Everything Connects Symmetrically In The Life of !Sooks

Dance music in Southern Africa is an undisputed force in the world. Teeming with talent, the region is consistent in developing new innovative sounds, genres and in introducing new ideas in entertainment and creative culture. When speaking of dance music, especially deep house music, you cannot not make mention of the kingdom of eSwatini and the talent that the country produces. !Sooks (real name Sukoluhle Dlamini) is one such talents, highly respected producer and DJ in the underground, who is taking the house music scene in Southern Africa by storm. He just recently released his debut album, Symmetry, through legendary South African label House Afrika and we got a great opportunity to speak to him ahead of his album launch happening on the 5th of July at Jazzuelle’s Darkie Disco event at Kitcheners. 

Your come up and your story is incredibly inspirational. You have made quite a number of strides in your career. How has the journey been so far?
It’s been wonderful, filled with lessons and blessings also, but more than anything I’m just taking it one day a time.

The music industry presents a lot of challenges for young artists coming into the game. How do you stay rooted in your identity, stay true to your values and your sound/art?
It’s not easy man, I guess you just have to focus on your goals and what you want to achieve because it’s so easy to get side tracked. But knowing what you want to achieve makes it slightly easier.

Your fanbase is growing rapidly in Southern Africa and there is no doubt that your music is reaching international audiences. Is this something that you imagined would happen when you started producing music?
Honestly, nope! I had no idea! I was just following my heart and doing what I love but it’s good to know that people relate with the music. It’s a good feeling.

You are based in the kingdom of eSwatini and you frequent South Africa a lot as part of your career. Do you feel pressured to relocate from home to South Africa for your career?
Hmm, pressure? Not really. I don’t want to make any rushed decisions. But the thought crosses my mind every now and then, so I guess time will tell.

You recently released your debut album titled Symmetry through the legendary South
African dance music label, House Afrika, which is a huge achievement. Please tell us how that project came about and how it got picked up by the legendary label.
Thank you. Well, this project has been in the works since late last year after I released the “Viking EP” on Stay True Sounds. I kept it to myself (like I always do with most things haha) luckily at that time I had just met Tim White, and I was already in talks with Vinny Da Vinci about dropping something on House Afrika so it was meant to be I guess.

image of !sooks
Image credit: Facebook

You featured some of the most innovative producers and artists on your album such as
Thoko Namuya, Avi Subban, Pierre Johnson, Secret Souls and Krippsoulisc. What was the creative process for the project?
I wanted to work with some of the most creative artists I know in SA. I still have a few on my list, so who knows maybe I’ll drop another album soon [laughs]. I just wanted to work with artists who would compliment my style very well and I think they did just that. All of the collabs were exceptional.

How important is chemistry when collaborating with people? Were the collaborations
organic or in some cases you may have had an idea and thought of someone? How did it
happen in your case?
It is everything! In my case, synergy played a huge role in these collabs. We spent over two months working on ‘Blue’ with Thoko, just because we wanted to get that perfect sound for the intro and I think we got just that! All thanks to my lovely superstar! ‘Oasis‘, ‘Everything‘, ‘W.D.V‘ & ‘PX2‘ are also special collabs because these guys have different styles and it was so much fun trying to get that right balance of styles. I think we did ‘Oasis‘ in a couple of weeks (Yes, Avi is a Beeeast), Px2 also took us a week or two and ‘Everything’ was done in a few days as well. I don’t have to mention how much I love working with the amigos Secret Souls! The only thing that takes up a lot of time is the mixing and deciding on arrangements and all that. Otherwise working with these guys was so much fun and I’d do it again if i could! I probably will.

The wolf has been unleashed: !Sooks is eSwatini’s very own musical Einstein. 

When making this album, did you have a particular goal in mind or a message that you
wanted music lovers to get from your debut on House Afrika?
Well, this album is basically a fusion of the old and the new. Symmetry.

Mzansi House Vol. 9 is currently number one on the iTunes. That is a monumental
achievement. What does that mean for your career?
It means a lot to me. It’s really great to know that people actually see value in supporting us. I genuinely appreciate the support and for as long as I’m alive I will continue delivering.

Now that you have released the album, what are some of the plans that are in the pipeline for your brand? Do you have any gigs that are coming up?
I’m just focused on growing the brand, making more music and doing a whole lot more experimental stuff. I can’t reveal much right now but there’s still a lot people can expect later on in the year. There’s so many gigs I don’t know how I’ll survive [laughs]!

image of !sooks
!Sooks & Vinny Da Vinci. Image credit: Facebook

Where can people buy the album online and in the stores?
The album is available in all Musica outlets in South Africa and online.

In closing, where can people reach you online to connect, book you or just simply support you?
For bookings, you can email me at sukudlmn@gmail.com. On social media, you can follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Stream/Listen to Symmetry below.

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About Author

Nkululeko Nkosi Creative entrepreneur, self-starter and writer are some of the words you can use to describe me. Inspired by the grit, rawness and passion you often find in underground and alternative culture. Based in the greatest city in Africa, Johannesburg.

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