales.

I’ve noticed artists such as DJ Sbu, Culoe De Song, Zahara, Big Nuz and some Soul Candi DJ’s using Read the full story

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Music Review: Electro Candi 3

soul candi

The Soul Candi Crew brings us yet another long-anticipated compilation, The Electro Candi 3 mixed by Blackwhole, Game and Dean Fuel. As with its predecessor, the 3 disc pack has something in store for everyone, from chilled out House beats to some electrifying House tunes. Disc 1, mixed by Blackwhole takes us through some easy-on-the-ear deep-rooted tunes, featuring songs like Don’t Stop, On The Beach (The Realm Dub) by Leon Ware, and my favorite Life Is So Strange (Deetron Remix) by Akabu. Disc 2, mixed by Game, brings us some banging House tunes that have been sweeping our dance floors, songs like I Wanna Love You (The Layabouts Future Retro Vocal Mix) by Lulo Cafe featuring Nothende, What You Do 2 Me (Original Mix) by Crazy White Boy. Disc 3, mixed by Dean Fuel, Fuels up the tempo with some electrifying club tunes, with songs like Koko by Sander Van Doorn, Pressure (Alesso Remix) by Nadia Ali, Starkillers and Alex Kenji. With the festive season around the corner, Electro Candi 3 will be a great starter to your summer music collection; you are bound to get something for your listening pleasure.

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