Cape Town doesn’t get to see Kerri Chandler

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Kerri Chandler playing in Cape Town is probably the most exciting news I’ve heard this year.

The gent is a legend, in the true sense of the word. His releases and remixes date back two decades and more and his ability to woo a crowd has been documented the world over.

On 01 December, Heineken SA play host to this fantastic House music master, in the Mother City.

My excitement is however short-lived as I look at the venue this event is being held at and also the ticket price.

If we look at the who makes up the majority of ‘house heads’ in this city, we’ll soon realise that at R250zar, the event organizers have failed to accommodate those who would really love to see Kerri Chandler.

Why there needs to be a R600zar VIP ticket, I really don’t know. Who are these people [who love this House music that Kerri and Larry and Louie play] that want to be in a separate area, away from the main dancefloor, away from the love and energy experienced at true House events? Only the posers…surely…and House music doesn’t accommodate posers.

We come to get down!

We only have to remind ourselves that South Africa remains a 3rd World Country, yes Cape Town, that includes us [as much as we’d love to deny this] and also the fact that we [Cape Town folk] are not immune to the economic strife that still persists globally…as further mitigation that these prices are really not going to work, well at least not for the majority of those who this event really should be for.

Shimmy Beach Bar as a venue is also a sore point for me. Ask m-any true House music lover where they’re most likely to end up for a good ‘get down’ and I’m cock-sure Shimmy Beach Bar will not make their top 5.

It’s too pretentious, too bourgeois, too ‘not what house music is about’ to be considered a comfortable setting for the serious dancers in the industry.

It disturbs me that more thought wasn’t put into this event, especially when we consider that Kerri Chandler is not your ‘bottle service’ type DJ.

He’s passionate about the genre, passionate about the way this music [is meant to] bring people together, passionate about real House music.

The make up of this event is EXACTLY what’s wrong with the way House music is being represented in this city, as it’s just another event where we’re separating the haves from the have-nots, irrespective of the fact that it’s those who may not have as much ‘financially’ who would be the first to recognise a Kerri Chandler track, the first to be on the dancefloor and the last to leave it.

What this event does do, is show the intent of the organisers and venue. The intent to keep this event exclusive, to keep it suave, to keep it for the ‘in crowd’…when to be honest, the in crowd probably would only come 1) if they’re on the guestlist 2) to be seen at a Kerri Chandler gig 3) cos they want to be associated with the who’s who of Cape Town

Take as example the events being held during the same period, by Hlanganani Music, hosting Andre Lodemann, Mario Basanov and XDB [confirmed to date], at a fraction of the cost, to see how promoters who love the genre and the people who make up the genre, cater for those who are really into the sound.

House music is inclusive. House music is about bringing people from all walks of life together. House music unites a nation. It unites a city.

Right now, this event, will miss out on the opportunity to do this.

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For The Record: Basic Soul Unit

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Stuart Li aka Basic Soul Unit [and Herman] has very recently released his full length album “Motional Response”

The Hong Kong born DJ/Producer, residing in Toronto Canada, has had an affection for the “underground” sounds since as far back as the 90’s. Spending time in clubs around NYC, Chicago and Detroit where the music was anything from Deep House to Industrial Techno.

We were fortunate to have a skype conversation with him and find out more of what happens in the world of Basic Soul Unit.

Hi Stuart, it’s amazing how this music thing connects people from all around the planet. We’ve never met, yet it feels like we know each other for a bit. Thanks for taking the time out to chat to For The Record.

Thanks for having me…

You do of course have another South African friend in Lerato Khati, so there’s a connection…is there anyone else you know from South Africa besides the two of us?

Not really, I do not know anyone else.

It’s quite interesting that there are lots of similarities between the two cities and the scenes

It’s always the case, like in North America where it’s very “mass-media oriented”…of course every city has some kind of underground scene, whether it’s relatively large or small, but even with the large [underground] scenes, it’s not like there’s a lot of commercial radio support.

We find that here as well, we have your commercial artists like “Goldfish” who will blow up on commercial radio stations, but obviously that has financial reasons attached to them…and it’s the same with doing events, you’re more likely to get someone like Fur Coat or DeadMau5 [hahaha] say no more…

Moving on then…

Yeah, I don’t know, you probably know Nick Holder…he’s from Toronto as well

Yes of course, we know Nick Holder! Summer Daze is pretty much an anthem in South Africa. He is HUGE in South Africa, based solely on Summer Daze and also his influence with his DNH label. Then there’s Louie Vega…I mean some of the guys actually have houses in South Africa, they come here in the summer and spend time playing gigs in Johannesburg.

On Nick Holder…ask anyone who has an affection for house music about “Summer Daze” they’ll say that track pretty much is the ‘benchmark’ for what the scene was like back then. It’s a pretty cool tune

Yeah, he has a great ear for samples…hahahahahahaha

So what does a general day in the life of Stuart Li consist of…

I do graphic design and I do free-lance, which gives me the flexibility to travel the world and wake up late when I need to [hahaha].

Nowadays even when you have somewhat of reputation or name, it’s kinda hard to make a full living solely from music, of course with the whole digital thing, you don’t make much money from releasing or producing  music.

 I mean I don’t have any regrets, I kinda just take things as they come and go with the flow and every year it seems to be getting a bit busier for me and I’m happy about that. 

At the end of the day [as we were discussing off-line], for me it’s more about the love of music, because once you start to make a living off of it, you get more stressed about paying bills…and maybe releasing music that you wouldn’t otherwise have released, making stuff that you don’t really stand behind

Moving to the “Scene” in Canada. In Cape Town we have the “house scene” and the “House scene”…what i mean by that, the latter being the one where the music is real [it’s quality], the punters are interested in the tracklists, they’re interested in the artists and they actually come to get down. How different is it over in Canada, is it very similar?

Very similar. I think almost anywhere there’ll be that two types of scenes…there’s gonna be the underground/the heads where people are really interested in the music and then there’s the bigger commercial scene, it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s the same game.

I was chatting to David Moufang [Move D] when he visited South Africa and he alluded to the fact that he doesn’t get booked as often in Germany as he does abroad. Is this the same for you?

