Alan Abrahams or as he is known around the globe as Portable/Bodycode is proudly South African, born on the Cape Flats in a very modest area called Bonteheuwel. We caught up with this world-renowned DJ/Producer shortly before he comes out to Cape Town to headline the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival.
Good day Alan [or “awe ma-se-kin”], thanks for taking time out of your super-busy schedule to chat to us ahead of your visit to the fairest Cape.
Is this the first time you’re playing in Cape Town? I think you may have featured at a Killer Robot night before, but it’s certainly not been a fixture on your gig guide right?!
No I played at Killer Robot a few years ago, the last time I was here it was closed for refurbishing ,so I haven’t been playing here in years. My Johannesburg gig will be my first one there.
Also, as I am playing in the late afternoon my parents, will be able to come see what I do for the very first time!
You’re world-renowned. Have played on all the major stages around the world and are revered by your colleagues in the industry, yet there are many people back in South Africa, who are in the electronic music industry [in particular], who have never heard of you. How does this make you feel?
I don’t take it personally to be honest, I am composing music for a living and get to perform it live, unlike no one else, all over the planet, and get the appreciation from the hosts who invite me and the audience at the events. For me, that is enough, I am not composing music in order to be recognised by this or that industry but for the appreciation and uplifting of the social consciousness as a whole, through direct communication with a people at large.
In this day and age, in clubs or festival gatherings is a very effective means in doing this. It is the true form of social communion.
Recently you featured on the Slices DVD Feature. In there you allude to your upbringing on the Chicago House sound and how you’re reinventing that sound to suit the current scene. How difficult is it to bring this ‘message’ across to your audience today and get them to relate to that era?
I don’t go about intending to do anything of the sort. That era is gone and assimilated into this current age.
It was just an initial base when I started composing music but now it has been merged and morphed into my growth as an artist and a composer into something else entirely, something that you could call a Portable sound, as a source of reference.
You are certainIy well-traveled and I liken your gig guide to be as busy as Golden Dish take-away on a Saturday night. Where do you find the time to produce with such an intense schedule?
I am always composing music, even if I am not physically recording it. I am always in state of furious nonstop recording for days on end, and then a few weeks of nothing but absorption and conceptualizing. I am travelling with my live set-up, so when I want to put down ideas, I can, my studio is totally portable, and in that I don’t mean, just my laptop, but my controllers and portable workstation. In fact, as I am writing this, I am planning to go to a lagoon, here in Florianopolis, Brazil, with my workstation and record some ideas for a future Südelectronic release.
Tell us a bit about the project with Esa, Ali Ooft and yourself called “Prophets of the South” How did that come about?
I know Esa, and he asked me if I would be interested in doing a remix for their project.
When listening to “Into Infinity” I get the feeling that you were going through many-personal challenges and articulated this well in the lyrics of the songs on there. Is this the way you always go about writing your music?
Yes of course, my music is a form of personal release. It has always and will always be that way. I think that is one of the things that could set it apart from the general run of mill these days.
You and Lerato Khuti have forged quite a partnership! Collaborative project putting out gems like “A Deeper Love” and of course the Süd Electronic label. Are there any new productions coming out by the two of you?
Lerato, Tama Sumo and I collectively run the Südelectronic imprint. I am currently finishing a new 12″ for the label. And working on something for a new Perlon release too, later this year.
Besides playing at CTEMF, what else are you looking forward to doing here in the 021?
Seeing my parents and family. They’ve never seen me live before…Mutton Salomies, Table Mountain!
I firmly believe that Cape Town is in for a treat when you get on stage on Sunday 09 February at 17h30pm and I’ve actually bet a Gatsby [and Frulatti] that you will be the stand-out performer. No pressure, right?
People always ask me if I get nervous, of course I do, but its more often than not, a waste, I just do what I do and things always work well, guess as my parents will be in the audience, that makes me also a little nervous, but it will be fantastic ! I know it!
Well I’m definitely looking forward to enjoying a Mutton Salomie with you and having lots of fun while you’re down here. Thanks again Alan!