Well, I did my own parties in Toronto for a long time and actually it was more jazz, funk, soul and latin styled stuff…even afro-beat, but as far as my house/techno stuff…

I didn’t really get a lot of bookings in Toronto, until i started producing, but I think that’s the way it is, because…well for one thing [like I told you] I’m almost 40yrs old, so I don’t go out a lot any more and haven’t made a lot of connections with the local scene in a while, so it was kinda explainable that people didn’t really hear or know of me until they heard my music through other channels.

In the last few years through the gigs I’ve played here, I’ve made a lot of connections with the younger promoters and connected with the younger crowds.

Talking about gigs and cities, which is your favourite city/club to play at?

Erm….well, that’s always hard to say…I don’t really have a favourite, but of course I’m in Germany quite a lot, in Berlin of course there’s Panorama Bar that’s great and a lot of other smaller clubs.

Then I have very good memories from a lot of other places like Singapore, Norway and England, so it’s hard to say that I have a favourite…although some of my most memorable parties are not necessarily the big ones.

I always tell this story that I played for a friend [Darand Land] in Buffalo [in the US] which is a small city and there’s not much happening there, but he’s a good friend, he has been there from the old days and has traveled to Chicago to New York to Detroit…he knows the old-school stuff and he’s also really into the new deep stuff.

So he invited me to play at his house for him and his friends, and it was one of the best parties because No.1 they were there to get down and also, they know the music, they love the music…and they’re heads so they love both the old and the new stuff.

So I was playing anything from disco to house to techno…and it was one of the best times I’ve had.

You released your “Motional Response” album on Still Music earlier this year…can you give us some insight into the inspiration and story behind this work

Actually the label approached me to do the album about 5 to 6 years ago. At that time I kinda jumped at the opportunity cos it was there and I was like “yeah let’s do this”

Then the label kinda had some difficulty around distribution…so it got delayed until earlier this year. In the mean time, the few years that passed was actually better, as it gave me more time to develop my direction and gave me time to think about what I wanted this album to be like

So yeah, it took quite a few years, although “Clouds” and “Breathe” were already produced when we had discussed it.

So there wasn’t really a specific inspiration, it was more just a snap shot of what i was feeling at a specific point in time. I just did a bunch of tracks and picked the ones I liked.

The one thing I did decide about this album, is that it was going to be a dance music album. I guess it’s deep, but it’s still dancefloor based. I didn’t have a lot of beatless tracks or downtempo tracks, because what I do is dance music, so I didn’t want to incorporate that just because it was an album.

The other way I also looked at it was, that it was definitely going to have a variety of tracks from the more soulful house to the more jackin’ and banging stuff and I wanted the album to flow [for the listener] from beginning to the end.

 I totally got that on the album! You can definitely see the progression as well as the different elements in the music, as I was saying to you offline earlier. There’s definitely the more emotive side to it as well as the industrial techno sound further down the way as well. The album certainly tells a story, which many artists forget to do when they put out albums and it should tell the story of the artist…and i certainly got this with Motional Response!

http://www.mixcloud.com/MidiDeux/podcast-106-basic-soul-unit/

I can fully understand the description saying “Motional Response is a work of art”…there’s so much light and shade listening to this album. The techno elements, the emotion brought through with the house influence. Really class work. So speaking of music as an art form, I find that many modern-day artists have forgotten this and churn out “hits” for the sake of it, rather than attaching a sense of self to it. What’s your thinking around this?

I guess there’s always a sort of developmental period with most artists. You know that with artists who have been around for 10 years or more, the ones who have stuck around longer will have a more defined sound and more of a personality in their music.

I mean, when you’re young, you’re 20-something and you’re just kinda coming out onto the scene [making music], I think it’s more about having a party, you don’t really have time to mature [i guess] musically, so at that point you’re more than likely just churning out the hits or following a trend and that’s fine. 

For me and the guys who have stuck around, once you’ve been in it for more than ten/fifteen years it’s not about money and fame, it’s about the love and doing it for the love.

The label you released the album on, Still Music, is of course the label of Jerome Derradji, on which you’ve also released the Breathe EP as a follow up to this album. Tell us about the relationship between you and Jerome and how it started?

It was about 6 years ago, he just hit me up via email, saying he liked my stuff and he was interested in doing some releases and we talked on the phone and that’s how it started.

OK, so it was rather similar to this where I heard your music, we connected and the rest is history.

Yeah…that’s how it happened for a lot of other labels that I’ve done work for. The first release I put out was in 2003 on a local label called “Iwanai Music” which is a friend of mine’s label. When we put it out, it was like “let’s just do it, see what happens” because it was something that we wanted to do for a long time.

Then i checked around and noticed that some people were charting it and playing it. It wasn’t a huge hit, but people started recognising it and then I noticed that Gilb’R from Versatile Records in France played it on his show…and so I just sent him an email saying thanks.

He then said, he really liked the music and said if I had anything I should send it to him, and that’s how I got a release on Versatile Records.

So it’s just always been about networking, making contacts, meeting people and taking opportunities where I can, I guess.

I would say to young producers though, take opportunities when they come, but also be “picky” about the opportunities too…cos if you put out your music on any label, you have to make sure it’s a label you know and respect. If it’s on a label that might not suit your sound, you’ll get misrepresented or might not reach the right audience…or you might not reach any audience.

I would sooner give twenty demos to labels that I like, and be rejected, than to send a thousand demos out to just whatever label is out there.

You’ve since started your own label called “Lab.our” which has Maxwell Church’s release on the 002 release. Tell us a bit more about how you decided on the name for this label and also your relationship with Maxwell, who is also from Toronto, I believe.

Lab.our before we even started the record label, was the name of the creative company myself and my partner Jason started. It was just a banner company where we did all our design work, as well as music. Jason hasn’t released anything as yet, but he’s helping me with the label and starting to work on his own tracks.

We thought about starting the label, after the album and after various releases, so I felt it was the right time for me to start a label. 

So we kept the name Lab.our, which is a play on words for “our lab”

As far as Max, well he is a young guy from Toronto, who had always been sending me demos and I thought he was really talented producer. I met him through parties that he did with another guy called Dan [the event was called Deep North]. They’re young promoters in Toronto, who were just getting into this whole techno thing.

They booked me a couple of times, we got on quite well and then they sent me some tracks and ja…that was that.

With the label, it’s not exclusively local [not exclusively Toronto], but I definitely wanna highlight and showcase local talent and that’s why I really wanted to put Max’s stuff out as well.

That’s fantastic, as I mentioned to you earlier, that’s actually my vision for For The Record SA as well, obviously showcasing international high-quality artists, but also punting the local DJ’s and Producers who aren’t necessarily getting the hype or attention they deserve, and it’s evident your vision and mine are pretty similar when it comes to this blog and your record label.

Yes, that is totally, exactly what I want to do and achieve.

The Herman alias is home to some of your deeper and more experimental work, I might be wrong?

You are right. It was the initial reason I started the Herman alias. It was on the label “Fine Art Recordings”…

He wanted to do an album with me, but I said I had already agreed to do an album on “Still Music” so then he suggested that we use a different alias, which is how Herman came about.

The story behind the name Herman is that my mother, when I was born, wanted to name me “Herman” , but my grandfather didn’t really like that name, so eventually they settled on Stuart, which I’m kinda glad about actually.

I thought it was a pretty funny name to use as a producer, that’s why I used it.

So, because it was a different alias, I decided, why don’t I try and make different [more experimental] music with it…stuff that’s a little less “4/4 oriented” and more experimental.

I’ve only had two releases on it and then it stopped as I found that my work as Basic Soul Unit was starting to cross over and I was experimenting [on BSU] with a lot more sounds and rhythms, so I didn’t really feel the need to use a second alias anymore.

There might come a time where I may feel I need to start it up again, if I do something REALLY far out.

BSU

Finally, being on the books of Uzuri Recordings, you get to ‘rub shoulders’ with some of the finest in the industry. Tevo Howard, Fred P, DJ Deep, Portable, Aybee etc. Is there any on the list who you gain [most of] your inspiration from or do you find your inspiration on your own?

Well it worked two ways actually. The reason why I initially signed with Uzuri and why I’ve stuck with them for so long, is cos it feels like a family.

I know quite a few of the artists on the label, and we’re all down to earth and we all get along on the same wavelength musically, so that really helps.

On the other hand, yes because we are in the same spectrum of music, I think we do gain a lot of inspiration from each other, but as far as inspiration goes, I get that from anywhere.

Musically, I think my taste is pretty wide. I mean sure, production wise, a lot of people might associate my stuff with Detroit or Chicago stuff.

I mean I grew up listening to as much Masters at Work and New Jersey, New York City vocal house as much as Chicago and Detroit, house and techno. You know, like I said, I even play some jazz and funk sounds. I even listened to Drum n Bass for a while.

Basically if it’s good music and it’s got some kind of soul and rhythm to it, I’ll see it as good music. I try not to stick to one thing or the other, i guess.

Yes, totally! Irrespective of the genre, if the production quality is good and you can feel where the artist was coming from emotionally and you’re able to relate, then you’d be able to appreciate the sound.

Yeah, there was a time where I wasn’t listening to jazz and disco and stuff and was like “this is real music” and I stopped listening to the Chicago and Detroit sounds, but after a while I realised that that music was very much a part of me and something I related to and I started digging deeper, finding the guys like Moodymann, Carl Craig and Theo Parrish. Which in a way made me come full circle.

Now I’m in a happy place where I judge the music basically on whether I feel it or not, not based on the genre.

Yeah, that’s excellent and totally the way to go about it.

Well, that’s all I really have to ask you. I really appreciate you taking the time out to chat to us.

Yeah man, no problem.

So what I’ll do is I’ll fly you out tomorrow [hahahaha]

Hahahaha, that would be amazing. 

Seriously though, thanks again and we’ll definitely keep in touch.

No problem man…good night.

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For The Record: Alexkid

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Many of us remember the famous “Love We Have” track by Alexkid, which rocked many-a dancefloor years ago. Of course, there’s way more to the gent than just that one piece of music. We had a chat…

Greetings Alexis and thanks for chatting to us, how are you doing this week?

Pretty well I have to say! Right now I am in a hotel room in Birmingham, I play in a couple of hours, and then heading to play in London after that. I won’t complain ! hahaha

Let’s start by finding out what a “standard” day in the life of Alexis Mauri consists of…if this is even possible, hahaha.

Actually it is! I have sort of a routine during the week. It counterbalances the hectic side of the weekends. I usually wake up around 7h30, have breakfast with my daughter, and then take her to school. I am at the studio the latest at 10am. Then I work until 6 or 7pm and head back home. Then I have dinner with my daughter, put her to bed and then it all depends, I either chill or I keep on working a bit from home doing boring stuff like paperwork or this kind of things… exciting huh???

You’ve been around since the 90’s…times and [your] music has progressed significantly since then. What’s your feeling on how things have changed in the industry. Do you miss “the good old days” or are they more old than good?

There’s a few things I do miss from the old days. I feel that by then, most of the artists, djs, labels and producers had more commitment to electronic music, or house/techno or whatever you might want to call it.. nowadays, for a lot of them, it is all about getting a bit famous…I think there’s a lack of passion in general.

There seems to be a rich history of producer/djs hailing from France. The likes of Pepe Bradock, Laurent Garnier, St Germain and on the more [tribal/afro] house side we have Rocco Rodamaal too. Most of you coming from the same era…is there still that hunger in France/Paris for the sound, right now?

There is … there is some kind of renewal too… very interesting things have been happening in the past 3/4 years… Paris is pretty vivid at the moment I feel.

I believe you’re currently based in Berlin, which seems to be quite a popular relocation spot for artists in the house/techno industry. Your thoughts on this notion, please?

Well, it is for sure not original to live in Berlin, but I do love it indeed. The lifestyle totally fits me. Except for the very cold winters. It is a very lively city regarding electronic music, it is a capital, and yet it feels like a village sometimes. It is relaxed, very laid-back. A bit hippy in a way… I am there more for the lifestyle than for the club scene. I don’t go out so much… The good part is that when I want to, I can… There’s always something cool happening somewhere. So you don’t feel bad when you don’t go out , because you know that next week, or even tomorrow, there is something cool happening…

Looking at your tour schedule, We’ve noticed you’re bloody busy… also that you’ll be visiting the fairest Cape [Town] very soon. Exciting news that. Last time you visited RSA things didn’t go that well…care to share that?

Well, yes, I do care to share it … I loved coming to SA, and I am very excited to come again. Last time I had issues as Carfax had all my money, and they never paid me nothing out of the tour. I basically got fucked, and didn’t come back since then… It is totally crazy, but how could I retrieve the money from the other side of the world? They promised they would, and of course nothing happened… and then “disappeared” … it sucks… Some people in the industry know who I am talking about … I definitely didn’t forget. Worst thing is that these people are still promoting…

Your CV boasts production/remix work for pretty much every reputable label about. NRK, Freerange Records, Moodmusic etc etc. This of course, means a variation in productions from the “Love we Have” kinda sounds to your more techno/tech-house “This Dream” type of productions. Is there a specific style you enjoy producing/playing more, or are you of the opinion that versatility is key in this modern era of music.

The truth is that I go through phases. I am versatile, which can be a quality as well as an inconvenience, I love deep house as much as I do love Techno or minimal house. Also I tend to get bored of things… so I experiment new things… At the moment I play a mix of all that in fact… stripped down deep house … raw and dubby.

Your soundcloud page starts off by stating “I play records”…this of course is a debate among m-any a DJ right now. I’ve recently gotten attached to the black wax and find the physical aspect quite lovely. How do you feel about the good old vinyl vs digital soap-opera?

Ha… I do play a lot digitally , but for convenience… I am very old school in my way of thinking how things should be. Even though I play with traktor , controlled either by the cds either by the time-coded vinyls, I am going to start pretty soon a strictly vinyl label, because I think people should do the effort of looking for the music, crate digging, and putting a value to what they have. I still buy vinyl …

Last time you released an album was about four years ago. Are you working on the next installment and if so, what can we expect from this piece of work?

I am working on it slowly but surely … it is taking shape… I don’t know what to expect myself… 🙂

Thanks very much for chatting to us. We look forward to finally meeting you in Cape Town. Much respect!

Thanks to YOU! I am very happy to come back ! and it is my first time in Cape town !

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For The Record: Lemon & Herb

 

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We first heard of the Lemon n Herb trio, when Culoe de Song dropped “Violins In A Cave” a few years ago in his BPM Mag Podcast. A lot has happened for the gents since then and we thought we’d catch up…

 

How are you guys doing? We’ve never met, but it seems as if we’ve known each other for years…remind me though LOL, what are the three of your names [I’m seriously bad with remembering names]?

 

We all good brother haha..yea the music unites us all…Its Thami, Don and Skhu…

 

Can you give us the shortened version of how you guys met and what influenced you into making music [house music], please?

We are three guys from KwaZulu Natal. Skhu and Don went to the same primary and high school and went to same varsity where they met Thami. While studying we always played Deep House in the background,during breaks and the Durban scene was very Deep House cultured at the time…Taxis and everyone used to indulge in real house music…and we landed by chance on some music-making software..and one thing led to another…although we never took it seriously at first.

 

THAT Violins in a Cave track was something really special! When I heard it, I immediately went searching for who the track was by etc…How did Culoe latch onto it? Have you guys been friends for a long time?

Well thanks! The guys are fortunate to know Culoe on a personal Level as Skhu is related to him, and the guys lived with him while he was schooling in Durban and that’s where the music-making-bug really clawed on.So it was a matter of giving him the track and he liked it and it landed on his podcast.

 

At the risk of getting it wrong, I’d sum your style of music as rural with a hint of progressive and percussive…is that the ‘message’ you’re trying to bring across with your music?

Well when it comes to our sound…we do not like to box ourselves and put nametags on it..yes we are percussive by nature however we are not imprisoned by this and we are venturing into different avenues of house….The only real message that we want to resonate amongst our peers through our music is that freedom of mind is everything.

 

 

Since THAT track, there’s been a few more really really hot releases, most notably Velani, which is out on Carlos Mena’s label [Ocha Records], right? What else is there to speak of?

Yes we have only a few tracks out there as we trying to tread very carefully and only release quality music, other projects include ATJAZZ feat ROBERT OWENS – LOVE SOMEONE (Lemon&Herb’s Uplifting Mix) BODDHI SATVA feat FREDDY MASSAMBA (Lemon&Herb Spirit Mix). 

 

Who are your biggest inspirations, musically and on a personal level?

We look up to so many people musically and otherwise. But musically we look up to people like Charles Webster, Louie Vega, Shur-i-Kan, Jimpster, BlackCoffee and more recently we loving a lot of some Stimming , Detroit Swindle, Kyodai…but there is so much music out there not only house..we would spend the whole day if we listed each one! Haha

 

 

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Highlights would definitely be winning the Atjazz remix competition, Louie Vega listing ‘Velani’ as one of his top 5 tracks on a SoulHeaven interview he just did and also working on our Debut Album with Ocha Records.

 

Your podcast #MixedInMotion is one of the podcast series I don’t miss. How do you go about choosing your playlists every month and which one of you puts the mix together, or is it a team effort hehehe?

It is definitely a team effort, we listen to a heck of a lot of music, constantly…and luckily we are brothers more than anything and we like a very similar sound…so choosing songs comes naturally without conflict.

 

Mixed In Motion is not only the name of your podcast series, but the record label you guys established and where you released your first EP on. With you now signed to Ocha Records, what’s happening with your own label?

This is True…and the label and its targets still remain.We were fortunate enough to be approached by Ocha for an album deal and we took it as it was a chance to join hands with an influential label and make some music that can be heard by a broader audience. MIM is very much a future active label that we have great plans for.

 

Surely there should be an artist album in the pipeline? There’s enough bloody-hot material to make that worthwhile, or are you guys biding your time?

Yes we are in the last stages now with our Debut Album that is due to come out on Ocha very soon! We have been very busy with that and are chuffed at the outcome.So keep your ears on the street.

 

You’ve been kind enough to do an exclusive mix for us. Tell us a bit about the thinking around this mix please? [If you don’t do a mix, then just ignore this one, shot]

We always do mixes as we feel at the time and we don’t follow any rules per se, we will include a L&H exclusive, which is the next single from us, a track entitled ‘Heaven’ alongside the talented Kholi.The rest will be music we meditate on.

 

Finally, where can we catch you playing out AND when are you visiting Cape Town?

We are going to be playing a lot of gigs in the near future, to keep updated. Do follow us on twitter @lemonnherb and ‘lemon & herb’ on Facebook. That way fans can know where we playing next. We are hoping promoters in CPT will bring us down soon! Haha 

 

Thank you very much gents. Much respect and keep pushing!

Thank you for having us!! Be blessed.

 

Lemon & Herb – For The Record SA Podcast 002

 

 

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For The Record: Kyle Russouw

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Kyle Russouw has burst onto the local music scene in spectacular fashion. Having heard his name being mentioned by the likes of Erefaan Pearce and having played at the monthly Tableism events, I thought it best we get to know a little bit more about the new face on the House music scene.

Hi Kyle, thanks for chatting to us. Can you give us a bit of background on yourself? Where you grew up, what interests you etc?   

I  was born and raised  in Kensington Cape Town (the beautiful Mother City) where i currently still reside. The past 20 years of my life i have been exposed to different genres of music, but my one true love will remain deep house. I grew up in a house in which music was always played from jazz, R&B and even instrumental. My teen years, I joined the club and house party scene, and this just drew me closer to my calling of becoming a DJ. My uncle (Falko) is also a well known graffiti artist  and is a part of the classics event.

My second love has always been sport, which is why as a youngster I never really took my passion for music seriously, as it was my dream to be a professional soccer player. I also obtained my Western Province colours for baseball 8 years ago and still enjoy the game.                                                                                                                                                      

You’ve not been DJ’ing for a long time, right? How long has it been and what were the main factors behind you becoming a DJ and playing House music?

I’ve been DJing for 2 years, but out of that 2 years I would only recognize 1 year which has truly made me feel a part of this industry. 

A close friend of mine moved down  to Cape Town in 2009 from Johannesburg. Our friendship and the music he brought down with him influenced my interest for house music. Ziyaad Salli and I would fool around for hours on Virtual DJ and he would always update me with the latest local house music. Since then my archives have grown from buying albums such as Sutra and the Soul Candi collection.

Being a youngster and not being able to attend house parties such as Shake your pancreas: Funky Buddah ; Soul Revolution and the list goes on, all I could do was add these dj’s on Facebook to keep myself updated and with this the interest grew.

My ears were really opened to my calling of becoming a DJ at the age of 17, when i was invited to play at a car wash fundraiser by my good friend Alister Fester. I found myself extremely comfortable behind the decks, and the reason for house music would definitely be the melodic side. I also wanted to find some sort of isolation to the everyday music, and found that deep house not only does that, but it also takes me on a spiritual journey. To sum it all up house music rocks!!!  

 

I believe you studied at the Soul Candi Institute of Music right? Tell us how that came about and how it’s benefited you as a DJ?

Thats correct i studied at Soul Candi Institute of Music for only a year, but i have to say it was the most exciting and enlightening year thus far. 

I found myself inspired by one particular person, he was my dj lecturer Blanka Mazimela,  we spent a lot of time together and he most certainly matured my taste in music. He became my mentor. The production course helped me understand the finer details that a songs’ production consists of. Therefore when I listen to a song I know how much time an effort was put into making that track and I appreciate it more. This also affects the way in which I select my music , as I look at music in a different dimension: knowing and listening. 

 

Listening to some of your mixes on your Soundcloud page, it’s evident you are able to play the slower, moodier side of [deep] house music as well as the slightly more melodic style too. Are these your two chosen areas of house music or does it run deeper than that? [Mandatory pun]

Yes it most definitely does run deeper, as not all motion is physical movement. With my style of music I get to feel the rhythm in the strings an melodies; also with this style you get to feel the movement from the inside and just allow it to flow.

Taking into consideration this ‘slow-mo’ style you’ve taken on as your own, would you say you prefer playing the earlier slots or are you comfortable adapting to whatever time of the night you are booked?

I can play to any style, as a DJ you need to be versatile and be able to adjust and adapt. I must admit I do love the moody and down tempo beats, this stems from always getting the opening slot. When I entered into the DJ scenes I was always given the opening slot but I never minded as I actually enjoy it, but I can play an awesome set at any time of the day.

It’s easy to become disheartened in this industry, especially in a City where everyone and their friend is a [deep house] DJ! How do you stay motivated and how do you differentiate yourself from the rest?

There are 3 main reasons why I remain motivated: I try to maintain a fresh approach by always seeking new ideas to better my skills. I just recently started buying records and this has pushed up my motivation to a whole new level. Then there is pleasure of collecting new music. The last one would be my loyal listeners who have continued to support me even when I played at 9pm and there was no one else at the club yet. 

The music industry is rather cut-throat, as you may have discovered. At 21yrs of age, you have a long way ahead of you. Do you have any short to mid-term goals in place to ensure you can maintain this career as well as support yourself?

I do have an important goal set out for next year, I would like to have one of my own productions pressed and released, this was a personal goal but now its put out there, and I know this industry is hard core, but i believe with the right attitude and consistency i can make that goal a reality. 

 

Who are your favourite DJ/Producers/Record Labels locally and on the International stage?

There are so many I favor, it would be unfair to pin point; but if i have to i would say:

Smallville Records, Desos Records and Secretsundaze

DJ’s:    Rene Wolski

    Sibonelo Zulu

    Erefaan Pearce

    Julius Steinoff

    Ron Trent

I know you’ve only been playing for a short while, but I’m sure there’s been a few stand out DJ sets you’ve played. Would you like to share one of those please?

All my sets I play at CTDHM for me are all standouts, but there is one particular set I played at an event called Two Doors Down which I enjoyed the most. It was at a nightclub in Cape Town, Manilla Bar. It was like I could feel the floors move as i stood behind those decks; truly an amazing experience. 

 

Finally, do you have any residencies at the moment and/or where can we see you playing out?

I recently became a resident/ member at Alba Lounge with the cloud 9 Sundays crew.

 

Thanks very much for taking the time to chat to us and all the best my friend.

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For The Record: realROZZANO

DJ realROZZANO in Dubai 2007 cropped

Rozzano Davids or REAL Rozzano as he is known [on twitter] is a vinyl playing dj of epic proportions. Anything from Hip Hop, Chicago House, Disco, Funk and more…if it’s quality, he’s got it in his box.

For The Record is very pleased to have had a chat with him.

Hi Rozzano…how are things with you this week?

I’m lekka tired, been going to bed late as I’m digitising my records, can only do it when the family goes to bed and its quiet time…plus work/hustling during the day is tough, there’s so much to do!

Can you give us a summarised version of who you are, where you’re from and what your journey through music has been like, please? [Yes, summarised hehehe]

Due to being branded as a Hip Hop DJ playing this new but “kak” music as club owners and fellow DJs called it, I would not get any work in any mainstream clubs, although I was a versatile DJ I was marginalised and kept off programs. Due to this I had to focus on other skills in the industry, so My hats I have been wearing: BBOY (Break-dancer) DJ or QMS, Dancefloor Scientist, Event Organisor, Music Promoter, Journalist, Semi Graphic Designer, Human Activist, Sound Engineer, Record Collector aka cultural anthropologist and Artist Manager.

My Musical journey started in our house in District Six, my mom and dad loved Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, etc, we had a Rambler car with an 8 track tape in it, my dad had the soulful tapes such as The Main Ingredient, Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole, etc. Later my dad worked in a pub in Mowbray and started coming home with vinyl he would get from “docks manne” ie: docks labourers stole them from the containers.  I will never forget this period ‘cause he came home with George Benson – Give me the Night, Bob James – Touchdown, BeeGees and Earl Klugh, and because I was the youngest of three boys I couldn’t go out much so I stayed home playing these records over and over! Things changed drastically when we were forced to move to Mitchells Plain, I was now almost a teenager, my two brothers would come home with cassette recordings from Route 66, Club Fantasy, Club Galaxy and the Casablanca, I would listen to these tapes when they were out partying, also exchanging tapes & LP’S with kids in the hood was big!

My first dj experience was at our home when my parents and their friends came home from lang-arm parties. I would become their DJ, playing more popular records which the lang-arm bands didn’t play; I started dee-jaying with LPs and cassettes on our family hi-fi, so playing a song on the turntable while using the small cassette radio to cue my songs on cassettes. There was obviously no mixing involved just switching from “phono” to “tape” and keeping my party crowd happy, gaining valuable experience in reading crowds.

So, when I could enter the clubs, especially when I got my break at Club T-Zers which was at the bottom of Harrington Street in the mid 80’s, I had to be different and push the envelope in the club industry!

I always say I’m not a DJ but a QMS which means Quality Music Selector, since I started DJ’ing in the 80’s I would never follow trends or other DJs, I always did my own thang. As a result [of my attitude, vision and goals], people thought I was an asshole, because I wanted to do what I wanted to do and I was not into playing Kylie Minoque or Jason Donovan. Electronic music was just about coming into stores back then and I was out to promote this new and fresh sound! Also what ever Top Ten records was out at the time I would only select two or three of those records to play in my set, ‘cause normally not all the tunes in DJs’ top ten were good so I picked the best of the ten and mostly because I couldn’t afford a lot of records, so choosing that timeless tune was crucial.

My first real taste of what Rozzano is about was about a year ago at a Vinyl Digz, where you tore the roof off Waiting Room, dropping some of the finest Hip Hop joints ever! You’ve clearly got a knack for how to woo a crowd. What’s your view on pre-planning a set versus going in there and feeling your way around?

During 1985 I started DJ’ing for free at Club T-Zers, playing a hip hop set for only 15 minutes, those days music genres were played in various sets: jazz, funk, disco/dance & the ballad set, every time I had to play after the main DJ, the floor would clear and only break-dancers/hip hoppas would dance to my music so I begged the resident DJ to let me mix/blend 120bpm electro hip hop songs into the house/dance music, for example: I would mix Planet Rock into House Nation flawlessly just to keep the dancefloor rocking and got the non-hip hop crowd into it, I soon realised that mixing was a science & art, and worked out my set and tried to squeeze in as many tunes as possible, as my set time was limited!

Only when DJ’ing at festivals, do I program my sets according to theme of event, good example was at this year’s CTEMF, because normally I freestyle all the time, I just pack in the bomb records, read the crowd and make it work! [BUT] one must practice at home, check which songs fit nicely together. One of my favourite alias is “The Dancefloor Scientist” cause during the 80’s the challenges of making Hip Hop music work or “break them in” on a dancefloor was very difficult, top club DJs were ignoring this new hip hop music because it was hard and distortive, compared to the soul, funk and jazzfunk tunes out at that time!  So timing and perfect mixing/change-overs was crucial, especially since during the 80’s, if you cleared the dancefloor you got fired, which meant you had to work hard at it. Also this music was difficult to break in, as only your fellow BBoys and BGirls really appreciated the music.

When we spoke at Tableism, where you also ripped it up proper [mind you], you mentioned you grew up in Lentegeur. An area where Hip Hop was prominent, resulting in a few of South Africa’s biggest groups coming from that area of Mitchell’s Plein. Can you tell us a bit more please?

Due to the Group Areas Act, we were forced to move to the Plein in 1980, and like most townships it was dangerous and my parents kept me indoors. My dad bought a video machine and I started recording music videos from TV and caught the Michael Jackson – Billie Jean video, Malcolm Maclaren video of Buffalo Gals which featured NYC Breakers and the World’s Famous Supreme Team DJs. Here we saw breaking, dancing and scratching for the first time. Before getting into breakdancing I was doing MJ and also won a few MJ comps. Shortly after that I had a good few music videos with a few new dancing moves in it. I started practicing these dance moves, showed these moves to my two friends in my class (Ready D and Gogga), which was during a period when everybody was still trying to do the moonwalk. I am credited for been the first person to do the moonwalk in SA! The two main streets in Lentegeur where hip hop was born were Agapanthus Street where I lived and Viooltjie Street where Gogga and Ready D lived. Youth from all over Mitchells Plain and surrounding areas traveled to the Plein for Hip Hop Education. At my parent’s house, we used to watch the rare funk and hip hop videos, which I had managed to capture from TV and we started practicing our dance moves. Opposite Ready D’s house was a huge cement patch where we would practice. Gogga would bring his family hi-fi to the “pitch” and the community’s kids would come and watch us practice from the time school ended until late at night. As break-dancers we got our big break when we danced at a “Michael Jackson” competition as “The City Kids” in the Town Centre. We freaked people out, especially when we did the moonwalk properly, something all the contestants couldn’t do properly! Here Mitchells Plain residents got the first taste of B’Boying, almost a year before the big breakdancing explosion happened due to movies like “Breakin 1 & 2” plus “Beat Street.” Later we discovered a movie called “Wild Style” which had a huge influence on us.  Thanks to DJ Dr Spook, the resident DJ at Club Fantasy in M/Plein Town Centre who saw us dancing in that competition. You could hear a pin drop in the busy Town Centre square when we danced, because nobody had ever seen this dance before. That very day we became resident dancers at Club Fantasy. Another thing to mention is that as fourteen year olds we danced 6 nights a week at the club and got NO pay for it but this gig blew us up and we became M/Pleins’ first ghetto superstars in 1984 appearing in newspapers and magazines.

realROZZANO at Guga Sthebe Centre 2012

Why @realROZZANO? Is there someone trying [in vain] to imitate you?

hahaha, besides our hip hop constitution of being original, real and true to self, one of my ultimate records of all time is “John Rocca – I want to be real” so during high school, I became Sir Real, later Rozzano X. I believe in evolving that’s why I keep changing my name, I have various names: Geto Soldaat [Ghetto Soldier], DJ Distortion cause “I distort in the mainstream club scene” I also like the term DJ ROOTS cause you will find me proudly in the Dirty Underground Black Soil. I have given birth to all modern hip hop DJs in RSA, many new DJs are receiving much attention in the sun on the huge hip hop family tree!

You are a resident at the famous MoFunk nights, have dropped some Chicago House [heat] at Vinyl Digz and can play Dancehall & Reggae too. So you’re pretty comfortable with most genres. Which genre do you enjoy playing most, though?

Technically the easiest genre to spin is house music, because of beat matching aka mixing but mixing house music can be very difficult. I find that even top house DJs play good tunes, but don’t necessarily mix them well. There is an “Art or Science to Mixing” that I notice most don’t “overstand”  DJs think their records beats match yet the songs/frequencies don’t mix well together, it’s hard work to get this right!

Playing/Mixing Hip Hop is extremely difficult, as we have NO long intros for mixing, plus various tempos and moods and one has to know your records very well to keep the pace and vibe going. Also, these songs are very short and you must think two to three songs ahead of time. When playing funk records, you’re playing real musicians not drum machines, so mixing these records are a huge challenge. Also hip hop jocks like to juggle the “breaks” of funk tunes which could be 5 seconds or 15 seconds long, so you have to be physical & mentally fit. You have to mark those records, know when the breaks are starting and ending, sometimes we only play the break and not the rest of the song, so studying your records is crucial and hard work putting them together!  I don’t use Serato or Traktor. These software programs definitely help a DJ to cue and mark tracks better but playing them from vinyl is no joke, but lot’s of fun and can be embarrassing when you fuck up a mix.

How important is it to “send a message” and “tell a story” with the music you play? I ask this, especially since I’ve noticed you are very passionate about political injustices and fighting the system.

Artists are normally the “voice” of the voiceless, hence I have always been vocal and active in my community, plus I have always been spinning “socially conscious” records especially hip hop, reggae & funk. I have early house tunes from the mid 80’s that had a strong message! Another thing is that reading helps build/develop our most important muscle in our bodies: “the brain” when you read and feed your brain computer, you will be able to calculate the visual images or messages your brain is receiving and find solutions to problems!  With all the distracting noise of modern social media these days, people are not reading enough and seem to be very confused.

Besides spinning records, what else makes you really happy?

Dancing/partying, reading, family life, watching documentaries and good movies, swimming, braai’ing and cooking [making a veggie potjie] and spreading/sharing information.

If anyone knows the Cape Town scene, you do! I’m of the opinion, that things are still far too segregated for us to call ourselves a ‘true scene’…Your thoughts on this, and how do we rectify this?

 EGO’s and the love of fame, fortune and p…y is our problem.

On Saturday at a hip hop event in Langa I did a DJ workshop and left the kids with this quote: “during apartheid years we had FREEDOM cause we had: Hip Hop and currently in our so-called new “democrazy” we have Apartheid in Hip Hop!  During the 80’s we had one common enemy: the SA Government, so with political rallies at our schools and conscious hip hop/reggae music coming out, I became conscious of my surroundings and political situation and Music became a uniting factor amongst us youth. Club T-Zers and The Base was multi-racial clubs that united all races under one roof and we were raided by the PoPo [Police] on a regular basis!

In 1994 we became the rainbow nation, I’m only “overstanding” this concept now, I always called myself black or brown and never coloured, BUT today myself & everybody is coloured in the rainbow nation! People’s lack of overstanding our history and how we got here and their laziness to do research and to READ is the problem and let’s not forget “paper(money) & pussy chasing” I believe the “Fox in the chicken’s den” is money, big corporations have been throwing money at us and this causes much confusion and dis-unity. During the 80’s we just did the elements of hip hop to stay out of gangs and drugs, today cats are doing it to get paid/career move!      

For the amount of talent and skill you have, you’re exceptionally humble. I recall after your set at Vinyl Digz [Waiting Room], I complimented you on your mastery and you showed great humility, when it was easier to take it all in. These days DJs get ahead of themselves quite easily, even when they’re half as skilled as you are. Is there a certain amount of arrogance that is needed in this industry or is that just something you don’t subscribe to?

“Ek hou my PLAT!” I believe in being down to earth, be in touch with your roots, plus the higher you are, the harder you FALL when you mess up or when the industry doesn’t want your services anymore! So staying humble is crucial. There is always somebody standing in line to take your job if you mess up with management or piss people off! Be nice, follow protocol, keep studying/reading and develop some integrity! Another thing is “real bad boys move in silence” and the big talkers are normally empty vessels making the most noise, those with EGOS don’t learn anything new because they believe they “know it all” when you’ll be surprised at the educated crowds or DJs out there!

I have contributed lots to the South African DJ scene and haven’t been credited for it, but it’s ok, people can talk about those things when I’m gone one-day.

I know you work on a few other projects, like management of artists etc. Care to share some of that with us please?

I started DJ’ing in the 80’s when we had a few clubs and only one DJ would work in a club so getting in was so difficult, and thanks to Hip Hop’s mandate of ORIGINALITY I developed my own identity and didn’t wanna be a sheep and follow the top DJ of the moment. At that time Superfly/Russel/Dr Beat were the three main DJs in Cape Town, if these guys played a song, all smaller clubs and mobile DJs had to have that song. I was not gonna be doing that, I was playing hip hop records at Club T-Zers, became famous nationally over the years but the top clubs didn’t want us underground cats in their clubs, I was marginalised by other DJs and clubs, I didn’t let that get me down and started thinking about the other aspects in the industry: event organising, graphic design, marketing, artist or venue management and basically started our own underground hip hop & house movement which people still talk about today!

Finally, where can we catch you playing the black wax?

Most times you have to bring you own decks to parties, but you can find me at Vinyl Digz, Future Nostalgia and various clubs and pubs around the city and suburbs basically whoever wants my services!

 

Thank you very much Rozzano, mad respect!

realROZZANO mixes at Podomatic

 

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For The Record: Kat La Kat

kat

Many of us have just recently discovered the DJ who goes by the name “Kat La Kat” A purveyor of all things deep, slow and emotional… For The Record SA caught up with him, to find out a bit more..

You’re originally from Pretoria, which many claim is the ‘real’ House music capital of South Africa. How much truth is in this claim?

Well it’s a claim that even internationals can attest. It is now slowly evening out throughout the country, but Pretoria has always been at the forefront when it comes to consuming deep house. It’s been a part of the urban youth culture in PTA for a long time.

If my calculations are correct, you’ve been DJ’ing for a decade+ now and producing for 7years. Why then have many of us only just heard about you? Is it because you’re “proper underground” hahaha?

Could be?! Hahaha. Well firstly I was a bedroom dj for a long time because 1) I wanted to make sure the moment I start DJ’ing; I know what I’m doing and doing it well and 2) I couldn’t do club gigs for a while because of my age when I started. 3) I played different styles of music in the earlier years, was a bit “soulful” when I started then got very “minimal techy” then very afro influenced which a lot of people got to know me by, so I have tapped a bit into different markets. Lastly I think it’s also because it hasn’t been what I do on a full time basis.

 

Take us back to how you got into playing the music you do and who were the main influences [locally and internationally] to the sound you now enjoy?

Growing up where I grew up, deep house has always been around me. I started collecting tapes in the late 90’s then there was a boom of compilations so was collecting CDs, though it was mainly the mainstream sound and a bit of Mid Tempo which I enjoyed big time. I fell in love with the underground sound around 2004 playing the “flipsides” of records, the versions most people overlooked but most I’d only play at home in my room, then the bug really hit around 2006 when the minimal and deep tech sound was getting very popular in Pretoria so I can’t really pin point main influences. It was just a matter of a bit of history, maturity, exposure, exploring music and trying out new unheard of artists, that I stumbled upon this awesome sound.   

 

Listening to your Deep Vibes podcasts, you’re always pushing ‘rare’ sounds and you seem to have a love for the slower/deeper cuts, has this always been the case or have you refined your sound over the years?

As a deep house listener, yes I’ve always liked my music a bit slower than usual and most of the times it made so much more sense to me and tracks would hit me harder at a slower tempo. I thought I was a bit weird and that people wouldn’t appreciate that type of sound and that’s why I almost never played it in public, but it felt so good to me that after a while I felt bad that others around me were not experiencing what I was and that’s what inspired me to start the podcast.

 

Your DJ name “Kat La Kat” is a lot easier to roll off the tongue than “Kgakgamatso Tlholoe” Did you have the nickname before you started DJ’ing or was it one you acquired for your stage presence?

Well throughout my life people have always found funny ways to shorten my name. There has never been any -one consistent nickname which sucked ‘coz I had memorized sooo many names that people would call me hahaha. The name was almost accidental because my initials are K.A.T and that’s how I would mark my books at school.  After a while people were calling me Kat and there were a lot of those so I just added a bit of spice to the name

Tell us about your other moniker “Deepnotic” where does this name fit in?

That is the name I normally use a lot for remix projects

 

The last time we spoke, you were now staying in Johannesburg. Has this increased the amount of DJ bookings you’ve received?

Not really, I found Johannesburg to be a bit too mainstream for my liking and I’ve been very picky with the bookings. I know many say that I haven’t been to “the right places” but back in Pretoria “The right places” are way easier to find.

 

I see you’ve just been booked for The Warm Up, which is arguably the premier [deep] house night in the City. You must be really excited to play alongside a quality contributor like Lance DeSardi?

Yes im quite excited about it because I attend a lot of “The Warm Up” parties and the crowd there is always great. Playing alongside a big name like Lance Desardi (whose remixes kill me!!!) and the awesome resident DJs like 2lani the warrior, Brian Blaq and Phat Jack is an experience I wouldn’t pass on 

 

You’ve been rather busy on the production side. Had a listen to some of your work on the Reverbnation website and your sound moves from the full-bodied Chicago house sound to the more Afro-house style [Joy Fantacy for example]. Is this where Kat La Kat is most comfortable?

Yeah I like exploring and trying out new things with music listening to it, making and playing it. I don’t have a specific style or formula that I stick to

 

What are you currently working on and is there an EP or album on the way?

I have taken quite a long break from making music but yes there’s a couple of remixes and projects of my own that should be dropping soon this year.

 

I know you currently do not have a bookings agent, which is something you’re working on. How can promoters get in contact for bookings/enquiries?

djkatlakat@gmail.com should sort you out

 

Thanks very much my friend!

It has been a pleasure brother

Kat La Kat – Deep Vibes 032

 

 

 

 

 

 

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